A revolution in science has recently revealed that the adult brain remains open to change throughout the lifespan… the simple truth is that how we focus our attention, how we intentionally direct the flow of energy and information through our neural circuits, can directly alter the brain’s activity and its structure…
Our social connections with one another shape our neural connections that form the structure of the brain. This means that the way we communicate alters the very circuitry of our brain, especially in ways that help keep our lives in balance. Science further verifies that when we cultivate compassion and mindful awareness in our lives–when we let go of judgments and attend fully to the present–we are harnessing the social circuits of the brain to enable us to transform even our relationship with our own self.
Daniel J. Siegel, MD, from the forward to
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience
of Happiness, Love and Wisdom by Rick Hanson
Our ego minds are designed to judge and discern as part of our survival mechanism. They feed us ‘information’ about the people and the world around us, as well as about our self, in order to guide and protect us. This voice of information is often harsh and negative. When we live in our head–when we pay more attention to our thinking about the world rather than to the world itself–this is the voice that is determining our feelings about our self, about the world and about our fellows. We form habits of feeling, thinking and behavior. The longer we’ve been stuck in these habits, the more ingrained they become. And without conscious, willful intervention, they will determine our days and nights.
But these habits can change. And if ever there were a time for them to change, it is now.
‘[W]hen we cultivate compassion and mindful awareness in our lives–when we let go of judgments and attend fully to the present…’
Simple, profound, powerful, and available to each one of us.
Today I will make every effort to live outside the confines of my speculating mind. When I find myself sitting in the soup of fear and anger that can arise in this stay-at-home, alone-too-long time I will dismiss the thoughts of judgment and fault-finding, about myself and my fellows, and I will ask of a power greater than myself to help me find compassion and acceptance, for myself and my fellows. (Even that one who, in my mind, doesn’t deserve it.)