By Maia Love, MD, presenter in the BC Mindfulness Summit.
This article was originally published on maialovemd.com.
Our capacity to create a positive future is created through the quality of our inner thoughts. How we see, think and feel about the world around us directly influences the decisions we make on a day to day basis. These decisions then inform our future by shaping how we adapt to the ever changing world around us. We can change how we navigate the internal landscape of our minds by developing greater adaptive intelligence through mindfulness meditation and further meditative practices.
In order to become truly powerful in creating a future that we believe in, we have to learn to work with our mind in a combination of contemplative and creative approaches - reflecting on what is present in the mind, observing with honesty and then starting to become aware of the inner narrative that we are creating and subscribing to, and if we would like to shift this narrative. When we teach our brains to reflect in this way, we travel through several different layers of our consciousness, and activate a different series of brainwaves.
"With further practice of mindfulness meditation, we can begin to understand the inner worlds of perception, interpretation and thus our responses to the world around us."
With the practice of mindfulness, and a scientific focus on the breath, we can begin to calm the brainwaves. The two hemispheres of the brain, left and right, start to balance and synchronize. In states of negative stress or anxiety, the two hemispheres of the brain tend to have unbalanced activity, so this re-balancing of the two hemispheres of the brain leads to greater resilience from stress. Then, the brainwaves can move from faster beta brainwaves to slower alpha brainwaves. Wirth deeper breathing, the body becomes more calm and the mind perceives safety as the blood and brain become more oxygenated. As the diaphragm moves with the breath, stress levels decrease and a more calm inner state begins to evolve. As the focus on a positive emotion such as compassion or kindness begins to be cultivated in the heart, the heart's electromagnetic field becomes more smooth and harmonious. In this state of deepening calm, we can then more easily view the activity in the conscious mind, and, with practice, in the subconscious mind.
With further practice of mindfulness meditation, we can begin to understand the inner worlds of perception, interpretation and thus our responses to the world around us. In the talk and workshop on May 1, 2022 at the BCalm BC Mindfulness Summit, I will speak further as to how mindfulness illuminates our inner worlds of perception, interpretation and response and how you can develop a skill, through dedicated practice and training, such that you being to have more and more inner freedom to choose your responses to the ever changing world.
The power of meditative and altered states to access different regions of the brain has been shown in various neuroimaging studies. As we begin to understand the neural correlates of various states of consciousness, we can further demonstrate the evidence of potentially powerful practices that relax and support resilience in, the mind. In studies on three different approach to meditation - mindfulness mediation, imagining a positive future and yoga nidra - the areas of the brain that light up during these practices help to explain the power of these practices. On May 1, 2022 during the workshop on Adaptive Intelligence at the BC Mindfulness Summit - we'll discuss how these practices can create positivity, optimism and resilience.
"Once the mind becomes more neutral, there can then be an opportunity to genuinely introduce a positive emotional state."
In mindfulness meditation, the cultivation of a neutral state and what is called "the equanimous mind" is an essential part of the practice. The cultivation of this "even keel" helps us to view feelings that cause us to feel upset, stressed, anxious, sad, frustrated, or other negative or restless emotional state with greater clarity, thus calming an area called the "amygdala" and allowing our brains and our selves to gradually recover from times of increased stress. Once the mind becomes more neutral, there can then be an opportunity to genuinely introduce a positive emotional state. When the positive emotional state is echoed and built in the subconscious mind, this positive emotional "foundation" then informs how you interpret the world. To practice techniques that can help you build this inner positive emotional foundation, join us for the 1.5 hour workshop, available virtually from the comfort of your own home, on Sunday, May 1 2022, hosed by the University of Victoria, Continuing Studies, in association with the BCalm, the BC Association for Living Mindfully.
The workshop includes a review of the related neuroscience and brain structures, practical applied mindfulness techniques and an experiential journey into the power of the imagination to reveal your potential for a positive future.
Wishing you the best, always,
Maia Love MD