When we are speak about meditation with gong or singing bowls, we are talking about directly influencing vibratory properties of the brain conveying the term neuroplasticity, rewiring of the brain. Therefor, the result is an offering of a different perception, rest is up to you; repeating the experience will reinforce those neural connections, allowing you to be the change you wish to see.
“On this Path let the heart be your guide.”
In the last decade, great advances have taken place in the area of brain research. Scientist have discovered neuroplasticity – a term which conveys the idea that the physical wiring of the brain changes according to the thoughts moving through it, as Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb put it, “neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Neurons wire together most when a person is in a state of sustained attention. What this means is that it is possible to direct your own subjective experience of reality. Literally, if your thoughts are ones of fear, worry, anxiety and negativity then you grow the wiring for more of those thoughts to flourish. If you direct your thoughts to be the one of love, compassion, gratitude and joy, you create the wiring for repeating those experiences.
But how do we do that if we are surrounded by violence and suffering? Isn’t this some kind of delusion or wishful thinking? Neuroplasticity isn’t the same as the new age notion that you create your reality by positive thinking. It is actually the same thing that the Buddha taught 2500 years ago. Vipassana Meditation or insight meditation could be described as self-directed neuroplasticity. You accept your reality exactly as it is – as it ACTUALLY is. But you experience it at the root level of sensation, at the vibratory or energetic level without the prejudice or influence of thought. Through a sustained attention at the root level of consciousness, the wiring for an entirely different perception of reality is created. We have got it backwards most of the time. We constantly let ideas about the other world shape out neural networks, but our inner equanimity need not be contingent on external happenings. Circumstances don’t matter. Only my state of consciousness matters. Meditation in Sanskrit means to be free of measurement. Free of all comparison. To be free of all becoming. You are not trying to become something else. You are okay with what is.
The way to rise above the suffering of the physical realm is to totally embrace it. To say yes to it. So it becomes something within you, rather then you being something within it. How does one live in such a way that consciousness is no long in a conflict with its content? How does one empty the heart of petty ambitions? There must be total revolution in consciousness. A radical shift in orientation from the outer world to the inner. It is not a revolution brought about by will or effort alone. But also by surrender. Acceptance of reality as it is.
The image of Christ’s open heart powerfully coveys the idea that one must open to all pain. One must accept ALL if one is to remain open to the evolutionary source. This doesn’t mean you become a masochist, you don’t look for pain but when pain comes, which it inevitably does, you simply accept reality AS IT IS, instead of craving some other reality. The Hawaiians have long believed that it is through the heart that we learn truth. The heart has its own intelligence as distinctively as the brain does.
What is Neuroplasticity?
How would you like to be better at problem solving, learning a new language, increasing your ability to focus, regaining body function due to a stroke, or recapturing some lost brain function from a brain trauma such as an auto accident? Your mind is very capable of creating these incredible lasting changes in function from neuroplasticity shaping techniques.
The term Neuroplasticity is derived from the root words Neuron and Plastic. A neuron refers to the nerve cells in our brain. Each individual neural cell is made up of an axon, dendrites, and is linked to one another by a small space called the synapses. The word plastic means to mould, sculpt, or modify. Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs. Think of the neurological changes being made in the brain as the brain’s way of tuning itself to meet your needs. A simple way to consider how the brain builds new neural pathways as it’s challenged by new information and it’s environment might be to think of the brain as a radio. When dialling the tuning knob on the radio by hand to find something to listen to you might come across a station that sounds interesting, but has a great deal of static so you can’t really understand everything they are saying. To bring the station in clearer you would focus and dial the station in slowly a digit at a time to bring it in with as little distortion as possible. You can think of building new neural pathways the same way when learning something new. The more you focus and practice something the better you become at the new skill that you are learning or an obstacle you are trying to overcome. By doing this new neural connections are created in the brain as synapses that don’t usually fire together do, which help us to sharpen our new skill.
It was believed until recently that the human brain, which consists of around 100 billion neural cells, could not generate new ones(the generation of new neurons is also known as neurogenesis). The old model assumed that each of us was born with a finite number of neural cells and when a cell died no new cell could grow. This old model of the brain’s inability to regenerate new nerve cells is no longer relevant. It has been proven that certain areas in the brain can generate fresh cells. This new understanding of neural cell generation is an incredible discovery. Another misconception was that the brain had an inability to create new neural pathways. It was once believed that the human brain had a relatively small window to develop new pathways in our life span, then after that the pathways became immutable. This old theory thought our ability to generate new pathways dropped off sharply around the age of 20, and then became permanently fixed around the age of 40. New studies have shown through the use PET, and MRI brain scanning technology, that new neural cells are generated throughout life as well as new neural pathways. Even the elderly are capable of creating measurable changes in brain organization. These changes are not always easy but can happen through concerted focus on a defect area.