Why Meditate?

Why Meditate?

By Jennifer Buergermeister, MA, RYT
Menninger Clinic Wellness Specialist

The brain is a fascinating organ that once was believed to be unchangeable. Research shows this previous assumption is wrong. Not only is it wrong but naively underestimates the power of the brain’s ability to evolve in a rather short period of time.

The brain has a gift. It’s called plasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability for the neurons to change patterns and shift into new connections, thereby increasing or decreasing the gray matter in various parts of the brain.

The brain’s neurons are the electrical units of the body. They follow intention and attention. Practice – for example talking, walking or playing sports – creates a skill set. If you practice something long enough, you’ll get better at it. Energy follows these neuro pathways in the neurological system. Whatever you focus on you will become. Research says it takes 10,000 hours to become an “expert” at anything. The question is what are you focusing on?

When we focus the mind in meditation into the space of the forehead, in a relaxed state, the energy moves into the area and increases the gray matter into the region of the pre-frontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is associated with self-awareness, altruism, compassion, and feeling connected to others and the universe or a higher power.

Another interesting point about focusing the mind is how meditation pulls energy out of the limbic system’s amygdala and decreases the gray matter in that region. The amygdala is associated with our stress response. The smaller the amygdala, the least likely we will respond and suffer from the effects of stress.

A daily practice in mindfulness, feeling the space of the forehead, will shift the brain out of the old brain, or hind brain, and limbic system and into a more evolved happy and altruistic brain. I believe most people inherently want to be happy and feel whole. Now the science proves exactly how we can achieve it!

In just 8 weeks with 10-15 minutes a day of practice, we can shift the brain to look more like a monk’s or a saint’s brain, someone enlightened on the path. The next question to ask ourselves is am I ready?