Give your brain a rest | Meditation

Nov 27, 2020

Your brain never stops working.

It works even when you sleep and is always working at a subconscious level.

It enables us to function on a day to day basis and it automatically allows us to get on with the things we need to do like walking, breathing, sleeping, and eating without consciously thinking of them. Walking is an extremely difficult process which you do without thinking. If you don’t believe me, just spend ten minutes watching a baby learning to walk. As well as being very entertaining it lets you see how clever your child is.

While we are awake we may not be aware of what the brain does as many of its functions are automatic. However we do have our minds consciously thinking through activities we are involved in. Our brain is continually consciously problem solving, forward planning, crises managing and reacting to changes in our immediate circumstances.

Think of your brain like a snake’s tongue! Always vigilant and feeding back information for interpretation.

Sometimes when you are watching television or reading a book you can quieten this continual internal chatter, but rarely for long because something you see or read will spark a thought in your brain. Even when people tell me about the pursuits they follow for rest and relaxation, they generally involve active mental activity. There are a few exceptions such as fishing. Once the big decision is taken, the size of the rod, the kind of bait, the part of the river, then nothing seems to happen for long periods of time and the person fishing has a most enjoyable time.

When I ask fishermen what they are thinking about whilst stood in the river, or floating in a boat, they generally reply “Nothing at all”.

But even in active sports like golf the best players will tell you that they try to empty their minds and think of “nothing” at the moment they are trying to make contact with the ball.

The core dynamic behind all meditation principles is to still the mind and enable the meditator to ‘think of nothing at all’, to become like the Buddhist monk Ichhiwho learned to hear the sound of the “one hand clapping”.

If we can still the mind, and allow it to rest then it will not only give our bodies a chance to experience deep relaxation, lower our blood pressure, slow down our hearts, de-stress our bodies, but it will in effect allow the brain to calm down the internal chatter, and so improve its effective functioning. It has been the subject of endless research programmes and the evidence is conclusive.

Meditation is good for the body and the mind. Many people tell me they don’t formally meditate but they do sit in silence and allow their minds to settle. After this period of rest some of them tell me they have their best ideas. They have allowed their brains to rest in the way that the rest of your body needs rest.

I try to meditate every day, twice if possible. When I do the day always seems to be less stressful, and the ability to work in a more focussed manner is obvious.

Meditation is easy to do and its benefits are well worth having.

So I would urge you to buy a book or CD on meditation, or join a meditation group.

John Lennon once said “Give Peace a Chance.”

I suggest “Give Meditation a Chance!”

Whatever you do, give that wonderful brain of yours a rest.

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