Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Grow A Brain

Some of the more popular western religions view meditation as a new age, brown rice, crunchy granola activity. The designated priest, minister, rabbi or imam provides the conduit to a connection with the Almighty while the faithful rely on personal prayer to get by inbetween sermons. Meditation only gets the official stamp of approval as a bona fide activity in a small cluster of orders, such as the Benedictines.

Of course prayer can be powerful because of its acutely focused intention. And with everything else under the sun, when motivation and concentration form a holy union, they become an unstoppable team.

Although the vast majority of Americans consider themselves religious, the second religion of the overfed public is the multi-billion dollar fitness industry. But with all the emphasis on the body beautiful, the mind has been left in the dust. And this is where meditation enters stage right as the perfect bridge between the Saturday or Sunday tip to religion and the rest of the week where fitness and other less than holy activities occur.

Although not understood completely, neuroscientists do know that the brain contains areas of specialization: some handle logic, while the forté of other gray squiggles might be intuition, creativity, inspiration, memory, fight or flight, and so forth.

With age, the brain shrinks and so all the goodies it provides the young and healthy tend to diminish. How many 90 year olds have the fast reflexes or memory of a twenty-year old (leaving out the doped up younguns)? Answer: almost none.

But there is hope for us baby boomers who are entering the age of decrepitude. We can grow our brains in areas most desired, such as memory and equanimity - which we will need as aging parts start giving out and the Grand Mechanic In the Sky refuses to warranty them with replacements.

Meditation is the key to keeping the incredible shrinking brain from doing so. In a phenomenon called neuroplasticity, the idea goes something like this: use it or lose it.

So how does one grow clarity, awareness, peace, and sharp perception? Meditation, apparently, provides the key. By learning how to focus the mind with positive aspiration, the brain continues to grow, instead of shrivel in these wonderful areas. And the longer one meditates, the bigger the amount of wattage supplied to the brain for expansion. 

With the statistic that 45% of people by the age of 85 will have Alzheimers, it would be logical to rush posthaste for meditation instruction to insure a ride into old age with all the grace and smarts deserved for someone who survives the perils of life that long.

Whether one chooses a secular, westernized version of meditation, or gravitates to a more Eastern style format, the time has come for quiet contemplation.

And now, let's _________________________ for a moment.

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