The Science Of Meditation
Part 2

Part 2 of last week’s meditation column.

Briefly recapping last week’s discussion of “self-harm” we learned that an individual’s disposition is controlled by the brain’s neural networks and that the person understands her or his environment and personal relations according to how the neural networks were formed due to experiences and influences created by the artifice of cultural constructs. The individual was not born with prejudices, opinions, judgments, ideologies, and the destructive habit of gossiping. Human constructs are acquired. Further, epigenetics enlightens us of the truth that we can change non-genetic negative imprint characteristics of previous generations affecting us. Recall the metaphor of the ocean wave being a negative thought. You have two choices. Confront the wave or dive under it and let the power of it pass over you, therefore, eliminating its power in your life. “Self-harm” is a perception of what is or isn’t and arises through cultural constructs that shape your neural networks.

Metaphorically, the wave is a thought. Negative rumination (waves) produce neural networks transmitting chronic harmful neurochemicals which produce constant cortisol in the bloodstream and so on. Suicidal brooding thoughts are sometimes referred to as “tunneling” because the person sees no-way-out. It’s a feedback loop that’s harmful and hellish to escape. Metaphorically, diving under the wave is meditation. Eventually, through meditation the wave that has been oppressively crushing you becomes known as a mental impression - it’s not even real. It’s an illusion but harmful. The conversion of your perception is the result of the growth of new neural pathways abandoning the old destructive ones using your meditation practice. Meditation teaches the practitioner that your beliefs are cultural constructs. This is why meditation is transformative and clears a path forward toward a workable future for the individual and society. Barriers caused by negative thoughts are deconstructed.

What is truly real is your breath and because of the gift of breath you have life and life only exist in the present moment breath by breath, no other place, and time. The Latin definition of breath is the spirit. Your breath is your spirit. Don’t confuse spirit with religion. Let your spirit, not your thoughts lead you into the ocean of life and life's unknown potentiality. New neural pathways not cluttered with the artifice of cultural constructs produce fruitful life possibilities.

Paul Benavidez, MFA
Meditation class is available at the Active Adult Center