Mind Your Brain Through Meditation

Your brain is an organ, it is grey, it weighs just under three pounds, and the last time it’s programming was updated was about 40,000 years ago – that was when modern humans, or Sapiens, took a major evolutionary leap forward.

Since that time, we have changed little in appearance but have evolved drastically in terms of our brain’s functionality and our sense of spirituality. While your brain may be the result of some pretty wonderous evolutionary leaps, it is important to remember that your brain is not the boss of you. But just try telling this to your brain.

The number one priority for your brain is to keep you alive. That is it. All those circuits and all that neural elasticity you have read about evolved for your survival. Those emotions you follow without thinking, like fear and hate, love and pain are there to keep you out of danger and to help you survive. It is why they play such a big part in your life and why you jump to follow them without pause and without thinking.

Each of those emotions leads you to a single operating process that results in the fight, flight or fornicate impulse you blindly follow. And that is where the problem starts in the contemporary world you live in. Yes, that process kept you alive 40,000 years ago, but in today’s 21st century world those same impulses will get you into more often than they will save you.

Let me give you a quick and easy, 60 second tutorial for how brain and mind evolved.

Make a fist and hold it at eye-level. That fist represents your brainstem. It is the source of your primal impulses. It is no different than the brain of a frog, lizard or alligator. It is what creates the Fight, Flight or Fornicate auto-response they and many of you live your life by. It is there to keep you safe, just like a frog’s or an alligator’s brain does today. Do you see your forearm? That represents your spinal column and will take you back on your evolutionary timeline. It is similar to the same structure within flatworms and earthworms.

As you move forward your brain becomes more evolved and specialized. Your frontal lobe is actually where the wiring for all of your executive functions live. I know that I am greatly simplifying a very complex organ I know there are areas of the brain that manage your hands and feet, I also realize there are two hemispheres, right and left, that perform tasks related to logic and creativity, but I want to keep things simple for the purposes of this post. All of your modern programming looks to your primal brain because it was programmed for survival, which is decided by your primal brain.

The problem is not with your brain, but with its programming. The programming of your brain was last updated some 40,000 years ago. It still responds to the world as if it were 40,000 years ago. It simply does not realize how the contemporary works. It does not realize the fight, flight or fornicate responses that kept you alive for so long are not appropriate in the contemporary world you now live in. When you begin to get nervous when meeting a new client or when you go in for a job interview, it is not a life or death situation, it is simply you getting nervous. It is not the time to pump more adrenaline and cortisol, it is the time for you to calm down so that you can think about the questions you will have to respond to.

That is the brain. Your mind on the other hand, is a modern wonder that exists just beyond the reach of your brain. It is the output of all those circuits that exists just beyond your reach. It represents all the hopes and dreams, needs and desires that make you who you are. It is the passion you feel and the sorrow you experience. It is the beauty of your life. It is also what makes your life YOUR life.

If you want to be happy and to feel accomplished in today’s world, then you must first learn to quiet your 40,000-year-old brain so that you can access the 21st century mind that is you. Then, and only then, will your 21st Century self flourish so that you can experience the joy, the happiness, and the feeling of accomplishment and success you were meant to enjoy.

Click here to discover the five simple steps to do this, or jump right to Jeff’s Teachings if you want to engage with Jeff without commitment at https://simple-truth.com/teachings.

  • Meditate – Stop stressing about meditation. Stop worrying feeling the urge to shave your head or give up everything you have worked so hard for. Neither of those things will happen unless you want them to. You will simply learn to understand how your brain and mind interact. You will become more closely attuned to their relationship with the world around you, and learn to manage them. You will learn that YOU are the one in control of YOUR life, not that voice in the back of your head. So free yourself to be YOU and take a stab at meditation. If you have never meditated before, download some free guides here https://simple-truth.com/teachings. Just know that there is a big, bright world out there free from the guilt and self-loathing that comes from within your head.
  • Meet your bad roommate – have you ever sat down and listened to that voice inside your head? You know what it sounds like. That’s right, a nagging roommate. The kind you would have tossed out years ago no matter how much rent they paid. Well, it’s time to realize that the bad roommate IS NOT YOU! That’s your 40,000-year-old brain doing what it does. It looks out for trouble, and when it doesn’t see any around you, it turns inward and starts nitpicking you apart. When you look at yourself in the mirror and it starts commenting on your hair or how you feel, do what you would do to a bad roommate – say thank you and tell it to leave, then turn to your mind and smile at the possibilities and enjoy the day ahead of you.
  • Let It Go – You live in a vastly different world than your ancestors did 40,000 or even 40 years ago. Today you live in an ever-expanding realization of world consciousness. Yes, your brain may be stuck in a village mentality, but you are not. When it snipes at someone who doesn’t dress right, acknowledge it and let it go. When it tells you, you are not good enough, nod and let it go. When it compares you to someone else, yes, smile and let it go. That is NOT YOU TALKING. That is the leftover programming from 40,0000 years ago and it has no place in the modern world YOU live in, or in YOUR life. If you just can’t seem to let it go then take a breather, refer to step 1 and meditate.
  • Smile – No matter what goes on around you, smile. It works on the physical level. It works on the psychological level. It works on the spiritual level. Smile and focus on the feeling that smile gives you. Smile as it spreads across your face and down, deep into your belly with every breath you take. Give it permission to lift you up. Allow it to spread to those around you as you stand up straight and let it go.
  • Honor Your Divine Self – That’s right. Honor the divinity and the infinity that is you. Forget about your perceived limitations and connect with the words the Buddha, Jesus Mohammad and even Einstein said. You are nothing but energy. All those atoms and molecules are held together with pure and unadulterated energy. It’s what keeps everything in the Universe moving together, in the right direction. You breathe it, you bathe in it, you live in it. It is why the energy that you put out there comes right back to you. No, that doesn’t mean if you wish hard enough for a bicycle you’ll get a bicycle. But it does mean, good thoughts, good words and good intentions will create a good life that you can enjoy every day if you want to.

All of this means is that when it feels like the world is beating you up, it’s really not. It is just your 40,000+ year old brain trying to do what it was designed to do – protect you. It’s just trying to do that with a 40,000-year-old program, and that’s like trying to send a letter with a 19th century typewriter. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it will take you quite a while.

Let your 21st Century mind pick a new program, one that is based on the modern world you live in.  Then, and only then, can you make good choices that will send your life moving in the direction you want it to move.

To learn more about how Jeff can help you design your life for the Modern World – take a look at his work on https://simple-truth.com/teachings

Life Outside Your Comfort Zone

Only when you step out of your comfort zone can you experience life fully, richly and deeply. It is important to do this from time to time, not only for yourself, but for those around you. If not, you will be forever trapped by your own fears.

In the past I have advocated asking yourself “Why Am I Here?” or to use a door as a way to remind yourself that what is behind you is truly behind you – it can never be undone, and that what is in front of you is not worth worrying about. All you can do is let it go and get on with your life and prepare yourself for the eventualities of what may be. Let go of your fears and anxieties through meditation so that you can focus on those events that you can change, not on those things you cannot.

Either way, past or future, learn to recognize and embrace the fact that you forever in transition, that the past and the future are the places that you jump from and to. Life is not about anticipating, but embracing that untethered moment you are in right now, the space of transition in between.

The untethered moments are where you live most of your life. They are not a time to search for a safe place to land but to enjoy the discomfort and the moment where life is truly lived.

One of my most profound teachers asked me in a formal Dokusan, “Jeff Cannon, what do you want to do right now?” I replied honestly “What I really want to do is open that door and run as far away from here and from you that I can get, never to return.” He smiled and said, “Why don’t you? There is nothing stopping you.”

I knew there was nothing stopping me. I knew that running away was the safe way out. do. I also knew that running away would be just that, running away from the deeper issues we had been discussing. What resulted from not opening that door and running opened a path to some of the most valuable lessons of my life. It also opened a line of self-evaluations that continues to lead me to some of my greatest break-throughs. Had I done what made me comfortable I ever would have stepped over the edge and into the unknown, where I continue to thrive.

This is not just a matter of making good choices but of challenging yourself to make good choices that challenge you. That is the only way in which you will grow. Growth is not just about going against the status quo, but going against your own comfort zone. Breaking out of your comfort zone will help you break free of the group thinking that keeps everyone in line, no matter how independent you think you are.

Here are some examples of when to push your own comfort zone:

 

Do What Makes You Uncomfortable

Admit it we all have those days when we come home exhausted. All we want to do is sink into a chair and get lost in a TV show or lose ourselves online. When we do this we begin to feel guilty when we come back at midnight with the realization of losing ourselves and our evening, knowing we will have to wake up in a few hours to begin the cycle of work and exhaustion all over again. This is one of those moments to do what you do not want to do, but that you know is right. This is a moment to pool our strength and forget about what feels comfortable.

This is also the moment to sit and meditate, to go for a walk, read a book, to do anything but what you first wanted to do. It may sound like the most horrible idea in the first few minutes until you actually change your habits. When you do this, you begin to feel in control of your actions and yourself. This is when your actions are the most wonderful acts ever, and guess what, they are.

Do what so many people have done for centuries. When you want to free yourself from your earthly bonds do not do what makes you uncomfortable, do what makes you uncomfortable. Don’t throw yourself in the same old, same old. Throw off your natural balance until you find yourself in the middle of a spiritual awakening or a moment of enlightenment. It’s out there waiting for you. All you have to do is reach out for it.

Think it is absurd? Try it and see what happens. Perhaps just a moment of discomfort. Perhaps nothing less than a moment of enlightenment.

Learn how to take the first few steps, from simply walking instead of riding, to just not eating lunch at your desk. It’s simpler than you think.

 

Walk instead of ride

The next time you think of grabbing your car keys or hailing a taxi, go for a walk instead. Give yourself an extra ten minutes and enjoy the time between your errands rather than just checking off boxes. Let your errands be a way to take a mindful break from life and the holidays.

When you go through tasks you need to check off your list, don’t think of the tasks, think of the time between those tasks as a break from yourself. If the market is ten blocks away think of the distance in between as your time. Yes, you may save time driving, but is that really time saved? What about the time that you lose for yourself?

The actual time you might save becomes negligible when you think of how much time it takes to hail a cab or to get your car out of the garage. More important think about the stress you can release by taking a ten or fifteen-minute walk. Think of how it will help you come to terms with yourself and the world when you simply walk.

Lunch at your desk? 

Are you really stuffing yourself because you are that hungry? Or are you eating all that food at your desk so you can jump onto the next project? Is that food being eaten for nutrition, or are you upset that the only person you have to eat with is yourself?

Give yourself the gift of time, and learn to enjoy your meal in a mindful way. Why would you deprive yourself of this opportunity to find your balance and return yourself to calm?

Tired of the gym?  You may be surprised at how much mental-babble you can rid yourself of with a trip to your workout. I know how irritating it is to get into the mood to work out, but that is how your body works. It is driven off the activity of your muscles, pumping fluids and removing wastes. It is how your body functions.

You are a physical being. The pumps that keep your body clean and healthy run off of your activity. You may find yourself following your excuses by staying on the couch, but you will pay for it with an increased feeling of lethargy and an inability to think clearly.

When you actually motivate yourself to exercise, not only are you getting your engine to run, you are setting a pattern to avoid excuses in all parts of your life. You may even find yourself creating a new patter for getting to the gym more often.

In other words, changing your patterns in one area creates a snowball effect that carries over into other areas of your life. By getting off the couch, walking instead of riding, not eating at your desk, you create powerful habits that will change your life. And yes, this willpower will continue to build on itself through good discipline and regimen – expanding the good that is within you outward to others.

This is what makes people studious, productive and feel accomplished. This is what makes you question the status quo and build the life you want to live. If it seems like an infinite loop, it is. Free yourself from your thoughts and you will learn that these loops are nothing more than your auto-programming, which is something you can quickly reduce to their fundamental nature.

It may seem like a Zen Koan for which there is no start and no finish. In a way it is. And that is the beauty of it. You don’t have to start or finish. You can simply begin to adopt a new way to live your life through the little choices you make every day. Your body and mind will take your lead and follow along without question soon enough.

Goldilocks Effect – Why You Are Never Happy With What Is

This one is too hot, this one is too cold. Why do you never see things as they are rather than as you want them to be? If you stop seeing things as not quite right you may just begin to see the world as perfect just as it truly is warts and all.

Perhaps as you walk outside you instinctive think, “why is it always raining?” or “why is it always so sunny?” Perhaps you walk out of a meeting dissatisfied with how it went, beating yourself and your team up for not getting it just right or for not getting a better deal. Perhaps you beat yourself up for not making a better meal for your family, or for not thinking healthier thoughts for yourself.

How many people do you know live their lives trapped in the Goldilocks Effect? This one is too small, this one is too large, the grass is always greener, the lighting is not as it should be. Their entire lives are lived in this twilight world of not being quite perfect, and if it’s not perfect then it might as well not be done at all?

It is the people who are trapped in a world of their own delusions who fall into the trap of the Goldilocks Effect. Their world never meets their expectations because their expectations change all of the time. Their world is based on their own distorted need to control what they have no control over.

Their’s is a world of self-imposed suffering. Their’s is also a world you do not need to be a part of. When it rained yesterday their perception of the world was of a grey, wet, humid mess. When it cleared today they forgot all about the rain yesterday and complain about the the sun as if they lived in a scorching dessert.

It never occurs to them that there is nothing wrong with the world, it is their perception of it that is off.

We all have a little Goldilocks within us. It may surface when we think that the forces are conspiring against us. The question is not does this misperception exist, but how do you recognize it and how do you move beyond it to enjoy the world as it is and end your suffering?

It’s never easy for you to recognize the Goldilocks Effect unless you wake yourself up so that you can be aware of the road to happiness and realize that it is not about you. It is about how your thoughts effect the real world you live in.

When you look at the world through the lenses of anger and disappointment that is what you will see and live in. When you look at the world through the lenses of hope and opportunity, that is how you will see the world around you. You see, the world is truly a reflection of you. How you feel about yourself is reflected on the world that exists all around you.

The next time you feel as if the world is conspiring against you, step back for a moment. Stop whatever you are doing and ask yourself, “what is going on in my life that could effect how I am seeing the world?” Are you going through a stressful job change? Are you going through a nasty breakup? When was the last time you got a good night’s sleep or had a healthy meal?

All of these life-events will effect the way you perceive what is going on around you. When you do this you may just realize where the boundaries of your self-imposed delusions lay and discover the world that you have trapped yourself in.

Instead of asking yourself what wrong with the world, begin to ask yourself what is right with the world?

I can almost guarantee you what is wrong with the world is not that the porridge is too hot or too cold, it lies with the way your mind has decided to perceive the world that is. And that only comes from one place – from within.

How to fix it? Take a big, deep breath in and release it with a deep belly laugh. Seriously, let the air out in a series of short huffs that mimic your exhale when you laugh. Smile and watch as your out-breath turns into a very real laugh and your spirits lighten.

Keep that laugh going as you realize how easy it is for your body to deceive your brain and for your brain to deceive you into thinking that something is truly funny. The secret is that it truly is funny.

Don’t stop now. Laugh at how ridiculous all of this is. Laugh at how easy it is to get yourself off track and how easy it is to get yourself back on track. Keep laughing until the spell of the Goldilocks Effect is broken and you can get on with your life. I promise you, it will not take that long.

Be well and I hope this helps.