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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Mindfulness, Neuroscience, Meditation

The Buddha dropped a hint in the Anapanasati Sutta first with the phrase, “…true knowledge and liberation…” and then with “…coalescence and tranquility…”. During my second three-year retreat Lama: Chodrak Gyatso taught me that relaxation was the key to meditation. Later Bhakha Tulku and then Bhante Vimalaramsi repeated these pointing out instructions. But what has that to do with neuroscience?

Our thoracic spinal cord is the seat of our sympathetic nervous system. Evolutionarily ancient, it is accessed as we breathe IN and it is wired for us to notice: vulnerably, passively, viscerally, and spontaneously. It is the means by which we practice mindfulness.

Our lumbar and cervical spinal cords (together, as a team) form our parasympathetic nervous system. It is accessed with every OUT-breath and supports both our physical relaxation as well as our mental release: crucial to our experience of liberation

Aligning our intention with the wiring of our autonomic nervous system is the key to meditating like a Jedi.

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