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  • Writer's pictureLama Jigme Gyatso

Raving Minds and Meditation

What if the goal of the Buddha’s meditations was not to still the mind, select an emotion, or indulge any of our controlling tendencies? What if, instead, his meditations were always about surfing the tsunami of our mind in the most therapeutic of ways?

The utter dynamism of a raving mind reminds me of the adage, “You cannot steer a parked car.” And our autonomic nervous system is the engine that drives our healing. Consider if you will the mechanics of mindfulness.

Ask a neuroscientist, they’ll tell you, with every IN-breath we access our sympathetic nervous system, which is wired to notice: vulnerably, passively, viscerally, and spontaneously. That is why mentally reciting “Notice this…” during each inhalation could be a font of clarity in the gale force maelstrom that can be the preset moment. But what about meditation?

Each OUT-breath accesses our parasympathetic nervous system which natural selection has wired to support our physical relaxation and mental release. This is why mentally reciting “relaxing!” during each exhalation could liberate us NOT from the presence of our more primal drives, but most certainly from their tyranny. Practice at least five minutes every twelve hours, adding an additional five minutes every week, and by the thirteenth week you (like the band They Might be Giants) could square off with your neurotic impulses and declare, “You’re NOT the Boss of me now!” _/\_

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