What do you actually do when you do practice MindBody / NeuroMind techniques, and how is NeuroMind practice different from meditation?
There’s a lot of discussion about the benefits of meditation, and meditation is incredibly important. In this busy, increasingly stressful and unstable world that we live in, it’s a beautiful way to find the peace that is within us.
How does meditation differ from specific NeuroMind practice for reducing pain? Here’s metaphor to illustrate this. Imagine that there’s a field and in the one corner of the field there’s a hot fire burning.
There’s clouds of smoke coming up and big flames, but it’s only one corner of the field. Meditation is like the arrival of a rainstorm. The clouds build up, the rain comes down, and as it does, everything is soothed.
The fire is quieting down a bit, but that’s all, so maybe the fire keeps burning. It’s not quite as hot as it was, but it’s not out completely. When you do a specific NeuroMind techniques, it’s like taking a big hose, walking over to the fire, and putting it out.
Meditation is a non-specific calming down of everything. It will help your pain as part of a general quietening down. But if you really want to deal with your pain, you need to be specific, and that takes NeuroMind techniques.
The next part of the question is: “How? How does this, how does any of this work?”
It works through a neuroplastic process. You are changing the function of your brain. Now that we understand more, you’re not only changing the function, but you’re subtly changing the structure of your brain. You do this through a neuroplastic process.
The basis of NeuroMind techniques (or any other discipline in life,) is that you have to believe that it works. That’s your foundation. What is belief? Belief is the foundational process that makes us who we are.
Belief lives very deep within us, that’s why it’s foundational. If people believe something, they can be persecuted for thousands of years, and they will still hang onto their belief. No one can change your belief. Only you can. In order to be consistent and focused in your practice, you have to believe you can bring about changes in your brain so your pain process can return to normal.
To believe something, sometimes you need proof. You don’t always need proof. Do we have proof that there’s God, or an afterlife? We have proof of nothing, and yet millions and millions and billions of people believe, and that belief is incredibly powerful. But if we’re talking NeuroMind practices, it may be that for you to have a belief, you need some kind of proof, proof that you’re not wasting your time.
The cool thing is that you do have that proof. The proof is this: your mind is constantly changing through a neuroplastic process. This is what happens day by day by day by day throughout your life. The proof you have is that there was a time when you didn’t have pain. Then, through a neuroplastic process, the pain turned on. The only way that chronic pain can turn all these areas in your brain and in your spinal cord, is through a neuroplastic process. So you went from no pain and a good pain system to chronic pain through a neuroplastic process.
Now you have to use the same process in reverse. This is how you can change your pain system from where it is now back to the way it was. The way you did it before was through an unconscious neuroplastic process. Now you’re going to return your pain system back to natural function through a conscious neuroplastic process.
You have a tool to do this, and the tool is your attention. Your attention is the tool whereby you can change the function and ultimately the structure of your brain.
You need something else, and that is your belief. The belief becomes an intention. So I believe something, and now I have an intention, which is changing my belief into something more concrete. My intention is that I am going to change my pain system.
My tool is my attention, which I use to focus on different parts of my mind. I put my attention in very particular ways to bring about what I want. So we have belief, which will then create an intention. You then use your attention to do what?
You use your attention to change the synapses in your central nervous system.
There are only about a trillion synapses. There are billions of nerves, and each nerve has up to 10,000 dendrites, and each of those has a little synapse. The synapse is where one nerve talks to another. With your attention, you can change how those synapses work.
When you have normal pain, they behave properly. When you have chronic pain, they become amplified, and amplify and distort messages. This means you feel pain much worse than damage. So with your attention, you are going to do MindBody techniques and change the way those synapses work.