The last day of August with Labor Day weekend around the corner. The end of summer and the start of a new school year. The excitement of new possibilities.
Do you have children going back to school? Are you taking classes, yourself? Are you a teacher? What new lessons are you looking forward to learning or teaching this year?
My favorite subjects outside of music creation and production are Bible study and wellness. Last year I found a way to blend the two and it came in the form of neuroscience. I’ve been focusing on neuroplasticity, how the brain can form new synaptic connections at any age and even following injury. In the process, I was reintroduced to a concept I’d read about for years, but never seriously put into practice: daily meditation.
Every time I tried to meditate it felt like a waste of time. Although I knew in theory it was good for my immune system and for stress regulation, I could never develop the habit. So many commitments and outside distractions, how could I make time to be still? Over the years, I’ve completed numerous self improvement programs, to pivot from old habits that no longer served me and employ new ways of thinking and behaving. For example, my decades-long habit of fear and anxiety was worsened by moving to my home state last year during the pandemic. No matter how many times I tried to “think positively”, I felt myself reverting back to the same familiar programming: thinking and feeling anxious.
I’ve been reading “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”, by Dr. Joe Dispenza, and I learned something that was a total game changer. My habits are operating out of the 95% of my mind that is subconscious. I’ve been attempting to change that 95% with the 5% of my mind that is conscious. That’s the equivalent of using a computer and watching unwanted windows pop up with no way to stop them. No matter how many buttons you press, the computer isn't going to stop until you change something in its operating system. It turns out that meditation is the way to access the brain’s subconscious "operating system." A few verses come to mind: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) and “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I find that when I roll out of bed and spend quiet time in the Lord’s presence, I have a palpable sense of “His mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23) in my mind, my body, and my spirit.
I certainly understand why meditation practice is called just that, a practice. It takes commitment to do this every day, even when I don’t notice anything changing, or I’m getting impatient with the process. Well, considering I’ve been alive for over half a century, it might take some focused work to unwire old brain circuits and rewire new ones. That’s when another verse strengthens me: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:13
Praise the Lord for new beginnings!!