Spring is in all its glory here in the northeast, and the colors and scents are almost overwhelming. There is such a sense of renewal after a cold wet winter, and that renewal signals a life that is sweeter and more energetic than what came before. It is renewal, but with a sense of progress, of evolution. I am reminded of that feeling I get opening my eyes after meditation. There is something new, something just perceivably better about the world. My perception is just a bit more refined, my physiology more settled. With a smile, I recall how flexible the nervous system can be.
Every experience molds the synaptic connections within our cerebral cortex. If I laugh together with my wife, that joy is reflected in my nervous system. If I watch a violent movie, the impression of that violence is recorded in my brain. Whatever I put my attention on becomes a part of me, on a neuron-to-neuron basis. It’s the same for everyone. And this is an excellent reminder of how important it is to choose activities that nourish us and support those connections that help maintain a healthy outlook.
Of all the brain changing experiences in life, research shows that none is more powerful in a good way than those minutes spent in the morning and evening meditating, quietly settling down and transcending thought. When you open our eyes after meditation, you open your eyes with what is, in fact, a new nervous system, primed for new creation – a nervous system that structures and organizes thought slightly better than it ever had before. And, even unaware of the details of this amazing brain transformation, you can say quite naturally: “I feel rested and fresh.” Isn’t that the way of it? The most pivotal moments in life become a natural everyday occurrence. What a great fortune to have such a practice.