Using Imagery to Change Your Brain

Q: Is there any evidence that just reading the words which describe an experience will bring activity to the corresponding part of the brain? A: There is a lot of fMRI research in which the prompt to the subject in the scanner is reading a text. Many of the texts used are emotion words or

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Empathy and Brain Plasticity

In this interview with Ruth Buczynski, PhD, I talk about the evolution of the brain and the development and neuroscience of empathy.

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Modern Science Meets Ancient Wisdom

In the 21st century, modern brain science and ancient contemplative wisdom are illuminating each other. Besides being fascinating in its own right, this cross-fertilization and growing integration spotlights increasingly effective ways for using your mind to change your brain to benefit your whole being – and those you touch. The Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom,

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Give No One Cause to Fear You

What puts people at ease? The Practice: Give no one cause to fear you. Why? We evolved to be afraid. The ancient ancestors that were casual and blithely hopeful, underestimating the risks around them – predators, loss of food, aggression from others of their kind – did not pass on their genes. But the ones [Read More...]

Hug the Monkey

Longing for love? The Practice: Hug the monkey. Why? Your brain evolved in three stages (to simplify a complex process): Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “us” The first JOT in this series – pet the lizard – was [Read More...]

Feed The Mouse

Got cheese? The Practice: Feed the mouse. Why? As the nervous system evolved, your brain developed in three stages: Reptile – Brainstem, focused on avoiding harm Mammal – Limbic system, focused on approaching rewards Primate – Cortex, focused on attaching to “us” Since the brain is integrated, avoiding, approaching, and attaching are accomplished by its [Read More...]

Empty The Cup

Are you full to the rim? The Practice: Empty the cup. Why? Once upon a time, a scholar came to visit a saint. After the scholar had been orating and propounding for a while, the saint proposed some tea. She slowly filled the scholar’s cup: gradually the tea rose to the very brim and began [Read More...]

Remember The Big Things

What matters most to you? The Practice: Remember the big things. Why? In every life, reminders arrive about what’s really important. I’ve recently received one myself, in a form that’s already come to countless people and will come to countless more: news of a potentially serious health problem. My semi-annual dermatology mole check turned up [Read More...]

Rest

Busy, busy? The Practice: Rest. Why? This practice is definitely a case of teaching what you need to learn: I’ve been working through a big bucket of tasks lately with little chance to rest. (I console myself with knowing that the bucket is emptying a lot faster than it’s filling with new tasks.) Sometimes you [Read More...]

Have Compassion

Compassion is natural; you don’t have to force it – moments of compassion come in the flow of life. Try to open to compassion – including all beings, omitting none. [Read more...]


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