Loving yourself – a new cliché or a neurological event worth the investment?
Author: Diana Razumny; Published: Jun 16, 2014; Category: Caring for Yourself; Tags: awareness through movement, Energy follows attention, Feldenkrais, Hardwiring Happiness, Loving yourself, mindfulness practice; No Comments
Loving or liking yourself is on the verge of becoming a cliché. Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean it lacks value! Really, could the Dali Lama, Buddha and Lao-tzu all be wrong? Without doubt, buried in the comments of these great men you will also find the concept of MINDFULNESS! Seems mindfulness is showing up everywhere, even on the cover of pop magazines. No doubt another cliché in the making. Again, no less value just because it’s spreading like wildfire through all forms of media.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha
So let’s bring it home to YOU! Are you able to catch yourself in the act of talking unkindly to yourself, thinking negative thoughts about YOU? When you catch that thought, recognize it as a thought and not the truth. Random and unruly thoughts towards yourself travels through your mind and sometimes even get a grip on you. When you catch one, try holding it up and look at it, see it for what it is, and toss it back into the ocean from whence it came.
It turns out that the negative chatter about ourselves that occupies so much of our thinking could be hardwired in as a part of a biological imperative. Rick Hanson’s ‘Hardwiring Happiness’ is an extremely useful book for getting into the nitty gritty concerning this neurological phenomenon. Here is a catchy quote from the book that helps us understand the gravity of what we are dealing with – “For our ancestors to survive, the brain evolved a negativity bias that makes it like Velcro for bad experiences but Teflon for good ones.” – Hanson gives tips on how we can actively cultivate our positive experiences little by little, taking time to enjoy the goodness – oh dear, another old cliché? ‘Smell the roses.’
Rewiring and growing your brain towards taking in and absorbing goodness requires developing new habits. Hanson refers to Gerald Edleman’s work and book – ‘Neural Darwinism’, (originally named ‘The Mindful Brain’). Edleman, a Nobel laureate and intellectual giant, left his traces in neuroscience and human consciousness, contributing to the concept of ‘mental states become neural traits’.
The idea that ‘Energy follows Attention’ has been around for a few millennia, represented in the Tao Te Ching and even longer ago in Buddhism. The ancient traditions of Buddhism, Taoism and Qigong are all deeply rooted in this concept. This test of time makes it worth your time to explore the practice of Loving Yourself a little bit more. Growing that love will literally change your brain physically.
“Limitless like the ocean are your excellent qualities.” Dalai Lama
Learning to take advantage of positive mental states can be greatly facilitated by immersing yourself in Feldenkrais. I remember some of my first experiences doing Awareness Through Movement, growing my ability of attending to my sensations, and how I felt so good and so happy inside. Maybe it’s time for you to take time and space to bathe in a loving-yourself experience. Gentle movements and doing only what feels good takes you there. Treat yourself well by taking a step on a journey of absorbing goodness. Invest in creating some Velcro for good experiences!
Ok, another cliché here –
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-tzu – Mr. Tao himself!
Registration online for Feldenkrais Retreats to treat yourself
Rick Hanson – ‘Hardwiring Happiness’ & ‘Buddha’s Brain’
Gerald Edleman – ‘Neural Darwinism’, ‘Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the Matter of the Mind’, ‘A Universe of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination’, ‘The Remembered Present: A Biological Theory of Consciousness.
10 minutes of an Edleman lecture at Scripps