Harness the Power of Your Connector Brain!
DID YOU KNOW? "The religious impulse (spiritual quest) is rooted in the biology of the brain...an active spiritual life physically changes the brain." Resource
Today I heard the most amazing poem by a Holocaust Survivor. It is a “defiant statement of faith that was scrawled on a cellar wall in Cologne by a Jew hiding from the Gestapo during WWII. American soldiers found this statement of faith written below a Star of David as they were searching a bombed out house.” It resonated with me during these times of confinement and uncertainty. I wonder how it will resound in you.
I believe in the sun even when it is not shinning.
I believe in love even when I can’t feel it.
I believe in God even when God is silent.
I believe in any trial there is always a way out.
My heart cries out for shelter … to know someone is there.
Then, a voice welled up inside me and said, “Hold on my child. Stay a little while ...
I will give you strength and courage.”
Somehow hearing this poem brought a sense of calm to my brain and stillness to my soul. I heard my inner voice say, “Stay … Be present.” This got me thinking, “What do I believe?” Then I heard myself say:
“I believe in light even when darkness surrounds me.”
“I believe in life even when pain consumes me.”
And I started singing, “I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows?”
Sometimes our inner dialogue drives the brain to trigger anxiety and fear. Other times, our inner dialogue sparks peace and love to calm the brain. I wonder, “What are the beliefs that you hold onto during times of uncertainty and change? What are your beliefs borne out of your times of trouble and trauma?
The Connector Brain links us to self, to others, to the Creator and to Creation.
ABC Tool #6: I Believe
A – Aware – Be attentive!
Ask yourself “To whom or what are you connected?” Connect to the Creator.
Here's a thought: Creator (God/Higher Power) → Breath → Life = Creator. The human capacity to believe in God or something greater than oneself is hardwired into the human brain, according to Andrew Newberg, MD, Eugene D'Aquill, MD and Vince Raus in their ground-breaking book: Why God Won't Go Away.
B – Break – Give yourself a breath-break!
1. Holding Breathing: Practice this when your emotions flare or your thoughts race.
a. Stop! Ask yourself: What is my breath doing?
Check it out. Breathing becomes short and shallow when emotions such as anxiety, fear, panic, anger or rage flare up. Chances are you are holding your breath high in your chest.
Check it out. Breathing becomes short and shallow when your thoughts race or you try to solve a problem. Chances are you are holding your breath high in your chest.
b. Drop! Release your breath.
Exhale: Follow it down into your diaphragm. Hold your breath here, deep within, as you count 1...2...3.
Inhale: Let go and breathe in the breath of life.
Repeat exhaling and inhaling at least 3 times. Slow down the count 1...2...3 each time you exhale.
c. Roll! Use a Blessing Meditation.
Option 1: Gemometrically, the number 3 suggests a triangle. Symbolically, this may represent the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit or Mother, Daughter, Holy Spirit. After exhaling and counting 1...2...3, as described above. Practice holding breathing, but this time substitue the words: Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the count of 1...2...3. Inhale to Blessed are You, Lord God ... Exhale to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Repeat this Blessing Meditation at least 3 times.
Option 2: Select words that you associate with the Creator (God/Higher Power/Life Source.) Perhaps they are words such as Love, Peace, and Gratitude. Practice holding breathing, but this time substitue your words instead of the 1...2...3 count. Inhale to Blessed are You ... Exhale to Love, Peace, Gratitude. Repeat this Blessing Meditation at least 3 times.
C – Center – Connect to your beliefs!
1. What are your beliefs? Beliefs arise from repeated experiences. A belief is a left-brain worded expression of your right-brain embodied experience. For example, the sun comes up each day I awake. Therefore, I believe the sun rises each day whether I see it or not.
Make a list of your beliefs.
Reread the poem or listen to the songs referenced above to get you started.
2. What are the beliefs others have embedded in you? For example, "You are so stupid. You'll never amount to anything. You are worthless."
Make a list of your embedded beliefs.
Counter act each embedded belief with one of your. Use known facts from your own experience to rewrite the belief. For example, I heard a parent say, "You are so stupid!" I say, "I believe I am smart! Others agree. I completed a Ph.D." Say your belief out-loud as you breath it 3 times through your body, Inhale to "I believe" and exhale to "I am smart." Repeat your belief breathing and saying it silently to yourself 3 times.
Become aware of what difference your rewriten belief makes to your connector brain. In other words, what do you experience in your body when your state your belief?
Remember, at any time, you can take a breath-break and practice holding breathing.
Harness the Power of Your Connector Brain!
May sunshine bathe you! May love surrond you! May peace flow through you!