I have been listening to Meditations to Change Your Brain, with Rick Hanson
and Richard Mendies. I am finding it really interesting as an overview to much of what I have read lately on neuroscience, psychology, mindfulness and the brain. I particularly liked one of the meditations on enhancing positive feelings through working on 'implicit' memory. Implicit memory according to the authors is what shapes how we feel it really creates the 'atmosphere' in our mind, and thus affects the felt sense in our bodies. We can shape this atmosphere by paying better attention to the positive events in our lives and turning them into positive experiences. This is important because most of us as we tend to resist dwelling on these events. Our brains are wired to pay more attention to possible threats ie. negative events, so we tend to overlook the good.
There are 4 steps to helping positive events become positive experiences.
1 We remember best when the event is made as vivid as possible and then given heightened attention over an extended period (5-20 seconds)That is how to register positive experiences in your brain.Decide to pay attention to positive events (this may sound self evident but as I said earlier we tend to overlook the good).
2. Once you have got the positive experience you want to extend the experience in time and space, keep your attention on it so it lingers don't just jump onto something else. Notice any discomfort with staying with feeling good. Let the experience fill your body with positive sensations and emotions.
3. Sense that the positive feeling is registering deeply in emotional memory. Sense it soaking into your brain and body eg imagine that the experience is sinking into chest and back.
By taking in the good , you gradually build up resources inside. A sense of other people inside or parts of other people inside that are nurturing encouraging and forgiving.
4.Now sense these positive feelings going down deep into old wounds and hurt places inside you and soothing them, replacing them over time with new positive feelings and views ( current feelings of worth replacing old feelings of inadequacy, or current feelings of being loved replacing old feelings of rejection or abandonment ). You will not forget events that happened you are not trying to falsify or make up history but those old events will gradually lose their charge,their painful emotional associations and their hold on you.
By practicing these 4 steps every day you will gradually change your experience to one of being strong and valuable and loved.
Enough for today, tomorrow I will post the meditation instructions for 'Taking in the good'.