The concept of spiritual neuroplasticity or neurotheology has surfaced in several conversations with clients in recent weeks. An intriguing aspect of these conversations for me is that I have had them with people of several faiths: Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Bahá’í, Buddhist, Muslim and atheist.
In these conversations with people which ranged from non-believers to fundamentalists, the common thread that I heard was focus of thought. By this I mean that the more you focus your thought on spirituality, the greater your belief and spiritual experience. (As you know, neurons that fire together, wire together).
Your brain is built for change across your entire lifespan. This miraculous ability of the brain to reform itself means that you do not have to live in fear and despair. You can use your power of belief and live with joy and hope.
Your brain is continuously being sculpted. Intentionally or unintentionally. Using your spiritual beliefs you can purposefully sculpt your brain just as you’d sculpt your muscles if you went to the gym.
Several years ago, NPR had a segment on All Things Considered on neurotheology. (Click Prayer May Reshape Your Brain … And Your Reality to listen). According to the report, the brains of people who spend untold hours in prayer and meditation are different. With just two weeks of prayer or meditation there were detectable changes in the subjects’ brains.
Systematic changes in both the brain and the immune system occurred among rank amateurs in just two months. They developed more antibodies to a flu virus than did their colleagues who did not meditate.
Neuroscience establishes that during religious experiences the areas of the brain that are central to rewards is activated. Brains scans during spiritual experience reveal that an area of the brain (nucleus accumbens) critical for reward processing is activated. The medial prefrontal cortex is also triggered which is involved in judgement, evaluation and moral reasoning.
Study participants also reported that while having a spiritual experience they encountered feelings of physical warmth and peace.
Nothing changes without neurons changing
In the brain nothing changes without neurons changing. New thoughts, new emotions and new behaviors all require the changing of neurons.
According to Curt Thompson M.D., author of Anatomy of the Soul, spiritual disciplines like fasting, confession, prayer and solitude open your awareness to the things that your mind is thinking, sensing and feeling that you are typically not paying attention to. Thompson tells us that Spiritual Formation invokes neuroplasticity.
Spirituality and the Greatest Expression of You
Your spiritual practice can be an integral component of the Greatest Expression of You process. Begin each day by reading your Greatest Expression of You statement and meditate on it. Include your spiritual practices in your meditation. As you do this, bring to mind your most joyful experiences in life and memorize this joy. Then, mentally rehearse being your best self throughout the day which established the neuro blue print for your day.
Use your self-hypnosis throughout your day reminding yourself of who it is that you are becoming. At the end of the day, take an inventory of your day. And then notice where you did really well and memorize that for future use. Notice the moments where you fell from grace and mentally rehearse being your best self in those moments so that you can do and be different next time when the situation occurs.
And finally, do all of this with gratitude and be blessed.
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I am opening to allow joy to live within me.
Since January 2, 1997
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