Nov 24, 2022 in Life Coaching

Buddha's Brain

Buddha, a great teacher is known for his wisdom and philosophy. This path leads us to be our best version to serve humanity.

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Intrigued by this fascinating title, I decided to review the book, 'Buddha's Brain by Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius. It not only talks about Buddha's philosophy but highlights simple life-changing lessons to stimulate your brain for more fulfilling relationships, a deeper spiritual life, and a greater sense of inner confidence and worth.

Buddha shared his knowledge with his disciples while walking this path of enlightenment. We often become judgemental about other's life but we hardly see the difference in the journeys and the obstacles they had to overcome to reach this destination. Why do we forget our paths are unique just like us? So what's the comparison or competition about? A writer writes the beginning of a story and decides the ending too. Similarly, you are the author of your life and your happiness or sorrow is in your hands. Happiness is a state of mind which can be attained by having a positive attitude even in difficult circumstances. It all depends on the outlook whether you see a glass half full or half empty. Buddha chose a simple and natural life.

We all can relate to the memory of a child getting his jabs and the Mum distracting him so he doesn't feel the pain. Amazingly, the trick worked. The human mind runs with approx 60,000 thoughts per day. So how can we get tied up with one thought or perception? The bundle of thoughts creates a mesh or burden we carry for years together to create overthinking minds. With stimulants and neurotransmitters like Dopamine, Serotonin in excess can go into overdrive easily.

The 3 pounds of tofu inside the coconut can help us be more resilient, happier, and productive. All the responses or emotions of overwhelm, anxiety, depression, fear, guilt, hatred, love, defense mechanisms, etc. are a result of the 3 trillion neurons and synapses firing the signals. Mental activity maps to neural activity. Repeated patterns change the neural structure. The bottom line is you can use your mind to change your brain for the better. That's why it's called self-directed neuroplasticity which is a powerful concept about rewiring your brain to change a behaviour pattern or be focussed or emotionally intelligent and so on.

Be nice to our future selves. We are often very hard on ourselves. A lame joke how many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one. But the light bulb needs to be willing to make a change. The task is only to align with your higher self and focus on your growth. Being a good friend to yourself so you can lean more on yourself. Feel cared for and loved by people around you. A pet, friends, colleagues, etc. It amps the circuits and you start reciprocating the feelings of love and care.

Physiological changes in the different parts of the brain occurred as we progressed on the evolutionary scale. The parasympathetic nervous system is the antidote to the sympathetic nervous system- fight or flight response. We evolved the capacity to deal with an immediate threat or opportunity. In modern life, we may not have the zebra running in panic from the lion but we have mild to moderate chronic stress with very little time for recovery with the recurring waves of stress which violates mother nature's blueprint resulting in negative effects on physical and mental well-being. We need to be fiercely committed to our well-being and then come home to a feeling of love, healing, and happiness. 

Cultivating positive emotions is an important building block to improving brain function. Be kind to yourself and other people. Be happy for other people. Seeing the good in others builds positive synapses. Regular practice can change the neural structure which can be done even with strangers. It helps you orient life in a centered way understanding you are part of a big whole and seeing the bigger picture while detaching from the process. Drive the truth to the lying brain so that the cravings do not pop- up from a deficit mentality.

The 7 billion people in the world today need to take in the good as most of our problems are delusional due to ignorance and avoiding systems. With this new insight, we can see each other from a whole, peaceful perspective.

Author: Pranoti Gupta

 Disclaimer: The wisdom of the article can be profoundly used for cognitive behavioural therapy to live happy, healthy lives.

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