Thursday, January 15, 2009

Holding your pee

Life in the left brain is like living with a constantly full bladder. You are always preoccupied.

You can function. You can pay bills, work with a client, send out emails, drive, feed the cat, design a web page, make coffee - many times doing these things at the same time. But even while multitasking, there's always that underlying noise, nagging you that there's more to do.

And then there's the ridiculous dancing from one foot to the other.

Allowing the right brain (peaceful observer) equal time really gets rid of the noise, the nagging, the preoccupation. The urine of life.

And the only way I know to reach the right brain through the noise of the left is meditation.

It quiets the left brain and introduces the peace of the right. So that when you are working with a are working with a client. When you're feeding the cat, you're feeding the cat. When you are responding to an email. You got it. You're responding to an email. That's it. You are fully there to listen, feed, respond. You are clear.

When you are clear in your mind, you have the structure of the linear left mind that keeps you on track and the open awareness and acceptance of the all observer right brain, amazing things can take place in the body.

For me, the first shift came from breathing into the belly. One of the first times I tried to meditate, my respiratory system was blown away. I was breathing in and out. And I did it more than once. Over and over for eternally long two minutes.

I didn't hold my breath on the inhale. I didn't take a big breath in and sigh it out. I just let the air come in evenly and release evenly. My lungs freaked.

"What the heck is this?! Air in? Air out? What? Balloon-lung look not in anymore?"

My lungs can be pretty sarcastic.

The breathwork in meditation is so nice and even that the respiratory system responds. Lungs not only were stronger in case studies, but lung capacity grew, and meditators were able to hold their breath for much longer periods of time. They also found that the even breathing of meditation increases the blood oxygen and allows it to adhere to blood more evenly.

And there are oodles of case studies (here's an interesting one) that go over the connection between meditation and cardiovascular health. In a healthy human if your breathing becomes nice and even, your heart rate is going to respond, raising your heart rate variability (HVR measures autonomic influences on the cardiovascular system. The autonomic system supplies, involuntarily, impulses to the smooth muscle tissues, glands and the muscles of the heart. It also controls the circulation of blood, body temperature, respiration rate and many other functions like salivation, urination, and digestive systems.

So when you're breathing evenly, the blood begins to flow evenly, oxygen is getting around and healing...lo and behold, the digestive systems begins to assimilate food better. Woo-hoo! No more fears about bending over in class anymore!

Because all systems: endocrine, nervous, cardio, digestive, respiratory, are connected, they are also all affected when you create a space for the right brain.

The hard thing is to make time to actually follow through with meditation. In the beginning just be good to yourself and don't give up. It takes practice just like anything else. You'll watch the clock. You'll hear noises and want to know what they are. You'll fall asleep. Your left brain will nag, nag, nag until you give up. Don't.

Add it into your day slowly:

Before you get out of your car. Pause. Breathe.
Before you set the toothbrush to your teeth. Pause. Breathe.
Before you pick up the phone. Pause. Breathe.
Before you get out of bed. Pause. Breathe.

These are mini-meditations that will help you ease into longer periods of time. And you can add an exercise on to the breathing: pause, breathe, feel your hands. Just feel them. Don't judge. Don't evaluate. Just see if you can feel the blood pulsing through them. Can you feel any sensations? Just feel, be aware. Let your right brain have a voice. It's pretty quiet, but it's powerful.

Now quit dancing and go pee.


Good books on the brain:
My Stroke of Insight
Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain

No comments:

Post a Comment