Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness is the process of being aware of yourself and your environment each moment.


                 


Mindfulness has profound healing effects on the mind and body, including lower blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, . Many of these are supported by modern research, though it has been practiced for personal and spiritual development for thousands of years.


Traditions such Buddhism have used mindfulness meditation for over 2500 years. In Zen Buddhism, there is a tradition that the teacher (the Roshi) will use a stick to gently hit students on the back when they start to fall asleep during meditation. In this way, the teacher helps the student stay alert and mindful of his or her mind, body, and surroundings. This may seem violent, but Zen teachers and students consider it a compassionate act by the teacher, for the benefit of the student’s enlightenment.


The function of the Roshi and his stick is to catch students’ minds drifting away from being mindful, and to bring them back to the present moment with a tap. This tap is greatly beneficial to the student, who may get lost in his or her thoughts for long periods of time, if they were not brought back the present by their benevolent teacher.


                       


Other forms of mindfulness practice rely on the practitioner catching him or herself losing focus, and drifting off into thoughts, memories, fantasies, and daydreams. When the practitioner realizes he or she has lost focus, they acknowledge their mind by silently saying “thinking” or labeling their thought (e.g. “thinking about dinner”). This method develops the habit of bringing one’s awareness back to the present moment with greater speed and reliability, the more the practitioner practices the method. However, it is a slow process since the practitioner has to catch him or her self, and will spend a lot of time “drifting” before coming back to the present moment.


                                    


NeurOptimal does the same thing as the Roshi and his stick, but much more quickly, reliably, and effectively. Instead of a watchful eye, NeurOptimal uses electrodes to detect your brainwaves and a computer to monitor your brain for indications of “drifting” out of a mindful state. NeurOptimal looks at your brain activity 256 times per second, and returns feedback in milliseconds when it shows the first signs of shifting states.


When NeurOptimal provides feedback by momentarily pausing music, it triggers the orienting reflex which is your minds natural trigger to be mindful of itself and its surroundings. These skips in the music are often too fast to be detected by the conscious mind. Like going to a movie theater, the conscious mind thinks it is getting a constant signal, and doesn’t notice the almost instantaneous gaps that are always present. You may notice these gaps when 3-4 are triggered back-to-back, but otherwise they are only registered by the part of your brain that operates outside of your conscious awareness.


                    


In a typical 30-minute meditation session, the practitioner might “come back” to the present moment about 30 times. In a typical 33-minute NeurOptimal session, your brain would be brought back to the present moment hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Since mindfulness requires “practice” to cultivate, NeurOptimal provides the most intense practice, and therefore the most effective results.


Like the meditation practitioner, your brain eventually develops the habit of staying in a state of mindful awareness more of the time, and coming back from distracting “drifting” more quickly. The result is a noticeable increase in mindfulness in everyday life. People say they are able to just sit and be still more easily, without feeling the compulsion to be thinking or doing something all the time. Others report a significant deepening of their regular mindfulness practices. Some have said NeurOptimal has the same effects as multi-day meditation retreats.


                    


The calm, patience, and peace-of-mind NeurOptimal provides are undeniable. The consequent experience of patience and compassion are transformative for many people, leading to  vast improvements in their relationship with others and themselves.



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“NeurOptimal is definitely the gift that keeps giving..... there is no end to the gains especially if you are committed to a path of awakening.” 

-- Linda B., NeurOptimal Trainer