We all seem to be climbing a great mountain, some slower, some quicker. Up here near the summit we discover that we are free from the bindings of our egos, conditionings and physical bodies — that we exist permanently above and beyond these limitations. In Rhonda Byrne’s new book, The Greatest Secret, I was happy to hear that deep experiences I’ve been having for almost forty years, through the teachings of Shri Mataji and the practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation, are becoming mainstream. This isn’t because of mass media, but because human beings are asking the right questions and feeling reality within themselves. But I find that this new book, although it beautifully describes thoughtless-awareness and natural detachment from internal and external complications, is missing much of the detail that so many of us have experienced through daily, actual meditation. Among the most prominent phenomena is the amazing ‘cool breeze’ that flows in our central nervous systems when human beings attain joyful equilibrium. Also missing are the details of the workings of our subtle-systems of energy centers and channels, and the benevolent Kundalini energy in our spines.
Of course, the highest priority is the deep, silent meditation itself, a natural, essential state that should be achieved by all. But The Greatest Secret is only a glimpse through the window of enlightenment. Just sayin’. https://wemeditate.co
• Meditators showed around 7% more grey matter, the largest published difference between healthy groups.
• As grey matter decreases with age and with most mental illnesses, this difference throughout the brain is associated with a younger and healthier brain.
• The grey matter difference was more marked in areas related to the control of attention and emotions.
An investigation on the influence of mental silence in the human brain has just been published in the magazine Plos One. The article is entitled: “Larger whole brain grey matter associated with long-term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: a detailed area by area comparison”. The original text is available at the following link:https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237552
It is said that, for more than forty thousand years, human beings have a language that allows us to communicate with precision, that language is reproduced within our brain as thoughts without interruption. When negative thoughts are repeated in vicious cycles, our mental health can be affected with issues such as stress, anxiety or depression.
Today there is plenty of scientific literature that shows that being with the attention in the present moment, in the here and now, is beneficial for our psyche and our general health. Unfortunately, thoughts take us out of the present moment and to stop the thoughts for a long time is not easy, especially when we are not doing tasks that demands much attention.
Yoga includes many different techniques, among which meditation (Dhayana in classical yoga) plays a leading role. The first yoga treatise, “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, mentions that “yoga is the suppression of the modifications of the mind.” In ancient yoga a higher state of consciousness has been described, called “Nirvichara Samadhi”, which can be translated as “mental silence” or “thoughtless awareness”. In this state, the mind is calm, with a feeling of inner bliss, and with the attention focused on the present moment. Sahaja Yoga Meditation puts into practice the goals of classical Yoga to achieve the state of Nirvichara or mental silence.
Researchers led by Professor Sergio Elías Hernández from the University of La Laguna in Tenerife (ULL), in collaboration with scientists from King’s College London University, Jaume I University of Castellón and Sermas of Madrid, have been exploring for more than ten years the benefits of the state of mental silence on the human brain.
The study was carried out at the ULL MRI scanner, where the researchers recorded the brain anatomy of 23 meditator volunteers, experts in Sahaja Yoga meditation, and 23 non-meditating volunteers. Both groups were made up of healthy volunteers and both groups did not differ in age, educational level, ethnicity, proportion of men and women, etc.
To better understand this study, we must mention that the brain tissue is classified, according to its appearance, into three types: grey matter, made up of neuronal bodies and interconnections, (dark grey in resonance images); the white matter, formed by nerve fibers or long connections between distant areas, (light grey in the resonance images), and the cerebrospinal fluid or watery substance that fills the interior voids and serves as protection and transport of chemical substances.
The study of brain anatomy showed that meditators had, on average, 7% more grey matter in the whole brain. This type of comparison of the grey matter of the brain has been made in recent years among other groups in: athletes, musicians, taxi drivers, Buddhists, mindfulness meditators, etc. In these cases, the analyses showed that the group studied had local differences, greater grey matter, in brain areas associated with their specific practice, but the difference was never in the whole brain as it is the case with mental silence. The difference of 7% larger grey matter is especially significant if one takes into account that our brain loses between 0.15% and 0.3% of grey matter per year and small differences in grey matter can mark whether or not we keep intact our cognitive functions. It should be also noted that diseases, typical of the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s, senile dementia or Parkinson’s are also associated with loss of grey matter.
An advance of this study was published in the same journal Plos One in 2016, but the available methodology did not allow a detailed study to be made to see how the grey matter differences were distributed in the different areas of the brain. Given the uniqueness of the group differences observed throughout the whole brain, the researchers had to develop a specific statistical method (ad- hoc) to be able to evaluate these differences, area by area. Of all the brain areas, the grey matter difference was significantly larger in meditators in the right temporal lobe, an area associated with emotions, and in both frontal lobes, areas associated with cognitive and emotional self-control functions.
Study authors: Sergio Elías Hernándeza*, Roberto Dortab, José Sueroc, Alfonso Barros-Loscertalesd, José Luis González-Morae, Katya Rubiaf
a: Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
b: Departamento de Matemáticas, Estadística e Investigación Operativa, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
c: Centro de Salud Jazmín, Sermas, Madrid, Spain. d: Departamento de Psycología, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain. e: Departamento de Fisiología, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain f: Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, Londres, UK.
*Author for more information: Email: email@example.com
Everything we’ve generally accepted about human beings is quickly changing. As soon as we discover that we are much larger and more precious than our familiar shells, all the Game rules change. Our limited perception is expanding out into beautiful reality. This is what it’s all been leading up to.
More about the mysterious, enlightening ‘cool breeze’ appearing in our modern culture, and forgiveness that enables ‘thoughtless awareness’:
In Thailand, Buddhist monks have started taking to Sahaja Meditation to get spiritually deeper. The natural state of alert, mental silence that’s easily achieved with this method is proving useful in all walks of life. Here’s how it’s becoming popular in New York City high schools:
It’s never easy losing loved ones (I’ve lost both my parents, Eric and May, as well as my lifetime spiritual teacher, Shri Mataji, in the last couple of years — as told here further down the home page), but sometimes, when the pain has subsided, it’s inspiring to come across unexpected glimpses into special forgotten moments with them. Here’s a recently discovered video that I didn’t even know existed, in which my father happily appears out of the misty past one very special day in 1983. I’ve posted the video here in its entirety because the meditation public program presented is valuable for anyone seeking inner tranquility and balance.
And below is my short image-compilation decorating a song (in praise of the universal, nurturing Mother) written and composed by Shri Mataji — rendered here by the bass player of a famous European gothic-rock band with some friends. (Another version is by the Vienna Boys Choir)
There are moments when we encounter an idea powerful enough to pull us firmly into focus, into the unlimited awareness of where we actually stand here and now. Some of these revelations are interesting, some fascinating — and some can forever change the way we see ourselves and the world we live in.
“I am an artist and last Friday, after my meditation in the morning, I went down to Greenwich Village (NYC). As I was walking along the street I slowed down to pay attention to the trees, to see the change of colors that come with the Fall.
I looked across the street at a couple of older and taller trees and had a very exiting experience, an experience I had never had before. I looked at one tree and as I took it in, it felt like I could feel its very being, I could feel its soul. Then I looked at a second tree, at first not fully believing what just happened. Again, the same experience.
I knew at that moment that something profound had happened to me. As though what I’d been used to seeing was now revealed as something two dimensional and now I can see in three dimensional. But that’s hardly adequate as a description, the reality of what I experienced is beyond that.
There’s a way of relating to space and form that comes with my new practice of Sahaja Meditation.
Meditating helped me to get my mind clear of things that did not need to be there. So I am open to get new experiences, and to get back to creativity.”
but after attaining the rejuvenating state of mental silence for a few minutes, I felt more like this:
Appearing on the same page, these incompatible images hardly give the impression that they emerged from the same hand, on the same morning. But my experience has shown me that just because I sometimes get into the mood of the fire-breathing dragon (drops new iPhone into toilet / hits thumb with hammer / spouse doesn’t listen properly), that doesn’t mean I have to wait for my rage to somehow fade on it’s own terms. When the attention is naturally turned inside by the spontaneous movement of the benevolent kundalini energy rising up the spine, the most unbearable beast can be tamed in the wink of an eye. By opening the hands, palms upward, and allowing the attention to rise up to the top of the head (where our connection to the all-pervading, creative Power opens) the many dormant, subtle heart functions blossom effortlessly, and we start feeling our self — our spirit — again; balancing our inner child (left sympathetic nervous system/right brain) and our inner adult (right sympathetic nervous system/left brain). A refreshing cool breeze rises from our hidden depths, lifting us to delightful heights. Who would’ve thought that we have everything ideally built in to get passed life’s brickwalls without having to smash our heads through them. The best part is, when we’re balanced and enjoying our true nature, the fun is contagious 😀