Thursday, August 6, 2015

Confessions of a Lightworker


Very early in life I knew my purpose was to be a healer. As a very small child I played the role of healer for my cousins, brothers and sisters. I carried around a little plastic toy medical bag, and I would give people red hot candy as a pill and I gave them pretend shots whenever I saw them in pain so I could make them feel better. I had a highly developed empathic sensory system as a child and I was deeply affected by the pain of others.

As an adult, I would practice nursing in a wide variety of settings. I knew my role was to help soothe, comfort and heal pain in others, regardless of whether it was physical or emotional pain. I spent over 35 years in my profession before I fully understood there was even more I could do to help others and that I could contribute immensely to the relieve of others sufferings even after I retired from the medical profession.


I discovered my true purpose in life when I became aware of why I attracted to me many people with emotional, physical, and mental issues. People who were filled with turmoil, who were self-absorbed, armored, prejudiced, angry, or depressed would find their way to me. People would pick me out of a crowd and bring right to my face their personal issues. If someone had something to complain about, it was me who they wanted to unburden themselves to. I could read their energy. I was empathicly aware of what they were feeling.

For many years I did not understand why I could “feel” their energy or know what to do with it! I questioned why was I the one they chose to unload on. I thought their behavior was about me somehow. I took it personal. I thought they were showing me their pain because they didn't like me. I thought I must be flawed in some way for these people to keep showing me their pain. Yet, often it was people who didn't even know me. I was very confused as to why this happened so frequently and about my value as a person, and about the intelligence and integrity of the people I would meet.

Then, one day, a light came on. Well, it really came on after years of reflection, contemplation, and spiritual study when I realized these people presented themselves and their issues to me in order for me to be a catalyst to help them heal. I was to be a Lightworker in their behalf.

I realized their behavior was not about me at all. People were showing me how much pain they were in and how unaware they were of what they could do to help themselves. I realized there was something I could do to help them and I realized I could stop hurting myself by believing that something was wrong with me or believing I deserved to feel their pain for some reason.

Since I was unable to change the course of their life or make choices for them I came to understand that all I could do was to pray in their behalf. I could formulate a blessing for them that I could utter into the ether's, a blessing to invite divine quantum energy to work in their behalf. I could create a spiritual mind treatment for them. I knew how to do that and I believed in the effectiveness of spiritual mind treatments for I had studied and applied science of mind techniques in my own life for some time.

As my life purpose became more clear to me, when the light within my consciousness began to shine brightly, I could clearly see my role as a Lightworker.

I saw that being able to empathicly read others energy and see their energy leaks and blocks was truly a gift. I could use this gift in a meaningful way that would help others.

An empathic sensory system is very powerful and is to be used for the benefit of others and when used properly, it brings tremendous joy to the one who has the ability.

Whenever I “read” someone's energy and feel what they are feeling, I immediately begin using my empathic healing energy skills in a very quiet, unobtrusive way, unnoticed by anyone, to bring them relief. I invite Light, prana, divine healing energy into their energy field. I ask divine intelligence to use me to bring relief from suffering, to bring awareness and enlightenment to the one in pain and I thank the Light for using me as a catalyst.

Using my mental physic energy in this way releases their pain from my energy field and brings to me the peace I desire for them. Using my empathic energy in this way is truly a blessing for me. I have totally changed the way I interact with reality so that I no longer perceive others pain as a reason for me to be in pain but an opportunity for me to help them find relief. Today, I joyfully accept my mission as a Lightworker and no longer question why some one shows up in my life.

Perhaps you had experiences that caused you to wonder about your true purpose. Perhaps you feel called to be a Lightworker. If so, consider the words of well known author, Dorren Virtue. She provides some insight into the nature of a lightworker.

She said:
“You are a lightworker if you:
1. Feel called to heal others.
2. Want to resolve the world's social and environmental problems.
3. Believe that spiritual methods can heal any situation.
4. Have had mystical experiences, such as psychic premonitions or angelic encounters.
5. Have endured harsh life experiences that eroded the knowledge of your Divine perfection.
6. Want to heal your own life as a first step in healing the world.
7. Feel compelled to write, teach, or counsel about your healing experiences.
8. Feel a sense of time urgency to fulfill your mission before you knew that you were here for a higher purpose, even if you are unsure what it is or how to fulfill it. “

It is my pleasure and purpose to serve all those who come into my presence who are seeking healing, wholeness, and freedom from suffering. And that is every person I meet! My work is fulfilling, meaningful, never done, and never a burden now that I know the true purpose of my empathic gift.

May all beings be healed.
May all beings be free of suffering.
May all beings be joyful at heart.
May all beings find their way to the light.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Your Thoughts, Emotions, and Health: Guided Imagery and the Body



Image result for photos of beautiful scenery    As we think,  we cause chemical reactions to occur in the body, a negative thought causes a release of chemicals associated with fear, anger, or sadness and an uplifting thought causes a release of chemicals which create positive sensations like joy, satisfaction, and peace. Thoughts which are repeated over time becomes a belief. Our thoughts and beliefs creates our moods and emotional states.

We contribute to our health and well-being by repeatedly thinking thoughts of well-being and we create pain, upset, and disharmony by repeatedly thinking thoughts about how bad things are, how awful others are,  or how miserable we are.  Our body is aware of every thought we think and our thoughts  powerfully  influence the body's chemical and corresponding emotional state.

As  infants we imitated our care givers and learned our original habits of thought from our parents, teachers, and environment.   Every experience we had caused a deepening of the neuro-circuits in the structure of our brain.  Those circuits begin to operate automatically, without any conscious thought on our part,  in the same way our ability to drive a car or play an instrument becomes an automatic process.

Within the unconscious part of our mind, resides the habitual thought patterns we have accumulated through out our life and these patterns are running our life today, like it or not!

If our unconscious mind could be free of all hatred, anger, dishonesty, violence, sloth, envy, jealousy, and condemnation we would have everything in life we desired. We would be unlimited, undaunted, and unstoppable because we would have only positive thought patterns and we would pursue our desires without fear, resistance, or doubt.

The limiting, self-destructive thoughts are part of the collective consciousness of humanity.  The good news is there are also beliefs of goodness, justice, kindness, peace, generosity, and  cooperation  in the collective consciousness as well.  It is up to us to decide which aspects will operate more noticeably in our day to day activities and we do this by setting our intention, focusing and making conscious choices.

If we can accept ourselves totally and completely, knowing these negative aspects are a part of us,  we are in a better position to have greater conscious choice over which ones  run automatically.   Our work isn't to despise our self  or others for having and acting on negative thoughts.  We are part of the collective consciousness and  we can not help that.   Our work is to love and accept our self and others while we do our best to function within the boundaries of our humanness.

We live in a  dualistic, material world which has built in contrasting forces. In the physical world we have strong/weak, hot/cold, light/dark, and in our consciousness we have  love/hate, joy/sadness, and so on. These contrasting forces exist in every person. It makes no sense, in fact it weakens us to want it to be different.  It is just the way things are!

By the thoughts we allow ourselves to focus on, the words we speak and the action we take, we are deciding which force will dominate our life.  An ancient story depicts this: A man explained to his son that a white wolf and black wolf  fights  inside of him.  The boy asks which wolf survives and the father says the "one you feed!"

We have the ability to affect our health and well-being by taking more conscious control of our thoughts. We can train our thoughts to love and accept what is and we can  train our thoughts to love and respect our bodies more.   By doing this, we can  improve the bodies performance and health.

Our imagination, our emotions, our habitual thoughts are affecting the state of health in our body all the time. Every cell in the body responds with a chemical reaction to our emotional state.   Emotions become chemicals (see the book, "Molecules of Emotion;" by  Candace Pert).  Therefore, deliberating focusing our thoughts and using our imagination to direct them, will have a powerful effect on the body.

We know the imagination affects the body very strongly because when we imagine tasting the juice of a lemon our jaws tighten and we salivate and if we image our self in a particularly stimulating sexual act, our body will react.  The body is stimulated by thoughts and  imagery and it cannot tell the difference between a real and imagined event.

Using the mind as a tool for healing is practical, effective and very cost effective. I believe in and practice regularly, a method of self-healing that works for me.  I enter into a quiet, peaceful state of relaxation or meditation and direct my thoughts to each part of my body in a loving, appreciative way. The more often this kind of practice is repeated the more profound the effect.

After about 10 minutes of focusing my attention on my breathing in order to quiet my body,  I  imagine I am inside my body and I begin to speak to it:

Image result for photos of beautiful scenery"I love and appreciate my eyes for allowing me to see all the beauty there is in this world, the colors, the textures, the patterns of everything fascinates and delights me.

My ears and the structures associated with hearing allows me to listen to music, to the voice of those I love, to birds, waterfalls, fire crackling and this delights and enlivens me.  I love and appreciate my brain, the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. I love learning, calculating, analyzing, sorting, and labeling which the left brain allows me to do and I love the peacefulness, the all inclusiveness, the artistic, poetic, musical, imaginative right brain.   I respect the functions of both sides of my brain and I am grateful for all they allow me to do.

I love and appreciate my amygdala,( the structure that is responsible for fight or flight response).  It takes good care of me whenever I need it.  I give it permission to relax and takes it's rest for I am safe, secure and well-being abounds for me.  I gently massage it and  place soft, fluffy, cottony clouds around it so it can relax and only activate when there is a real threat.  I am so grateful for the way my body supports me.

I love and appreciate my thyroid which sits on my windpipe, shaped like a butterfly, reminding me that metamorphosis is natural and possible, that I can transform any seeming bad condition to a better one.   I see it pollinating the environment of my body with the substance every cell in my body needs for balance and harmony.

I love and appreciate my lungs as they expand and constrict.  They remind me of the natural rhythm of life, the in and out flow of air, of  the tides, the receiving and giving, the give and take that must take place in all interactions. My breath is my connection to life force, my connection to others.  As they breathe out molecules, I breathe them in.  Nature sends out oxygen and  I breathe it in and  I send out carbon dioxide and nature takes it in.  We are one in this energy soup of life.  Dependent upon each other.  Supporting each other.  I am so grateful life supports me in this way.

 I love and appreciate my heart.  As blood comes from the lungs in to the top, right chamber of my heart I am aware of the natural rhythm of contraction and relaxation.  Two opposing forces that must be in order for life to exist on the material plane.  The four chambers of the heart filling and emptying, receiving and giving, expanding and contracting,  pumping about 2,000 gallons of blood a day.  Pushing the blood out into the many blood vessels where it nourishes and cleanses trillions of cells.  I feel tremendous gratitude for its nonstop rhythm.  I imagine radiating the energy of love to my heart and I say thank you."

I continue through out my body,  focusing my attention on each organ, acknowledging what it does for me, and I radiate love to it and thank it.  At times I notice a response from a body part.  I have felt my pancreas shudder, my pelvic bones vibrate, my lungs more fully expand.  These responses have been the stimulus for me to continue my love and appreciation meditations.  I love experiencing the feeling that I am communicating directly with my cells.

Many people have used visualization and guided imagery as a tool for improving the health the body. It is an ancient technique, , used by Shamans and modern day healers.    I know of  many stories of cancer patients using visualization to help their bodies rid themselves of cancer.

Our  mind, our imagination, our beliefs and our emotions are the most powerful aspects we have and we can use them to improve any condition.  We can create a placebo effect with our imagination.  The body  responds to beliefs and beliefs can bring about spontaneous healing of  even the most threatening types of disease.

My very first experiment with visualization and healing was many years ago when I had a plantars wart.  I began to imagine it gone while I bathed every night and in a short period of time it was!  My interest in self-healing techniques grew from that experience.

A neurosurgeon I once worked with told me about a patient he had who had a brain tumor and wanted to use visualization to treat the tumor.  She began to visualize a white light entering into her skull and removing the tumor.  Unfortunately for the patient, the tumor continued to grow and surgery had to begin.  The surgeon described how moved and surprised he was when he shaved her head prior to surgery and found a white spot on her skull in the area where the tumor was located.  He admitted he wondered how much she could have achieved in her self-healing technique if there had been more time for her to practice it.

We our much more powerful than we know and allow ourselves to be.  Our mind, attitude, emotions are the best tools we have available to promote health within our bodies.  I hope you will investigate the idea further for it has been powerful for many.

If you would like more information or help developing a personal guided meditation,please click on the Contact Me button located on the right side of your screen.

Health and well-being are our greatest assets.  May you enjoy yours to the fullest.

Image result for photos of beautiful scenery



Monday, March 2, 2015

Single Or Joined

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Have You Ever Told Your Bone Marrow It Is Loved?


I have and it was a remarkable experience!   Why would I take the time to send love to my bone marrow. Well, here is my story:

A year ago I went for a mammogram and was told I needed to have a breast ultrasound to look more closely at a spot in the upper outer quadrant of my left breast.  I went for the ultrasound and was unpleasantly surprised to hear that the spot looked suspicious.  A needle biopsy was recommended and was told it could be done within the next two days.  

When the radiologist said these words, and they were the only ones he spoke to me, I felt as if  they were not really spoken to me but more or less into thin air.    There wasn't any warmth or friendliness in his words, no real interest in me, at least that is the way it seemed.   I had the thought, "You know, the people at Starbuck's know me better than you. They at least ask my name so they can write it on my cup."   No one, neither tech nor doctor, offered  a kind or understanding word about my situation.  I felt, metaphorically, that I had been slapped in the face and told, "Oh, that didn't hurt".    I was very aware that I needed to make a decision about the biopsy but was determined I would not be pressured in to making a decision right on the spot. 

Everything within me said don't proceed quickly with this.  "Take your time, think about this and determine if it is the right course for you," whispered by inner knowing.  You may be thinking, "What's the matter with her?   Why wouldn't she want to know right away if there was cancer in her breast."   

Actually, I have quite a few  reasons for not wanting to jump into it head first, or breast first in my case, without knowing more.   I didn't want to become a customer of the medical system and be over-treated for a problem that would be best left alone.  It could be something I would die with but not from if I left it alone.  I didn't want to assume the worst about the situation  nor did I want to interfere with a natural process that could be going on in my body that was working to heal and repair the  area.  However, I didn't want to die because of being  stupid either.  There was a lot to think about!

So what shall I do?   I knew I would take my time about deciding, that was a given, considering my natural, cautious, curious, nature.  I would take my time and learn as much as I could about complex cysts and I would also meditate and contemplate about the next right step for me without pressure from the medical system .  

The radiologist report described the area as hypoechoic, meaning that it reflected fewer  sound waves.  It was described as being wider than tall and an avascular lesion. It had slightly increased in size from a previous ultrasound.  The lesion could be a cyst, a fibroadenoma or cancer.  The radiologist did not offer to explain anything he saw on the ultrasound other than, statically there was a 20% chance  it could be cancer.   I would have welcomed him sharing his knowledge with me, explaining what he saw and why he thought it might be cancer.  Had he attempted to educate me,  I might have been comfortable enough to say yes to having the biopsy. ( One of the problems with being a nurse is you know a little bit about a lot of things but never as much as you would like.)  

As fate would have it, with in the next few months I became acquainted with Linda Christine Beauregard, author of the book, "I Gave Myself Cancer, I Can Take It Away," and Jean Sumner, founder of World Wellness Education, and I met Charles Majors, author of  "Cancer Killers" and Ursala Kaiser, author of
 "A Wealth of Health".  These people were eager to share their knowledge with me and each one of them had healed themselves of cancer by nutrition and alternative therapists.  I sat up and took notice!

Nutrition, health, and personal growth have always been subjects that interest me and I was ripe and ready to learn more.  I have a great deal of respect for the intelligence of my body, after all it, breathes me with out me doing a thing, and it digests food and eliminates without a passing thought from me.  That inner intelligence has taken  care of me for sixty four years.   I was not about to start mistrusting it now, nor was I about to turn against it by having needles, poisons, or radiation administered by a system that focuses on disease rather than health without my being fully informed.

I have made eye contact with the Grim Reaper about three times in my life and have brushed the sleeve of his garment even more than a few times so I feel very blessed to still be here and I want to be here for a lot longer.   I trust my intellect, my imagination and my intuition to guide me through this process.  I was willing to take charge of my life  and I began  to make some much needed changes.  

Feeding  and cleaning  the cells is the short version of how to promote health and prevent disease so  I switched to eating more organic foods,  more raw foods, purified water and lots of it, lots of green drinks, herbs to support my immune system, a daily meditation and guided imagery practice, detoxification of the body with food, water, coffee enemas, herbs, dry brushing,  and increased exercise.  

While sitting in my daily meditation practice of sending love to all the organs in my body, I had an unexpected experience.  I felt them respond!  I am not speaking metaphorically here.  My pancreas actually fluttered, the bones of my pelvis rattled as I sent thoughts of appreciation to my bone marrow!  My heart swelled and caused tears of gratitude to stream down my face. 

I know the mind is in the body, in every cell,  but I didn't know that you could cultivate an intimate relationship with your organs.   They know when the mind is flooding them with love, when they are being ignored and when they are being neglected.  I am forever changed by this simple practice of sitting quietly in meditation and sending appreciation to my body. 

I am humbled by this awareness and by the realization that I have sent many uncaring, negative  messages to my body through the years.  I grew up in an atmosphere of neglect, abandonment and rejection and I have told myself the story of being un-lovable over and over again.   I did not know how to love, nurture, soothe, or comfort myself until my breast started  asking for my attention.  Imagine all that my cells have overheard.

I knew the happiest time of my life was when I was a new mother.  It was wonderful holding someone I loved so much in my arms and feeding them at my breast (I have two children).  I was filled with love and concern, and demonstrated very caring behaviors toward them.  I breast fed them during a time when it wasn't popular, made my own baby food, and wouldn't let any harmful substance  near them if I could help it.  Ask the smokers around me if they remember my admonishments?    I was protective,  diligent, and determined when it came to taking care of them.  

The time has come in my life when I must show that same amount of care and concern for myself that I did my babies.  Today I am more mindful of the critical thoughts and I will stop them and tell another story. However, I am a work in progress and I fall short more than I like.  I want to nurture and care for myself in the same manner I did my babies and I want to consider it a privilege to do this just as I felt as a new mother.

A woman's breast symbolizes loving, nurturing, motherly love,  sensuousness and softness.  It is nestled right beside the heart; the organ that symbolizes love.  Love is the medicine I need more than anything else.   During  my life there were many times I felt unsupported.  Now I am looking at life  differently.  I see that support is the basic fabric of life.  I can see it in my own body.  I have two eyes, two ears, two lungs, two kidneys, each one  supporting the other.  Really there isn't  any part of the body that isn't supported by the other parts.  They are all interconnected by an amazing feedback loop. We have one heart but it has four chambers. Isn't that wonderful?  We are sitting in an ocean of love and support and often can't experience it!

When I thought I was unsupported it was only because I was not fully aware of all that is.  I've been near death, had heartbreaks, and  lonely times but life has always supported me through those times.    I am very grateful to be awakened to my ability to love and my lovableness.  My heart just fluttered and my eyes well up.  Ahh the feeling of gratitude.  What a wonderful thing!  

My next step is uncertain but I will proceed in the direction that I believe is right for me.  I will continue to work at loving and supporting myself  and looking forward to the journey that lies ahead
To be continued. 


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Using Joy to Deflect Fear

This spring I faced a very stressful situation and used joy to deflect my fears and anxiety.

The radiologist told me there was a suspicious area on my screening mammogram.  Well, this was not news I wanted to receive!  To make matters worse,  I was told it would be two weeks before I could get a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound in order to have a more definitive view of the area.

I wondered how I would get through the next two weeks with out stressing myself out knowing I could potentially be told I had breast cancer.  I didn't like having to wait this long but I did like having time to work with my mind and emotions while I waited for the final diagnosis.  I wanted to create a state within myself that could accept whatever life handed to me without being overwhelmed with fear and I wanted to be free of anxiety and worry while I waited for the upcoming tests.

During this same time period,  I was in the process of learning several songs which I would be singing with the choir I was part of  and I decided I would use this  to create more joy  in me and deflect anxiety and worry. Nothing brings me more joy than singing with the choir so it was the perfect choice for me.


All my spare time was used to practice the songs we were working on.  One piece I was working on was a song  I wrote and our music director had invited me to sing it during our Sunday church service and one piece was one I would be singing with two other women at an annual talent show.  

All this could not have happened at a more perfect time.  My mind could stay focused on the things I loved and my time would not be spent in worry.  I spent the entire two weeks singing as often as I could and I allowed joy to fully awaken  in me and with mindfulness I sent this this joy into every cell of my body, affirming I was whole and well.

The morning I went for the diagnostic studies I took all my music with me because I knew I would have time to work on it while I waited.  I wanted to keep my mind focused and keep my joyful state active.   I sang my heart out as I sat in the tiny room waiting for the doctor to come and tell me her findings.   I had pre-paved my calmness during this day by cultivating a state of joy during the previous two weeks. Not once did I give into fear!

When the doctor and the tech entered the room they both had very solemn expressions on their faces and I thought to myself,  " they really should have more positive expressions when they deliver good news to people."  I had convinced myself it would be good news and their sour expressions did not phase me!  And it was good news! There was no indication of cancer!

Surely, they thought it strange when they walked into the room and saw this woman, who was waiting for a possibly very serious diagnosis to be delivered,  sitting there beaming with joy.  Believe me when I tell you I was beaming!  Not only was singing keeping me in a joyful state but a friend  surprised me and showed up to be with me during this time.  I could not have been happier.  I could feel my joy radiating out into the room. They must have felt it too.

Did my refusal to give in to worry and fear affect my outcome?  I believe it did.  I believe I could have made myself ill, even create cancer,  during those two weeks by worrying and living in fear every moment. Our minds and emotional states creates the medium the cells of our body reside in and those states promote either illness or health.

I am very grateful for the outcome I had and grateful for the knowledge I have of the power of the minds affect on the body.  

May all be well and at peace.

Susan

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Recipe For Releasing Emotional States

Here is a recipe you are sure to benefit from:  "Recipe for Releasing Emotional States From Subconscious Mind".

Sometimes we get stuck in a painful emotional pattern  when painful memories are activated in the mind by circumstances that remind us of some past event.  These unpleasant emotional events are sometimes hard to shack without some prodding on our part.  Here is a method for releasing the emotional charge and finding some relieve.   If you give it a try, I would love feedback on your results.





1.  Affirm the  presence of  Love, of God,  Divine love, or Wisdom  (whatever works for you)  3 times.

2. Affirm memories are powerless to disturb you because of this Divine Presence.

3. Declare aloud:  I know release the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes that are causing ________________________.  Tell your subconscious to revel the the memories causing this attitude.

4. Write on a sheet of paper:   I now release these error thoughts,  I let them go;  and I allow them to be dissolved for all time and  in all directions.

5. Sit quietly for a short time and then write down short phrases of the  thoughts, feelings, and attitudes attached to the memories.  Do not write facts, write your feelings and do not reread.  Cover each phrase you write with a clean sheet of paper so you don't reread.

6. When no more memories come,  tear the paper to shreds while repeating:  I now release these errors; I loose them; I let them go ; and I let the dissolve into nothingness, for all time and  in all directions.

7. Now burn the paper in a suitable receptacle.  Watch the flames while declaring aloud:  These error thoughts are now consumed by  Love, by God,  by Wisdom, etc, . The energy is released to be reused in a new and better form NOW.  Repeat the statement as long as the burning continues.

8.When reduced to ashes say a prayer of thanksgiving for your freedom from the errors of the past .  Thank you, God, Divine One, Subconscious mind, (whatever works for you)  for my freedom from the mistakes of the past and the results of the mistakes of the past.

9. Make an affirmation that  claims your good:  I now attract and enjoy ________________.

10. When any thoughts about this reoccur state:  I have no more need for that thought.  I  deactivate it and release the energy NOW.

11.Replace the dismissed thought with a positive statement :  I am poised and centered in peace, love, forgiveness, security, strength, beauty, success,  etc.    My soul is undisturbed by anyone or any circumstance, past or present.

12.  If the mental pattern continues, repeat burning process.  Some emotional states may require 3 burnings.





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How Meditation Changes the Brain




The information about meditation is  from a recent email I received from Luminosity.  I practice meditation because of the known benefits and recommend it to anyone who seeks greater peace, insight, health, and well-being.   I also recommend the  brain training exercises at Luminosity.  If you have not tried them, go to Lumosity.com and sign up for their free training.   It is great fun and helps improve your memory.

For more information on meditation and its benefits,  I recommend the following books:
Super Brain - Chopra and Tanzi
The Mindfulness Solution - Siegel                            
Real Happiness - Salsberg
How to Meditate - Chodron
Meditation for Beginners - Kornfield     

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"A new study out of Brown University has found that a form of mindfulness meditation known as MBSR may act as a "volume knob" for attention, changing brain wave patterns.
What is MBSR?
Originally developed by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) is based on mindfulness meditation techniques that have been practiced in some form or another for over two millennia. The 8-week MBSR program still follows some of the same principles of the original Buddhist practice, training followers to focus a "spotlight of attention" on different parts of their body. Eventually, it is hoped, practitioners learn to develop the same awareness of their mental states.

In the last 20 years, MBSR and a similar practice called mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have been included in an increasing number of healthcare plans in the developed world. Some studies have shown that these practices can reduce distress in individuals with chronic pain and decrease risk of relapses into depression.

In this study, Brown University researchers wanted to investigate whether MBSR could have a broader application beyond the clinical realm. Could MBSR impact the alpha brain waves that help filter and organize sensory inputs, improving attentional control?
Study design
Researchers divided the study’s 12 healthy adult participants into two groups: a test group that underwent MBSR training for 8 weeks, and a control group that did not. After 8 weeks, a brain imaging technique known as magnetoencephalography (MEG) was used to measure alpha wave patterns in participants.

While hooked up to the brain scanning equipment, participants felt taps on their hands and feet at random intervals. On average, those who trained with MBSR demonstrated faster and greater alpha wave changes in response to these taps. These alpha wave surges indicated that participants were better able to quickly focus attention on the relevant body parts.
How alpha waves affect cognition
Alpha rhythms help filter irrelevant sensory inputs in the brain. Without proper filtering, the ability to carry out many basic cognitive operations can be crippled.

Imagine the simple task of backing a car out of the driveway. In order to reach the street safely, you must hold your destination in mind while steering and ignoring distractions from every modality: news on the radio, children playing at the end of the block, an itch on your foot, the glare of the sun in your eyes. Most people filter out these distractions subconsciously — but should irrelevant stimuli distract you, backing out can become a difficult ordeal.

This Brown University study is in line with other research on meditation, confirming previous findings that link enhanced attentional performance and fewer errors in tests of visual attention with meditation. While it’s still too early to declare meditation a cure-all for everything from attentional control to chronic pain, it’ll be fascinating to see what future research uncovers about this millennia-old tradition’s impact on the brain.