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Training The Brain to Smile

Written by Gede Prama

As seen here and there, diseases and pains that associated with the mind are actually thriving very fast. In the language of a number of medical friends, diseases in the past were mostly caused by eating the wrong food.  In today’s world, most diseases come from wrong way of thinking.  Not only pain around the head associated with wrong thoughts, heartburn, diabetes, heart, digestion problems, almost all diseases have something to do with a mind that is not beautifully trained.  Human brain expert Dr.  Rudolph Tanzi from Harvard and author of the wonderful book Super Brain, explicitly mentions that the brain can be a very dangerous poison, it can also be a very healing medicine.  It depends on how smart a person trains his/her own brain.  In a certain section of the book Super Brain, it is clearly written: “He whose left brain is too strong, and does not pay attention to the right brain, will have difficulty in entering deep sleep”.  Whereas deep sleep (delta sleep) is a very important requirement in this era so that a person can recover both biologically, psychologically and spiritually.

Dr.  Jill Bolte Taylor is another brain expert from Harvard who understands the brain from the outside as well as from the inside.  Understand the brain from the outside because she spent years doing research regarding the human brain in the laboratory.  Understand the brain from the inside because Jill had experience herself a stroke deases for 8 years.  After that she can heal herself.  And back to normal.  In a number of her presentations on youtube, this amazing woman repeatedly share messages about the importance of maintaining a balance between the left brain, which is high in logic and the right brain, which is high in feelings.  Without this kind of balance, any human being can easily attack by danger.  At the same time becoming more far from the inner Light.  Watch your inner side when you hear the word dog.  If what appears in the brain is the letters d, o and g, it is a sign that someone has a stronger left brain.  If what appears in the brain is the face of God’s creatures who is very faithful, there is a possibility that your right brain is stronger.  Pay attention to what happens inside when you enter a beautiful garden, for example, the brain immediately counts the number of trees that are planted there, that is the hallmark of left-brained people.  If the brain feels at ease whenever it sees a tree without being interested in counting the sum of it, chances are you have a stronger right brain.  Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is very clear and decisive about this, those who are strong at their left brain, learn to balance yourself with activities that can strengthen the right brain.  From writing poetry, gardening, to caring for animals.  Those who are too strong with the right brain, learn to balance yourselves with logic, systematics and numbers.

The author of the beautiful book “How emotions are created”, Dr.  Lisa Fieldman is right in concluding that emotions (feelings) are the result of dynamic interactions between the brain, body and environment.  And the brain plays the most important role in giving birth to both negative and positive emotions.  If the brain is very critical and very negative, everywhere he/she goes will be easily visited by negative emotions such as bad mood, anger and sadness.  When the brain is trained in a positive-holistic way, it is less likely that a person is visited by negative emotions.  Dr.  Rudolph Tanzi once shared stories on youtube, emotions are also the fruit of brain activity.  If the brain is highly dictated by fear and desire, emotions tend to swing more extreme.  When fear and lust are relatively more controlled, emotional swings will be more calm and will cause fewer ripples.  That is the general view how scientists today conclude the importance of the brain.  In the spiritual world is also similar, without intelligence to train the brain, the spiritual path can be very dangerous.  There are many examples.  But it is not good to talk about someone else’s spiritual downfall.  It is not beautiful.

Training the brain in everyday life

Learning from this, friends are invited to learn to train the brain.  One of the world-class brain experts who clearly and unequivocally suggest the importance of exercising the brain is Dr.  Rudolph Tanzi: “What we call as pain is the result of an untrained brain.  What we call as peace is the result of persisting in a healthy distance from brain activity.  Especially by being a witness who is full of harmony.”  That is how he concluded on YouTube.  Inspired by this, let’s reflect on some practical steps in everyday life, how the brain should be trained.  Here are practical steps to train the brain that Guruji has been doing for years.  As a result, the body is relatively healthy, relationships with close people are also relatively healthy, the journey of mental growth is also relatively safe.

  1. Guide yourself to always be balanced.  It is impossible for darkness to be present once light is present, pain and disease will visit less if one grows in balance.  Not only the balance of the left brain and right brain, but also balance in every aspect of life.  From a balance between making yourself and others happy, a balance between work and family, material and spiritual, etc.  While do not forget, long term habits very convincingly participate in shaping the brain.
  2. Have a healthy conversation inside.  Many psychologists who specialize in internal conversation as well as brain experts agree that what one person says, thinks and does for years is the result of imitating another person.  Especially in childhood and adolescence.  Because that is the case, immediately train yourself to have a healthy inner conversation.  Learn not to blame yourself and others, learn to make friends with yourself and life.  View past mistakes as a source of learning.  Use it as a guide towards maturity.  It is highly recommended to look at everything in a more positive-holistic way.  In the world of meditation there are gathas (inner-whispered prayers).  Guruji has been doing it for more than 10 years.  The results are very useful.  And among all the conversations inside, the healthiest is deep gratitude.
  3. Observe how the brain responds when it sees (hears) about the people who once hurted us.  If the brain sees those person as an enemy worthy of revenge, or even preparing revenge steps, that is a sign that the brain is far from healthy.  And even very dangerous.  Once the brain begins to see that the people who once hurted are actually also feel hurt inside, that is a sign that the brain is starting to get healthier.  It is even healthier if you can forgive those people who have hurt you in the past.  The healthiest sign is when the brain can conclude, those people who once hurt us are actually angels in disguise, which are very helpful towards your soul growth.  This is a wonderful brain remedy: “When everything seems wrong, it is a sign that someone needs to learn.  When the fault is no longer on others, but just in their own inner view, that is a good sign that the learning has started.  Once nothing looks wrong anymore, everything is beautiful as it is, the learning has complete.”
  4. Monitor the quality of sleep from one night to another.  Guruji was given a watch by the Compassion family that can monitor a number of health aspects, one of them are the quality and quantity of sleep.  As been seen and experience by Guruji, the quality of sleep not only reflects the quality of nutrients that enter through the mouth and mind, but also tells the quality of the brain from day to day.  The brain tends to grow healthy if it sleeps at least 7 hours a day.  Even then, the element of deep delta sleep seems to be better from onr night to another.
  5. Learn to be close to nature.  A number of old holy books mention: “Nature nurture”.  Nature also give guidance.  Zen people even refer to nature as scriptures without letters.  The holy book without letters.  As someone who has been a gardener for more than 10 years, have seen and felt through personal experience, direct contact with nature not only trains the brain in a healthier way, but also guides the soul to find balance and connectedness,
  6. Cover your inner soul hole.  Everyone has holes in their own soul that must be covered in old age.  Since I spent too much time with books and reading at a young age, in old age the soul yearns for direct contact with nature and life.  That is why the Compassion family has 3 service centers.  I learn to be in contact with mother nature not only through the garden, but also by making calligraphy paintings on the white sands of the Ashram every day.  Every time I want to pray, I always take the time to make calligraphy paintings on the white sand at the Ashram.  Slowly but convincingly, it helps in training the brain to be healthier.
  7. Keeping the environment clean and healthy.  No matter how mature a person is, if the surrounding environment is dirty and dark for years, over time this condition can effect the brain to change.  For that reason, keep the surrounding environment so that it is always clean and tidy.  Especially because not only does the brain shape the environment, the environment also shapes the pattern of the brain
  8. Healthy exercise also determines whether or not the brain is healthy.  For friends who are starting to age (over 50 years old), it is worth reflecting on the findings of the Harvard Medical School world-class medical journal: “People are in a lot of danger in old age because their bodies are less flexible and less balanced”.  That’s why Guruji does centering yoga twice a day and energy alignment movement.  It helps to make the brain and mental growth healthier.
  9. Since stress is a force that has destroyed countless number of people, it is wise to maintain the quality and quantity of stress in daily life.  The point is simple, maintain a balance between your desire and your own ability.  When inside feels tense, make the desire closer to your actual ability.  Especially if it is burning inside, learn to see everything is perfect as it is.
  10. Gratitude is very important.  The suggestion of gratitude does not only appear in old holy books, but also enters the realm of psychology and medicine.  That is why, on the Compassion family social media network there is no day when we did not share the importance of being grateful.  Every day friends are invited to be grateful.  At least grateful for being made more mature by their life challenges.  Grateful for a healthy body and family who are save.  Grateful that there are still people who are interested in finding the Light.
  11. Bodhicitta prayers.  The world of psychology and healing has long emphasized the importance of prayer.  Praying for all beings to be happy is highly recommended.  Not only for one to grow from a small-self to a Great-self, but it also help one experience connectedness and balance.  While praying anywhere, it is highly recommended to pray like this: “May I be able to cause less pain to the others, may I make as much happiness as possible for the others”.  It is like a medicine that has been taken for decades, this prayer is very healing for Guruji.
  12. Fill the daily life with an act of kindness is a very effective brain medicine.  In the world of neuro-science (the brain), there are experts who bravely conclude like this: “Not only does the brain form other organs of the body, but the consistent and repeated body movements also affect the  form of the brain.”  If a person practices love and kindness for years without any day off, the brain will turn out to be much more balanced between the left brain and the right brain.
  13. As for meditation healing the brain, that is a very old story.  Which is now justified by science and technology.  It even involves an EEG and MRI brain wave measuring machine.  Especially if the object of meditation is the gap between two breaths (as the Compassion family shares).  Its healing and transforming effects on the brain can be very convincing.  For more details, please watch the meditation guidance videos that the Compassion family has shared over the years.  If friends need a mantra, try this mantra over and over again: “My smile is meant to change the world, not the world that can changes my smile”.

Photo caption: The atmosphere of the Avalokiteshvara Ashram where Guruji lives in North Bali this morning.

About the author

Gede Prama

Gede Prama started his spiritual journey through a dialogue with his symbolic Guru in a village at the north of Bali. The journey is then being enriched with his experiences of studying abroad, his meetings with the world greatest spiritual Gurus: His Holiness Dalai Lama, The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as Professor Karen Armstrong; and also being deepened by his intense meditation practices.

Despite the fact that he was once a CEO of a large corporation with thousand of employees, and was traveling abroad frequently for the purpose of teaching, yet, being deeply moved by the Bali bombing incident in 2002, he then decided to leave everything and went back to his home island.
He has never leave Bali for the past few years. In fact, he rarely leaves the silence of the forest where he lives, except for the purpose of teaching at the sacred sites within Bali.

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