Countless studies have been done on the medicinal effects of meditation, specifically in reducing stress-related ailments and psychosomatic diseases. Harvard psychologist Dr. Herbert Benson, claims that 60-90% of visits to the doctor’s office are stress related. He believes that the neuro-chemical effects of meditation oppose the “fight-or-flight” mechanism, due to the effects meditation has on the autonomic nervous system. He calls this effect that meditation and prayer have on the brain, the “relaxation response”. The amygdala that is part of the limbic system, controls this response. This is also the part of the brain that is associated with religious faith.
The psychological effects of deep relaxation strengthen the effect that mind and body have upon each other. It also supports a theory that we have set-points and feedback loops in moods and mental states. Drug addiction centers have been using various relaxation techniques to mediate in confronting the acute attachment to drugs or alcohol and to assist the addict in recognizing the ability of mindfulness in countering his cravings.
THE TWO MINDS
We have two minds. The conscious mind and the subconscious mind, sometimes also called the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the “awake-mind” – which is only used when we are awake. The subconscious mind goes on working 24 hours of every day. It is not a physical entity, and thus not located anywhere in the physical body. It cannot be seen with the naked eye. It cannot be measured, it cannot be weighed and it cannot be taken apart for scientific research and study. Gilbert Ryle, the author of “The concept of mind”, talks about the human body as an engine that is governed by another engine inside it. IT IS PART OF YOUR IMMORTAL BODY, as considered in chapter two.
Dr. M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author of many books, says when he begins to work with a new patient, he frequently draws a large circle and at the circumference he draws a small niche. Then he points to the inside of the niche and says to the new patient: “That presents your conscious mind. All the rest of the circle, 95 percent or more, represents your unconscious. If you work long enough and hard enough to understand yourself, you will come to discover that this vast part of your mind, of which you now have little awareness, contains riches beyond imagination”.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT THE SUBCONSCIOUS MIND
It operates like a modern day computer, but has a storage capacity and memory system that outdistances ordinary computers in general. The subconscious mind is a personal computer, and the authentic-you is the computer-operator. It records everything that happens in the personal, sensory and intellectual world – from the day of conception until the day of death.It takes directions from the conscious mind and follows these directions implicitly. It is called the world’s most obedient servant. It can only say “yes”.It has no limitations, only individuals have. This will be discussed under visualization.
Every thought becomes part of the never-failing memory system of the subconscious mind. EACH INIVIDUAL IS WHAT HE THINKS. We ought to be careful and selective with our choice of thoughts. We alone chooses our thoughts and our thoughts create and shape our world.
The subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and a day-dream. If a person imagines himself driving the car of his dreams down the road, the subconscious mind accepts it as reality and not merely as a day-dream. For this reason, visualization is as effective and successful as it is.
It has no past and no future, it only has a present tense. When we do visualizations and affirmations, we do it only in the present tense and we only see the end result, as though something has already happened. It is the possessor of extraordinary knowledge. Dr. Scott Peck , based on Carl Jung, uses the analogy of the subconscious mind as a rhizome, an incredibly deep and hidden root system that nourishes the tiny plant, the conscious mind, sprouting visibly from it.The subconscious mind can be reprogrammed positively, by using two remarkably powerful and potent methods: visualization and affirmation.