Did you know that prayer and meditation can change the physical structure of your brain for the better?
A Well-Worn Path
Our Rev. Edward has given a great analogy about changing a thought or habit: Imagine that you walk through a field of tall grass on your way somewhere every day. There is a well-worn path that you take each time without really thinking about it.
Then one day you decide to go a different way. The tall grass springs right back up behind you as you pass through. But if you keep going that new way every time, eventually you wear a new path clear of grass all the way through the field.
Your brain works the same way. And this isn’t just a metaphor. The way we think affects our brains. When we think a thought or have a habit – good or bad – that we repeat day after day, that’s the well-worn path that takes little thought or effort. That’s a good thing for routine tasks like remembering how to drive, not to mention eat, walk, and so many other things we do every day!
Making a New Path in Your Brain
But when that well-worn path is a bad habit, then reaching for that cookie or cigarette or whatever, happens without our conscious participation. Pretty soon the whole bag of chips is gone and you wonder “How did that happen?” in the same way you sometimes “wake up” while driving and find yourself at your destination.
So changing that bad habit takes effort. You need to think about it, and resolve to choose the new way over and over again until you have worn a new path through the field. I’ve seen video of a new thought being formed where neurons that were connected disconnect and re-wire to other neurons in the brain. Pretty cool! (If I find it, I;ll add the link.)
“Neurons that fire together wire together.” Donald Hebb
This is where affirmative prayer can help.
New studies in neuro-science show that getting into a Delta brain wave state can help reprogram subconscious thoughts. In the relaxed state of prayer, you can slip in under the conscious radar to install new mental software. An affirmative prayer can actually start to wear that new path in the brain’s field. You strengthen the connections in your brain through repeated prayer and meditation.
“You can use the mind to change the brain to change the mind for the better.” Rick Hanson, PhD
How About You?
Do you find that prayer helps you change your mental or physical habits?
If you would like support and guidance in some inner re-wiring, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss whether spiritual coaching/ mentorship is right for you.