I chose to read this book because I have been a consistent daily meditator for close to 3 years. I have been practicing the art of meditation for a little over 5 years.
Russell Simmons who is the main author of this book has been a national meditation guru since the early 1990’s. He is one of the first mainstream African Americans that promoted meditation and yoga practices. I have learned a lot about meditation, but I was interested in his take on his why, his practices, and I desired to pick up extra information from his decades longer experience in practicing meditation.
At the conclusion of this book, I walked away knowing I had a good teacher who taught me meditation techniques that aligned with the teachings laid out by Russell Simmons. One of my biggest takeaways was the information I learned about the science of the brain and meditation that connected dots for me that I subconsciously felt, but I hadn’t been able to logically explain it.
I was also enlightened on many other mainstream individuals such as Rick Rubin, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Jackman, Lenny Kravitz, Rosie O’Donnell, Martin Scorsese, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z, Jam Master J, and Jerry Seinfeld who practice daily meditation, and attribute meditation to their successes.
“To the mind that is still, the universe surrenders.” When we still ourselves, the universe reveals the answers we seek. This has been one of the biggest benefits I’ve personally received through meditative practices. I have been inspired with some of my best ideas, creativity, and had answers revealed to questions during meditation.
We use our mind the most, but it’s the one area we spend the least amount of time working on. We dedicate time to go to the gym to work our physical bodies. We dedicate time for church or spiritual teachings to enhance our spirit, but how much time do we purposely dedicate to work on our minds? When we don’t properly maintain our minds, it can be an awkward place to dwell. Our mind is the fuel that empowers everything, but so many of us neglect the power of strengthening this muscle, but why?
Most people are unaware that in the same way we can become stronger by lifting weights, our brains important structures can become stronger through meditation. Did you know that we are not stuck with the brain we currently have? Research has shown that the more time we spend in stillness daily, we make significant impacts on how the brain functions.
Science of The Brain:
Cerebrum- largest part of the brain that’s divided into 2 hemispheres. The left side of our brain is tied to logical reasoning, language, and based thinking. The right side of our brain is connected to creative and emotional thinking. Kids mostly use their right side of their brains until we condition them not to.
Both sides of the brain are physically connected by a bridge known as the “corpus collosum”. As we progress in age, we regress to not using this bridge which synchronizes the left and right side of our brains. We tend to speak the words I am more left brained, or I am more right brained.
Science tells us that we all have the ability to utilize both sides of our brain. We have just been “conditioned to think” we are one or the other. This was a big “light bulb” moment for me as I have felt me become more creative over the last few years, but I didn’t think that me being dedicated on my meditative practices was a big influencer of this. What meditation does, is that it breaks down the wall that’s been callused around the “corpus collosum”, (bridge) and allows us to tap in and utilize “both sides” of our brains more consistently.
Meditation also has a positive improvement on the part of our brain that deals with our fight or flight part of our emotions known as the limbic brain. Guarding the front of the limbic brain is a small almond shaped object known as the “amygdala”. This structure assesses danger, and essentially sounds an alarm that releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These chemicals released when they’re really not needed, can cause fear and anxiety. Daily meditation strengthens these structures of our brain so they will not sound false alarms, and be a better responder to the situation it is faced with.
I can personally attest that meditation has aided me to have deep restfulness! I no longer take any sleeping aids, and I quickly fall to sleep at night and sleep soundly. I find this to be a big benefit because the iron prison bed with loud squeaky springs I sleep on is not the most comfortable bed in the world. The mattress is thin, and the pillow is covered in plastic similar to the plastic our grandparents use to cover their furniture when they didn’t want you sitting on their couch.
The deep restfulness is due to when we meditate, we decrease the “beta waves” in our brain, and increase our “theta and alpha” brain waves. Beta waves are responsible for our logical thinking and problem solving. So when we meditate, we are giving our logical “problem solving brain” a break! During that much needed break, we are increasing our alpha and theta waves that are connected to restfulness.
Did you know that even when we are sleeping, our brains “beta waves” are active, and even show up on REM sleep patterns which is known as our deepest sleep. Research shows beta waves are still active during our deep sleep, and this can contribute to us waking up feeling tired or anxious.
Consistently meditating can increase brain neuron connections, and make new connections which produce changes that leads to positive growth in our brain. The gray matter in our brain is responsible for memory, senses, and empathy. When the grey matter thickens, our brain changes for the better.
Meditation helps to build areas of our brain that gives our memory and emotions an advantage, and also shrinks the area that causes stress. Meditation is also very helpful with our children to help them to learn and develop faster logical reasoning that aids them in taking less risky behaviors.
“We are all physically awake during the day. Not so many of us, however, are present.” Over the last 6 years, I have been on a journey of being present. Over the last 3 years I have felt an upshift in my presence solely due to my intentional effort on being present. We do so many things unconsciously out of habit. The real work begins when we become conscious of our unconscious habits that we want to change. “True happiness lies in the process, not the results.”
Our daily lives can be so busy, it’s easy to confuse busyness with effectiveness. How many of us really enjoy being busy all the time? Have you ever considered “busyness an addiction”? Have you ever thought about how your busyness can keep you tormented in suffering? Suffering from what? Suffering from the inability to constructively and intentionally face your pains, anger, fears, and insecurities.
“We will not be punished for our anger, we will be punished by our anger”.
Anger creates hostility, unevenness, lower vibrating energy, anti-compassion. Meditation brings us joy through clarity, clairvoyant thoughts, less hostility, balance, higher vibratory frequencies, and compassion. A compassionate person is a strong person that is secure.
Meditation allows us to hear and see things clearly to “HELP US TO NOT STAY BUSY” distracted from reality, but rather to get busy, helping us build our new reality from within.
Success Through Stillness is a book I highly recommend you read if you have toyed with the idea of beginning to meditate. The universe is going through a collective shift despite what you see on the news channels. The human species is evolving through intentionally seeking the answers to the questions every soul subconsciously asks each of us in Earth school. What is my purpose? What is this life really about?
I know that meditation has opened the flood gates to the rewiring of my brains circuitry. I know that I think differently and act differently because of the way I have been training my mind. Life is an interesting journey, and meditation has been the GPS for my soul. I challenge you to enter your coordinates on the path that you desire, and let meditation be your spiritual guide.