Neuroplasticity is proving the importance of having a mindfulness practice. The scientific research is bringing to life the belief of mind over matter. We are no longer limited by an unchanging mind that carries genetic and circumstantial mental troubles forever. As Jonah Lehrer, a neuroscientist and writer, states, “Our DNA makes us without determining us. We can always impose our will onto our biology.”
For so long medicine has diagnosed people with mental illnesses or learning disorders that make them believe that’s who they are. They identify with the diagnosis and turn into the person the disorder tells them they are. This attitude prevents them from rising above their troubles. Barbara Arrowsmith-Young was born with several learning disabilities which left her unable to understand complex concepts in language, writing and reading backwards, and spatially unaware. Unsatisfied with the techniques that only taught her how to survive by avoiding tasks that were difficult for her, she developed exercises that forced her to delve into her deficiencies. With years of effort, she healed herself of her learning disabilities.
We do not have to accept the labels put on us by modern medicine forever. If you don’t like what a diagnosis has labeled you as, there are ways to rise above it. In 1998 it was finally accepted that regrowth occurs in the neurons in the brain which proves what George Eliot wrote in his book Middle March, “The mind is not cut in marble, it’s not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing.”
Mindfulness will not cure all of your ailments but it will start opening you to the possibilities of your mind. It will help you to observe how the outside world is affecting your internal one allowing you to pick and choose what you let in or let go. It will slowly help you to turn your brain into your best friend.