This was a milestone for Milenka. For the first time ever she listened to rap music and really enjoyed it. Gone were the stereotypes and preconceptions.
But it was not always that way.
Tuesday indeed was a special day for the Ivanov family. For at 3:04 pm on the 10th of May, 1983, their second daughter was born. Weighing in at only 3.1 kg, Milenka (the small one) seemed to be an ideal name for this new bundle of joy.
The Ivanov family lived in the small town of Lipetsk, located along the Voronezh River, some distance southeast of Moscow. Although renowned for their mud baths and visiting Russian dignitaries, Borislav (Milenka’s father) worked at the metal stamping plant.
From an early age Milenka had a knack for making friends. In preschool, kindergarten and later in High School her jovial attitude, bright outlook on life, and her ability to relate to people made her an ideal companion. She had an air about her; one would almost say a magical attraction.
When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 she was only six years old. Too young to fully understand what had happened. But by High School had greatly benefited from the opening up of the Soviet Union to the rest of the world.
Although capitalism and democracy pushed forward in starts and fits, Russian society opened up to Western and Eastern ideas. Religious missionaries from around the globe arrived eager to entice and convert the population. The Russian Orthodox Church had a great revival and the vast majority of the townsfolk once again attended services.
When Buddhism made its way into Lipetsk it was quickly labeled a “cult” by the locals. But several brave souls, including Milenka, were open minded and eager to learn new things. She embraced mindfulness, compassion, and several forms of Vipassana meditation. She practiced every day.
When she first heard rap music several years ago she felt repulsed by the lyrics, which seem to degrade women and glamorize inappropriate sexual activity. That impression (samskara) stuck with her for years and prompted Milenka to turn the radio off whenever that music came on.
But today Milenka added rap music to her list of favorites. How did that happen?
Several years of meditation had softened her personality and she had become less judgmental. She still recognized some lyrics as being detrimental to life, but she could see underneath that and move to the rhythm and beat of the music. And once past that initial mental barrier Milenka sought out and found a wealth of wholesome and uplifting rap songs. Experience no longer offered her a stark choice between right or wrong. It simply is. She just naturally gravitated toward uplifting and growth promoting activity. The samskaras had been dissolved.
Viewed from a psycho/physiological standpoint Milenka’s mind underwent real changes.
Akasha, which is often referred to as the elemental either, is acted upon by Prana to create the human aspects of body and mind. Prana is the life force of the universe, with its localized manifestation as human breath.
Independent of which school of philosophy you choose to follow, it is general accepted that there are various manifestations/functions of prana and mind.
Functions of the vital energy prana
* Prana – draws atmospheric air into the system
* Apana – throws out of the body what is not needed
* Samana – Draws in and carries food to very part of the body
* Vyana – Causes very part of the body to keep its shape
* Udana – redirects the currents of life back to their centers, the heart and brain.
Functions of the mind
* Pramana – the means of knowledge;
perception (Pratyaksha – 5 sense organs)
* Viparyaya – false knowledge;
ignorance (Vidya, Tamas)
egoism (Asmita Moha)
retention (Raga, Mahamoha)
repulsion (Tamisra, Dvesha)
tanacity of life (Abhinivesha, Andhatamisra)
* Vikalpa – imagination
* Nidra – sleep
* Smriti – memory
It’s also very interesting to note the relationship between the organs of action, sensory perception, and the essential elements of creation. This is how it all comes together.
|Jnanendriyas – senses||Tanmatras – sensations||Karmendriyas – organs of action||Mahabhutas – physical elements|
There are many studies that demonstrate changing brain wave patterns over time due to the practice of meditation.
|Brain wave type||Frequency (Hz)||Location||Description|
|Delta||0 – 4||Frontal in adults and posterior in children
The highest amplitudes wave
|Sleep. But in meditation this activity correlates to increased experience of the unconscious mind.|
|Theta||4 – 8||Various||Relaxed attention; associated with meditative and creative states|
|Alpha||8 – 13||Posterior regions of both sides of the brain||Increased wakefulness and physical rest. Deeper meditation states create more alpha waves. Also the source of the spontaneous wondering of the mind in meditation.|
|Beta||13 – 30||Both sides of the brain, symmetrically distributed, frontal lobes||The alert and busy working brain|
|Gamma||30 – 1000||Somatosensory cortex||Active during sensory (taste, hearing, etc.) input, use of short term memory, and recognition of objects, cognitive or motor functioning. Increases during mindfulness meditation and/or intense focusing of the mind. Increased moral feeling and compassion. Higher frequency waves are produced by longer term meditators.|
|Mu||8 – 13||Sensorimotor cortex||Motor neurons at rest|
Since the 1970’s hundreds of scientific studies have shown the positive affects of meditation on the brain, heart and body.
In the fall of 2005 the Dalai Lama gave an inaugural address at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, DC. More than 10,000 neuroscientists attended.
The constitution of the mind determines which brain waves it can create, and at what intensity. As the constitution becomes more refined (through natural human evolution or the greatly accelerated process of meditation) the brain becomes more capable of creating intelligent focused thought. More of the brain participates in the construction of thought, feeling, perception, and cognitive thinking.
Milenka overcame her distaste for rap music without purposely trying to do it. It just happened naturally through time as meditation softened and expanded her awareness and feelings.
We can spend years trying to overcome our various personal limitations. Everyone has different challenges. It’s better to address the root cause that allows human challenges to surface and become issues – the mind not functioning at its full potential.
By strengthening the brain/mind all aspects of human psychology/physiology are enhanced. Defeat the problem before it arises.
Lay the groundwork so that problems do not arise. Meditate every day to live life on the supreme level of eternal happiness and bliss.