Can You Teach Your Mind to Smile?

Posted On March 19, 2021

“How do I take the inner peace I experience during meditation, and carry that calm peaceful spirit into the rest of the day?” It’s a question many people ask—and one I also struggle with.

 

Take, for example, the other day. My prayer time with God was powerful. I felt the Creator embrace me and offer words of wisdom to help me resolve a problem. I sat in awe as I watched the dawn explode into brilliant yellow hues. Outside my window, the robins whistled songs of praise and glory.

 

 

 

But then I showered, dressed, and collided into the rest of the day. The computer crashed. The vet called to tell us our puppy had a parasite, and my wife threw out her back.

 

My shoulders screamed with stress as the day’s tensions continued to mount. By the time I left for work, I wanted to shout, “I hate my life!”  I grumbled into the car, slammed the door, and got ready to face another battalion of stress monsters waiting for me at the office.

 

 

I recalled the peacefulness of my morning experience. Where had that gone? Why did the realities of life erase that serenity so quickly?

 

 

 

 

 “There’s got to be a ‘bridge’ that lets the peaceful spirit I feel during meditation flow into the active part of my day,” I ranted at God.

 

 

 

 

The Split-Brain

 

A few days later, the Creator answered my heavenly plea.

 

I stumbled upon Nobel Prize winner Dr. Richard Sperry’s “split-brain” studies.

 

According to Sperry and the teachings of the EOC Institute, our brains have two hemispheres: the left and the right. Like a dominant hand, most people favor one side of their brains over the other.

 

Left-brained people are more logical, practical, and analytical. They’re often better at math and science.

 

Right-brained people are more imaginative, intuitive, and sensual. They often excel at philosophy and the arts.

 

 

 

 

However, if we fail to develop both sides of our minds, we become “brain imbalanced.” We operate with half a brain.

 

According to the EOC Institute:

 

“Like a tennis player with one big, strong, and coordinated arm and one scrawny, weak and uncoordinated arm—because our dominant brain hemisphere gets so much action, most of us have ‘over-strengthened’ one side of our noggin while ‘neglecting’ the other.”

 

Through brain imaging studies, Dr. Sperry’s research showed that successful individuals, creative people, and those who achieved high levels of sustained inner peace used both brain halves in a balanced and integrated fashion. They learned how to balance their brains.

 

The Bridge to Inner Peace

 

According to Sperry and the EOC, a regular practice of morning meditation combined with mindfulness practice during the active part of the day harmonizes our brain halves. These practices serve as a bridge between our brain regions.

 

When we engage  in meditation and mindfulness, we slow the mind. We strengthen the nerve fibers that connect our left and right brains so they operate as one unit. We experience “whole brain synchronization.”

 

This opens the door to amazing benefits: excellent mental health, inner peace, better focus, clearer thinking, super creativity, and more.

 

 

 

 

Making It Real

 

 

Inspired by Sperry and the EOC’s research, I continue to begin each day with at least twenty minutes or more of meditation. But, now instead of crashing into the rest of the day and letting life’s ups and downs shake my inner peace, I practice mindfulness.

 

During the day, I stop for a few moments to connect with my breath. I take a heart-pause by placing my hands on my chest and feel the slow beating of my heart. My brain slows. The body relaxes. My overactive mind quiets. It’s as if the nerve strands that crisscross  between my two-sided brain shake hands on the bridge of inner peace. My whole-brain sighs. “Thanks. I needed that.” My brain smiles.

 

And when a tsunami of overwhelming tasks and problems drowns me, instead of overreacting and coming-out-sideways, I’m teaching myself to stop, look up at the heavens, and let mindfulness bring me back to the natural state of balance with which God created us.

 

 

 

 

Practicing Mindfulness

 

Understanding the science is helpful. But to experience the transformation and inner peace a balanced mind offers, we have to practice the gentle discipline of mindfulness to resync our brains.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve discovered lots of websites and free aps to jumpstart a mindfulness practice.

 

One site is Mindful.org.

 

The website suggests the top five free mindfulness apps you can download.  My favorite is Smiling Mind, because I love its name.  It offers several short and practical exercises I  plug into whenever I need a mindfulness break. The meditation,  Are you still breathing? reminds me to stop and connect with the  breath to reground myself.  Another SOS Meditation, helps me release stress so I can operate from a calmer, stronger place.  The App takes a secular approach, but I integrate it into my Christian tradition as part of how God is helping me live as a whole person.

 

 

You Can Teach Your Mind to Smile

 

 

Wouldn’t it be just like the Creator to gift us with balanced minds along with the tools of daily meditation and mindfulness to sustain inner peace?

 

 

This week, develop or continue your morning or evening meditation. Then practice mindfulness during the day to balance your brain so you can live into wholeness.

 

 

Teach your mind to smile.

 

 

 

 

—brian j plachta

brianplachta.com

 

PS—for some guided meditations to help you engage in mindfullness througout the day–click the link below and head over to my website:

 

 

 

Written by Brian J. Plachta

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