I’ve been hit with a cold and with a pile of high school applications for my eighth grade daughter, so it’s going to be short this week (though I do have a blog post on the Huffington Post today, if you want to check that out).
I’ve been listening to a series on “integral spirituality” called Beyond Awakening and particularly enjoyed the conversation with Rick Hansen, a neuropsychologist who also teaches meditation. Here’s the nugget I’m taking away from him: Hansen says that our brains are hardwired to imprint negative events more quickly and effectively than positive events. (It was important that our ancestors learn to be afraid of tigers if they wanted to pass on their genes, so we’re wired to always be on the lookout for tigers and other threats.) This makes it easy for us to focus on the criticism we received today and forget the compliment, for example, thus getting us stuck in negative patterns of thinking. Hansen suggests that when something good happens—we notice something beautiful, receive a compliment, receive a warm greeting from someone—we pause for several seconds and really take it in so that makes as much of an impact as the less pleasant things that happen. I’m finding it’s a wonderful practice. Walking in the woods this morning with a friend, we had to stop several times to marvel at the light in the trees, which we might otherwise have glanced at and then forgotten.
Hansen also says we should be using headsets with our cell phones instead of putting their signal up near our brains, but that may be another blog post.
Amazing that I just listened to a lecture by Rick Hanson too! Learning that negative interactions have 5 times more power, than positive interactions helps me to understand why even small problems or arguments (between couples, neighbors, and countries) trigger fights and wars. I like the idea of savoring the next positive interaction so that it has more potency. Thanks!