According to an article in The Huffington Post, neuroscientists have proven that meditation actively rewires our brains over long periods of time and creates neuroplasticity to make us more compassionate, joyful, and empathetic, and it also breaks down walls that prevent us from connection. It releases good feeling oxytocin to enable us to feel “one-ness.”
By changing the brain’s structure and functioning, we can make new neural connections, adapting positively in new ways.
Happiness is one example. Decreasing our brain’s propensity toward negativity and increasing our propensity toward positivity and hopefulness is another.
The interviewer asked the researcher, “Is meditation the only way to get to these points?” And the reporter replied the research has shown that it’s “only through meditation that we get these results.”
Stop the presses!
That’s not the only way. You don’t have to sit in a cave in the Himalayas for 10 years. You don’t have to move to Tibet and become a sheepherder. You don’t have to trade in your Zac Posen ready-to-wear for some ochre robes, smelling like patchouli. You don’t have to keep beating yourself up thinking you’ll never get there!
We can take a practice of meditation out into our very active and busy worlds on a daily basis. And when we do, not only will our lives improve, but we’ll begin to have awareness of where we get stuck in life.
When we become conscious of what we say to ourselves and wake up to our destructive, conditioned thoughts, and reboot them with new neural programming that not only becomes a practice of mindfulness meditation—but we’re also rewiring our brain!
So even when we don’t have everything we want—the perfect partner, the right TV show, the best agent in the world—through neural training we can still be happy.
All it takes is imprinting on our mind a new way of assessing our lives and the challenges that lie within it.
We say to ourselves, “The business sucks.” No it doesn’t. Why do we keep saying that? We say that because we’re often faced with rejections and eventually that becomes a habituated response to protect ourselves from being vulnerable. But the truth of the business is that it is, in actuality, full of opportunity to create and change people’s lives.
“I can’t get a break.” Yes you can. All it takes is one moment, one person, one agent, one director, one audition, one casting director to see your talent and respond to you and your life can change. That’s inspiring to know.
We just say these things because we have more access to negative patterns of thought because they’re on the neural groove we most often plug into.
Mindfulness meditation means imprinting our subconscious with new programming. Creating new beliefs that contradict the old beliefs we now hold. This will take some time. It has to be a practice—like going to the gym or acting class. By practicing, you get better.
Isn’t that exciting to know? Every audition, every job, every experience, every setback, and every victory is an opportunity to become more mindful, more aware, more compassionate, and more self-loving.
So it seems we all have a Dalai Lama within us. All we have to do is train our mind to do the impossible—believe that we do.
Anthony Meindl is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and Artistic Director of Anthony Meindl's Actor Workshop (AMAW) with studios in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Vancouver. It was voted the Best Acting Studio in Los Angeles by Backstage in 2011 and 2012 (Best Scene Study and Best Cold Read).
Meindl's first feature film, “Birds of a Feather,” won the Spirit of the Festival Award at the 2012 Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, and he won Best Director at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. He is a regular contributor to The Daily Love, Backstage, and various spirituality podcasts. He has been featured in ABC News, Daily Variety, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and the CW KTLA. He is also the author of the new best-selling book, “At Left Brain Turn Right,” which helps artists of all kinds unleash their creative genius within. Check out Meindl's free smartphone app on iTunes. 'Follow Meindl on Twitter @AnthonyMeindl.