WHAT HAPPENS IN OUR BRAIN
According to Nazareth Castellanos‘s El Espejo del Cerebro, our brain travels through four different stages when we do Mindfulness to practice and develop our concentration skills: focus of attention, network of distractions, the mirror of the brain, reorientation.
«The mind is a good servant but a bad mistress»
«Focus of attention. Faced with the novelty of the experience, the obedient and curious reader observes the sensations of the air as it enters and leaves his nose. His brain is like a circus tent where the spotlights only illuminate the prefrontal cortex, exactly the dorsolateral one. Attention is kept on the sensations of breathing. Nothing else exists. Your mind is the breath. Your brain is stillness and focus.»
«Network of distractions. If the reader is an inexperienced meditator, sustained attention will be an unstable equilibrium in his brain. Any disturbance, external or internal, can bring the juggler down. Without seeking or intending it, the meditator suddenly falls off the trapeze into a web of formless thoughts, veiled sensations, and diffuse feelings. The mind has exploded into a verbena of dull noise, invisible images, insipid flavors, reverberating dialogues and babbling, a parallel universe covered by a veil. The brain brims with activity. The circus tent now illuminates the lateral temporal region that brings us yesterday, the posterior cingulate gyrus that alternates the succession of states, the precuneus that projects the empire of the senses, the prefrontal cortex that takes us to tomorrow and the posteroinferior parietal cortexes that narrate our own shadow. The circus tent of the brain circus projects a complex play of light. In that comfortable net, the reader can stay for a long time. Without realizing it.»
«The mirror of the brain. Suddenly, the cingulate contera and the insula synchronize to form a mirror. We can only come down from this net when we know we are in it. The brain has ceased to be a verbena of colours and becomes mute before the mirror. The reader has just realized that he had been distracted, had stopped living the experience of feeling the sensations of breathing and had sat down for the circus of daydreaming.»
«Reorientation. Once informed of the absent-mindedness, the inferior parietal lobe and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex ask where the mind wants to go, ready to obey the orders «The mind is a good servant but a bad mistress», comes to us from the teachings of the masters. The areas of the memory of the moment respond: now we must attend to the sensations of breathing. The cortex returns to the sensations of breathing.»
And the cycle begins again.
Extracts from El Espejo del Cerebro by Nazareth Castellanos