I had a recent conversation with a friend who was discussing a car accident that she had been in. As she seemed rather disturbed, I ask when this had happened. The accident was 12 years ago!
Why is it that our stories become so very important? Have you ever noticed how a person telling a story will repeat himself about 3 times? How many times do you repeat yourself in a conversation?
Reify “make (something abstract) more concrete or real”
Perhaps we reify ourselves because we are constantly changing and this frightens us. But we can see, just looking at our bodies physiologically we are constantly dying and being reborn. What attunes our perspective that our bodies are transitory is when we consider skin cells. Between 30,000 – 40,000 skin cells fall off every hour!
Your skin makes up about 16 percent of your body weight, which means you have roughly 1.6 trillion skin cells [source: BBC]. Of course, this estimate can vary tremendously according to a person’s size. The important thing is that you have a lot of skin cells. Of those billions of skin cells, between 30,000 and 40,000 of them fall off every hour. Over a 24-hour period, you lose almost a million skin cells! (Click here to learn more.)
Our brains hold onto memories and these memories give us a sense of identification. Similar events, can trigger a memory like it was yesterday! But this is not the end of the story. The brain is pliable.
Scientists once thought that the brain stopped developing after the first few years of life. They thought that connections formed between the brain’s nerve cells during an early “critical period” and then were fixed in place as we age. If connections between neurons developed only during the first few years of life, then only young brains would be “plastic” and thus able to form new connections. (To learn more about neurons, click here.)
Because of this belief, scientists also thought that if a particular area of the adult brain was damaged, the nerve cells could not form new connections or regenerate, and the functions controlled by that area of the brain would be permanently lost. However, new research on animals and humans has overturned this mistaken old view: today we recognize that the brain continues to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This phenomenon, called neuroplasticity, allows the neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and adjust their activity in response to new situations or changes in their environment.
We can change the way our brain works. Through the practice of daily meditation, we can change the way we react to situations. The most beneficial meditation begins with stabilizing the mind. When you set a muddy glass of water on a counter, the mud will slowly fall to the bottom of the glass. The mind behaves in a similar way. When we sit down to meditate, over time, the mind quiets down. Click here to start your first meditation session.