Being Mindful: Helping the Brain to Calm, Concentrate, and Connect

The second session in a 4-week course on mindfulness began with meditation.  The deep sound of a bell resonated throughout the classroom of the Lyceum and Marianne Rowe gently guided the students attention with a calm and loving tone of voice.  Afterwards, Marianne and co-instructor Katie Dutcher facilitated an enlightening and eye-opening session about how humans interact with others and their surroundings, drawing from neuroscience.  The flight-or-flight response, they explained, causes many of the reactions in our body, emotions, and thoughts.

"In this course we are cultivating consciousness, fine-tuning our awareness and attention like a muscle to notice just what is occurring to you right now.  I might notice that I'm having negative thoughts about what's going on in this room, or my body is starting to feel a little trembly and shaky.  Anytime we catch this and can bring awareness to it, we've interrupted the circuitry in our brains so we can see the bigger picture of what's going on," says Marianne.  "Otherwise we're just on autopilot.  Whatever stories might have been true in the past might not be true right now, so mindfulness allows us to rewrite some of our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us."

"This is not just taking some time for yourself," Katie emphasizes.  "On the face of it, it can seem like that, almost being selfish.  But it's the reversal.  When you take time to honor yourself and do good for yourself, that benefits everyone you're with.  Everyone benefits from you being aware of yourself, others, and your surroundings."

To learn more about the Monterey Bay Meditation Studio and teachers Marianne and Katie, please click here.