#1006 Brushing Our Brains

Here’s Your Brainbrush

In our last +1, we spent some time with Emily Fletcher and reflected on her meditation wisdom that thoughts are not our enemies.

As she tells us: “The single most important piece of meditation advice you can hold with you as you dive in is this: Thoughts are not the enemy. Remember that the mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily, so please don’t try to give your mind a command to be silent. Instead, know that thoughts are okay—they’re actually a useful part of this process and now you have your trusty anchor, one, to come back to when you notice you’ve taken a mental field trip.

(I just LOVE this line: “The mind thinks involuntarily just like the heart beats involuntarily.”)

I briefly mentioned Herbert Benson and his wisdom on approaching meditation the same way we approach brushing our teeth.

We alluded to his ideas in another +1 years ago, but I think it’s worth chatting about his whole “brush your brain” wisdom a bit more as it so perfectly captures the spirit with which we want to approach our meditation practice (and so many other areas of our life where we may get a little too tightly strung 🤓).

Here’s how he puts it: “Here is a typical, simple response that I give to such performance-focused anxieties: “Don’t worry about how well you’re doing! Don’t worry about whether the relaxation response is really working or whether your mental picture is maximizing your health benefits. Just do it!” I also frequently use the analogy of brushing teeth. Most of us are concerned to one extent or another with dental hygiene, but we don’t dwell on the tooth-cleaning process. We just work away with that brush every day. Almost no one evaluates the brushing, to say, “That was a good brush!” or, “Too bad—that was a bad brush.” We simply do it! Similarly, if you’re taking a pill your doctor has prescribed for your cholesterol or blood pressure, you probably don’t wonder, “Am I putting this pill in the proper side of my mouth? Am I swallowing it correctly? Is it really going to work?” Again, you just do it—and that should be your approach to mind body treatments.

That’s Today’s +1.

Working on a meditation practice?

Let’s relax.

Show up.

And brush our brains.

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