Hello valued community,
Novelty is defined as fresh, new, unusual, and innovative. It is the quality of wonder or awe we garden through practices like beginners mind, the backwards step, and reclaiming our innocence. Buddhists, taoists and yogis practice Novelty as a means to strengthen the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
The prefrontal cortex is located in the front or anterior brain. In adults it takes up about a third of our neurological real estate and is divided into three sections which have unique roles and responsibilities. They are...
- The medial prefrontal cortex, which governs our ability to pay attention and discipline distractions.
- The orbital prefrontal cortex, which assists us with impulse control.
- And the lateral prefrontal cortex, which supports us with creative and critical problem solving and the execution of our ideas.
Throughout our maturation, the brain develops from the back to the front, so the prefrontal cortex is the last to fully flower. This is why children sometimes struggle with decision making, focus, and organization.
In teenagers, the prefrontal cortex has not yet fused with the limbic system, which controls our fight or flight response. Hence why a teenager sometimes lashes out in response to expectations around impulse control, organization, and the execution of tasks. If exposed to complex problems at a young age, a teenager may in fact mature a little more quickly, but the prefrontal cortex is still not fully muscled until 25 years of age.
When we put our tush on the cushion, focus our attention on the sparkle of sensation arising in a yoga posture, or choose to practice present moment awareness, we strengthen the brain powers formerly mentioned. This is why beginners mind, I don't know mind, and reclaiming our innocence are considered the most advanced states of mind.
The minute we decide we know something to be true, we have created a Vasana. Vasana is a Sanskrit word for behavioral tendencies or habits. Vasanas create Samskaras, which are scars of suffering. For example, if we struggle to deal with daily stress, and we turn to alcohol every night at 5pm to calm down, we create a deep imprint in our psyche. Basically, the more often we have the drink, the harder it is to stop and the more reptilian the habit becomes. The most effective and long term remedy to this cycle, is to take the backwards step, to begin again, and to build Tapas, continuous effort and perseverance in order to create positive change. Developing the prefrontal cortex through meditative practice will help us rewire our attention and actions.
I hope you enjoy this month's movement, meditation, and creative practices. Please reach out to me with questions or insights. I am here as a resource. Throughout the month of April you will have access to...
- The Novelty Meditation Kit
- Writing Meditation for Trauma & Stress
- Access to our growing Movement Meditation Library
- Guided Pranayama Practices
- Ayurvedic Wellness Advice for April
Warmly and with Gratitude,