One of the foundations of yogic philosophy, is "As you think, so you become*." This maxim is now being proven in experiments involving imaging of the brain.
The ability of the brain to change itself is called "neuroplasticity". "Neuroplasticity research has established, beyond doubt, that instead of being a static cell mass, our brain is actually a dynamic system of neural networks that has the capability of significant growth under favorable circumstances". Rudraprosad Chakraborty, M.D.
J Indian Med Assoc 2007;105(9)
In yoga the term is Samskara. This is essenially a rut or pattern that gets reinforced over and over. This is how we form habits, both positive and negative. We can get stuck in this ruts unknowingly and continue to spin our wheels trying to get out, or we can begin to recognize them and thus bring about change and create new patterns.
According to Carl Rogers awareness itself creates the ability to change. "It wasn't until I accepted myself as I was, that I was free to change."
This is the essential principle of yoga and buddist psychology and what scientist in western cuture are beginning to understand.
Research is pointing in the direction of placing less emphasis on past events and conditioning, and more on our freedom to become the person we want to be through our moment-by-moment experience of our body sensations and our cognitions, allowing us to be more alive in the moment and to make conscious choices.
Research also shows that when an action is repeated, the more dendrites that sprout to connect new memories to old ones, the stronger the connections become and the more efficient the brain becomes at retrieving that memory or action. Thus, it becomes easier and easier to change our reactions.
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