The Chemistry of Change part three

Meditators have a unique opportunity to observe themselves change from a subjective viewpoint. Interesting feelings are happening in the body and mind while the brain becomes rewired for new ways of receiving inner data both during and after minor and major changes. During the experience of transmutation, hormonal activity could be either newly stimulated or brain hormonal activity that was there could become suppressed. This does not mean it always happens this way, but there is a very strong possibility that there is new hormonal activity associated with that processing center, the brain … I am not talking about the mind folks... This is about the processing center that is built for the mind to direct activity that results in causing you to, for example, move an arm or have an idea. This is not the mind. The mind stimulates activity in the brain and part of that process is the hormonal system that activates cascades of chemicals.

Now, within the cells of the body, the cellular processes need to become accustomed to a stable system, even though that stable system might be harmful to the life of person. Cells are not like wild cowboys and Indians running around with a special motivation to hurt us. This is an automatic process. They seek a stable process, even though that might be something that causes disease. Cancer is a stable system, for example. Cancer is not something that comes down like a bolt of lightning on you to deliberately hurt you. It is the reaction of your body in a flux of manifestation of emanation in a certain progression seeking stabilization and it readjusts into a form such as cancer. In that way, it might potentially adapt or hijack hormonal activity already stimulated by mental activity such as anger or stress by recreating intake sites as well as reducing other beneficial receptor sites. So, your cells adapt to higher levels of hormone or different cocktail mixtures of hormones by literally changing its configuration in order to be able to remain alive.

This is not the brain under the beneficial changes we are talking about as a meditator. This is something that could be happening gradually in ordinary life - changing the hormonal receptors at the cellular level and becoming further sensitized and needy, continue to change how the system processes nutrients and produces chemical compounds for use in physiological organization. Eventually its stable system might become one that we do not want.

During times of change, such as strong meditation activity that changes your perceptions, you might experience hormonal surges or absence. This is what is happening in your brain due to reconfiguration of neural pathways. Due to hormonal stimulation, it is common among meditators that they forget how to sleep for a while. I know this has happened to many of you, somehow sleep just does not come. On the other hand, there could be not only hormonal surges, but also hormonal absences. Which one would account for sleeplessness is not important here. However, some people during times of change and due to the complexity and vigor of inner activities, find that they are very sleepy indeed. There are even some meditators, during times of strong meditations and change, find that one day they are very awake and the next day they cannot stay awake. They are like this and like that – alert and then suddenly….

Hormonal surges can also be related to bursts of mental activity in receptivity to inner learning, like this - brrrrooomm - like a speedboat. On the other hand, sometimes you cannot think at all. Changes are going on in your brain as if it was being rewired to carry more energy. This is due to your own energetic perceptual wishes in the form of prayer to become purified and capable. You are requesting to transform into another kind of being, an enlightened being. These are not unusual. There might also be times when you feel great rushes of energy coming from the top of your head to your heart…or from the feet to the navel, or…. You feel like a fountain of energy, so much that it could be difficult to tolerate sometimes. These changes are most often noted in students of higher lamas that receive blessings that activate change.

Many meditators - this also has to do with hormonal activity, we would describe it in other ways in the Tibetan system, but I am happy to do it this way here - describe experiences of euphoria. Certainly, the euphoria is happening in your mind and coming from inside somewhere that is not a physical location, but it is also happening in your brain and your body and your memory of the experiences. This euphoria is hormonal or chemical stimulation from the mind to the body and gross mind that directs the brain activity. Some might have experiences of strange feelings that they might only be able to describe as funny, strange, or odd. They might also describe it as calm. This is what is experienced in consciousness because the brain is receiving hormones caused by transformation in meditation or by a natural awakening for some, even without meditation.

As the brain-processing center and glandular system stabilize into a new form, hormonal swings become less. Your body is then beginning to stabilize into a steady flow of the new chemical mixture of hormones. For experienced meditators, as soon as that system stabilizes, another one begins because there is just not enough time to do all of the inner changes that need to be done! Otherwise, you are going to reach the end of your life before the changes are made! However, not every meditator experiences this.

I share this with you with cautions because if you lack reliance on authentic Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, the three jewels, and struggle against the natural changes in development it may harm your future progress. We make strong effort to never apply negative perceptions to change such as “I feel so weird. This is so bad and weird” when actually it is not! It is not bad or weird, but a normal part of the preparation for transformation. If we apply negative perceptions to our experiences that are occurring and fight them we will stop the needed changed we prayed so hard to happen. To be continued…

Comments

  1. This is interesting. Even before I became Buddhist, when I was discussing consciousness and the brain with scientists and physicians, expecially in the realm of holistic health, many of them STILL viewed the brain as primary, and consciousness as a function of a sophisticated electrical program running on the brain.

    That view is based on looking at research results of brain electrical activity from a mechanistic worldview. An assumption of the mechanistic world view is that the world is objectively real; a corollary from that assuption is that the brain is primary.

    That never seemed correct. I used to challenge them. What if consciousness is primary? What if the brain responds to consciousness, and not the other way around? Then the same research results can be interpreted very differently. And those interpretations are just as valid.

    Now I would not say "consciousness," I would say the "mind." The mind is primary, and the brain is its tool.

    I know this is not the focus of your blog, but I am happy to have a chance to share this anyway. Thank you for this very clear commentary!

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  2. Rinpoche thank you for this clear explaination. Yesterday I had a vigorous meditation and ysterday at one point I became overwhelmed with tired. Then I remembered that I probably was squeezing on something. I laid down and rested and focused on expanding making space for the energy the changes. I slept well. Today I am okay. Nyima (Wisconsin)

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  3. This explains a lot Rinpoche. I seem to experience these variations in alertness frequently. Some times I truly can't stay awake no matter what I try, and have felt like it is my fault...like it was a weakness. Now I understand that it most likely has nothing to do with me on the outside...unless of course I just burn the candle at both ends too many days in a row... anyway, thank you much!

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