“Whether you like it or not, you came into this world hardwired with a reflexive neurological system that instantly goes on red alert when you perceive danger. Your system leaps into action to overcome that danger. The amygdala region in the brain, also called the primitive fear center, dates back to an earlier period in our evolution, having first evolved in our reptilian ancestors. This ancient, fear-based, knee-jerk part of the human brain still serves a certain limited purpose in contemporary life, but it also continually causes us trouble. Why? Because the amygdala cannot tell the difference between a real danger facing you in the present moment and an imagined situation in your mind.
Imagination, the same mental function that enables human beings to be so creative and productive, often generates fearful fantasy scenarios about the future that keep you gripped by unnecessary stress and anxiety. But my observation (and that of most therapists) is that, most of the time, you have the cognitive ability to quiet those anxious thoughts and move into a more peaceful, enjoyable, productive state of consciousness. This is what meditation is about – change your focus, change your life.”
John Selby, in Expand this Moment
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