Priming in the Zen and Now
A Playlist to Slow Down in a Fast World and also Remember to Dance
This sounds a bit crazy. After all, who would think of the Rolling Stones as music to meditate to, but I did. I laugh when I look back and think about it. I was probably around the age of 20. The Tattoo You album was released in 1981, so, loving the Rolling Stones, I raced out to get it. Mick, his satin trousers, and bold stage presence, strutting his stuff and Keith, the renegade hippie with a wicked smile and blazing guitar technique were the matrix of the band to me.
I bought the Tattoo You album. I really loved the B side. It was melodic and relaxing, unlike their high energy rock that attracted me in the first place. I found that if I just closed my eyes and drifted away with the music, I could find myself in a beautiful state of entrancement and relaxation. So there I was meditating to the Stones on a regular basis.
The B side songs rolled seamlessly from one to the next. I found my little bit of Rolling Stones - Heaven. I have to wonder now, when I can read all the lyrics, what kind of effect this might have had on me, but too late to worry about that now lol.
If only I had known then what I know now about the brain and how it works, I might have saved myself some grief. You see, I either stayed in situations too long, or fell pray to overthinking things that really could have been healed on a subconscious level rather than through the conscious mind which wrestled with external situations.
Lets just say that there are many examples of things I could have done better, and one of them would have been to know how to deal with my thoughts and emotions around the time I decided to leave my job in 2016. If I had the tools and understanding that I have now I may not have left. I may have found other ways of dealing with my stress and been able to control the thoughts in my head that actively worked in sabotage mode.
It wasn’t just a job it was an all-consuming beast by the time I left, but really there were so many fabulous things about that job. However, the fact was I was burned out, overwhelmed and unable to put it down at the end of the day.
Sound familiar? From what I read a lot of people find themselves there. We live in a fast world. Compounding factors can add to the stress e.g. if other parts of our lives aren’t supporting us, or allowing space to debrief or be understood, then it can be almost impossible to put that ball down so to speak. So, what is our natural response? Fight, flight or freeze it seems. The fight had gone out of me and I froze and then fled.
Now, I see that my brain had a stuck switch that wouldn’t turn off. The little voice in my head couldn’t put the ball down at the end of the day no matter what.
The weight of responsibility we carry can stop us from taking time to get out and play, to breathe and to dance in the joy of existence.
If only I had some of the tools that I have now. I remember my mother telling me to meditate and that seemed like the furthest thing in the world, even though it was something that I used to do. I could not find the calm within me or the space for it. Even walking at the beautiful times of day did not cut it.
I wonder what would have happened if only I started and ended my day differently with a priming exercise like I do now. These days I believe, if we use the first 15 – 30 minutes when we wake up to prime our brain positively, and the last waking moments as well, we can change the whole colour of the day without a Crunchie even. Back in the day, I used to find solace in chocolate and Cadbury’s did well. Not anymore.
To understand the reasons for brain priming, you need to understand that our conscious brain controls only say 5-10% of our thoughts, our subconscious however, has the lion’s share consuming roughly 90-95% of our thoughts. This doesn’t just happen when we are asleep.
I know most of us would like to think that we are conscious beings but hey, brain science has other things to say about that. You know, we are always thinking. Here’s another quite horrifying fact which is that about 80% of our thoughts have a negative bias. Our monkey mind has a lot to answer for and we need to get that monkey off our back.
Have you ever really listened to that little voice inside your head and heard how much of it is negative? When you separate and study some of those thoughts it can be quite astounding. After all, many of us like to think we are positive people, or always look on the bright side of life. Who even realised that that naughty little voice could be having so much say?
I was shocked when I heard about the brain’s negative bias and realised that it wasn’t just me. This is a human thing. Imagine, that voice is not always our friend. It can be useful when it asks us to look more closely, or to see something that can save us from a dangerous situation, however, it is something that we need to train if we want to get the best out of ourselves and life.
So, the reasons for using the beginning and end of the day to prime the brain come down to neuroscience which is a really interesting field of science. Our brains can be primed negatively or positively and these days we get to choose what we feed our brains with. We learn by repetition so why not choose to put the positive on repeat and see how that goes for us?
At the beginning and end of the day our brain waves drop into Theta, as they do when we are dreaming. Here we are in a receptive state, relaxed, our creativity flows, and we are open to suggestion, which is why there are sleep scripts for the subconscious now.
Without going into a full on psychology lesson, I hope you got a brief intro into why I choose to listen to the types of music or priming audios that are making their way onto the scene in these times.
If you are interested in listening to some of these, here are some suggestions. For the morning priming Tony Robbins is great. He focuses on gratitude, but also incorporates breath work into his routine which is a great way to start the day with a little positivity and a lot of prana.
If you feel a little pooped in the middle of the day, I find a quick pick me up can be to go and relax for about 10-20 minutes and listen to some binaural beats. This is where you might think it gets a bit strange if you don't already, but a set of headphones and just closing your eyes can work wonders for the energy levels so here you go:
Binaural beats focus on frequency and vibration which is a story for another day. However, just think of every religion as having some kind of sound aspect which works on a vibratory level. Even the earth is known to have it's own frequency named the Schumann Resonance which is tracked daily.
Many binaural beats are used for healing physical and emotional issues, or just raising our happiness levels. They are easy to play while relaxing or even painting.
One of my real faves at the moment though is Jess Shepherd, who is an energy healer from Australia. Jess is so generous with the amount of meditational audios that she loads onto YouTube for free. You can find a whole range of inspiration and sleep audios here under her Rising Higher Meditation channel.
Here's a different kind of primer for the morning from Jess.
I love the following audio, it's a beauty for sleep or just doing what you do such as painting, or anything that doesn't require your thinking mind such as writing. Just trust and surrender, that is all.
And now for something completely different, nothing like a bit of Van to remind us to enjoy it while we can.Van Morrison - Bright Side of the Road (Audio)
This Pharrell Williams song always puts a smile on my face. Great to get up and shake it out to and remember happiness is the truth. Enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed this list to calm the monkey mind and help reprogram that naughty subconscious. If so, I would love it if you would leave a heart. From my heart to yours. 💚