Meditation in Islam

 
The moment we encounter God or think about Him, our brain starts to change, dramatically, to the better!

The brain illuminates 🙂

I will force myself to focus on the main subject, and to filter out the kind of information that might take us off track- which is not an easy thing given how much I like to talk about Him, and how rich, deep and wide the subject is. But since I –thank God- have been granted the ability to ‘focus’, I know I can do it Insha’Allah.

We have been given the most valuable gift that helps us make even our wildest dreams come true.
We have been given the gift to ‘Mastery’, the gift to ‘Empowerment’ and ‘TAMKEEN’. We have been given the precious stepping stones of success. The great huge stable foundations to live!
Our Spiritual Practices!!!

Designed by God to assist and support us in every way (possible or not) we might need assistance and support, literally.
All of our spiritual practices are designed by God to change the whole mapping of our brain, rewire it, and upgrade it in the most beautiful unfolding we can imagine.

And one special practice is designed to have ALL OUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!

Cherish them for they are designed for you to live your perfect life!

Our spiritual practices have been mistakenly perceived as an end purpose on their own.
They are not!
They are اركان الاسلام, they are the corner stones of the building we are destined to build. They are the foundations of a perfect life of meaning.
They are the tools that help us fulfil our purpose.

 
Imagine a poor homeless man, and another man who is rich beyond comprehension.      و لله المثل الاعلي
The rich man is so generous and invited the poor man to come and live in his huge palace. But since it is a long way to the palace and since the rich man is so generous he decided to send the poor man a car. An exotic magnificent ‘state of the art’ car.
He told the poor man to drive it up to the palace, but for it to endure the long distance he advised the poor man to use special fuel, special oil, and stuff (I don’t know a lot about cars!)  This is the only way the car will make the journey!
The poor man, happy with the car, followed the advice. He used the special fuel and the special oil. Polished the car and really looked after it.

But never drove the car, never made the journey!!!

 
The poor man is ‘you’ and the car is your ‘parts’; your body, your brain, mind, self, heart…
The special fuel and oil is our spiritual practices. They help move the car and allow it to make the journey and endure all the challenges and hardships along the way.

They are not the car, they are not the journey and they are not the palace!
And there is no point filling the car with the special fuel without moving the car and driving it to the palace!!

 
In their book ‘How God changes your Brain’ Dr. Andrew Newberg and Dr. Mark Waldman say “….the more you think about God, the more you will alter the neural circuitry in specific parts of your brain. …Spiritual practices can be used to enhance cognition, communication, and creativity, and over time can even change our neurological perception of reality itself!”

 We will examine now how some of our spiritual practices affect the brain.
 
Al Thekr   الذكر

There is a great meditation technique very popular in the west which neurologists prescribe it to their patients. It is proven to not just prevent but cure a lot of brain disorders. It is very much similar to Al Thekr but with a voodoo kinda name!
It is ‘Kirtan Kriya’.
The reason it is so powerful is because it integrates 5 elements that positively affect the performance of the brain.

Breathing
Regular Heart Rhythm
Sound
Repetition of the Sound
Movement

Let’s investigate;

Breathing
Like all meditation techniques and yoga practices, regulating your breathing is essential requirement before one starts exercising.

Breathing should always be from the abdomen (strongly founded and based in our religion as mentioned earlier) otherwise we don’t get the benefit of the exercise or its effect on the brain.
Focused breathing really clear the way for the neo-cortex to take the lead, and with that you experience heightened alertness and better cognitive functioning. You can think clearly and sharply. You are able to analyse and sort data, and connect them together. All with focused breathing!

It effectively reduces stress and blood pressure and eases anxiety, thus enables you to make sound decisions. It affects mechanisms that control emotions and sensory perception, and has a calming effect on both our body and mind. Add to that the huge effect on our physical health in general, as breathing from the abdomen regulates the aging process, the immunity system and slows cells’ deterioration.

 
Regular Heart Rhythm
Again it is preconditioned to relax before you start your yoga practice or any meditation exercise in order to achieve regular heart rhythm.  But for us;

الا بذكر الله تطمئن القلوب
‘Indeed the hearts settle by rejoicing Allah’

Without really controlling it, it will happen!
Throughout this website, I have discussed how important the heart rhythm is for our ability to think clearly. Regular heartbeats have a huge effect on the brain’s ability to process information, decision making process, problem solving and creativity! The way to overrule our sympathetic nervous system and tone down our overly active ‘Limbic System’ is the power of the heart!

 
Sound and the Repetition of the Sound
Repeating a sound allows us to rest while maintaining an acute awareness of the environment.

Many studies have shown that just the mere repetition of a sound for 8- 12 minutes per day reduces symptoms of stress, irritability, anxiety, depression and anger.
It increases neural activity in the prefrontal cortex, which helps maintaining clear focused attention on a task. It increases creativity and the capacity to reason. It activates the ‘anterior cingulate’ which is responsible for regulating emotions, learning and memory and enhances social awareness by really activating our ‘mirror neurons’ (the cells that read and copy other people’s feelings), improving our communication skills and helps us feel more peaceful, compassionate and empathetic.

It decreases activity in the ‘parietal lobe’ hence, our sense of self dissolves and the feeling of unity with our surroundings increases. This enhances one’s intention to reach specific goals and increases motivation, which allows us to live for higher good and be of service to humanity.

It increases activity in the ‘Thalamus’ which is the part responsible for perception and  reality making process in the brain, therefore increases motivation to take action to achieve our goals!
Repeating sounds is actually used to help Alzheimer’s patients!

 
Movement
In most books that explain the Kirtan Kriya, they describe the movement as ‘sequentially touching your fingers with your thumb’.

This movement has a tremendous affect on the performance of the brain. It enhances the motor and coordination centres in the brain, memory formation and our cognitive functioning!
It increases activity in a part called ‘basal ganglia’ that helps control voluntary movements, posture and motor sequencing. So you have more control over how your body moves, helps you be more graceful in using your arms and legs. And when you walk, you walk like a ‘Khalifa’. Tell me about Geisha intensive training!!

This movement helps increase coordination between the right and left hemisphere, so you are more able to utilize the powers of both in moving and thinking.
And it also plays an important role in memory formation, behavioural control and cognitive flexibility.

This movement strengthens the neural circuits in the brain and has a strong positive influence on memory formation and retrieval, giving you more control in relaying and transferring information between different neurons; connecting neurons to find relations between what seems unrelated!
It also helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s’ diseases.

 
This spiritual practice affects the frontal lobes where your neurological roots of imagination and creativity could be found. This practice enhances your ability to focus on virtually any goal you wish to achieve, and improves memory functions on the brain.

It makes you calm, relaxed, alert.
It deepens your emotional experiences, enhances visual and auditory processing, and improves attention and the processing of information.
It makes you focused and motivated. And it increases your cognitive performance.
It makes you smarter!!

 
To get the full benefits:

‘When you intensely and consistently FOCUS on your spiritual values and goals, you increase the blood flow to your internal lobes and anterior cingulate, which causes the activity in emotional centres of the brain to decrease. Conscious intention is the key, and the more you focus on your inner values, the more you can take charge of your life…..”

Focus. Focus. Focus!

Focus on what you are saying and on what you are doing. Be Mindful!

 
Further عبادات are further explored in Periodic Live Workshops. Please contact me for details.