Tag - Patt Lind-Kyle

Live More Fully By Embracing The End of Life: 8 Steps

Death is something most of us fear and avoid thinking about at all costs. But according to Patt Lind-Kyle, author of Embracing the End of Life: A Journey Into Dying & Awakening, our conscious and unconscious fear of death prevents us from experiencing true contentment. Preparing for our eventual death now—mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—enables us to release the uncertainty and fear of dying.

Lind-Kyle’s eight-step process, which she calls The Journey to Freedom: A Guide to Life, lays out the psychospiritual transformation we all can go through long before we die. This journey gives you the understanding of why you must train your mind to live fully and prepare yourself now for your eventual death.

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Steps 1-4 explain how the mind develops over time into an identity that Lind-Kyle calls the constricted self. Steps 5-8 teach the steps for unraveling the constricted self and transforming into the expanded self. Keep reading to learn more.

STEP 1: The Journey of Separation. In this step you explore how fear begins to be a central part of your life. Lind-Kyle says your “constricted self”—the ego structure that encompasses body, mind, and brain—was born when you separated from your mother’s womb. This is the anxious, angry, shame-filled, survival-driven self that believes it is separate from the expanded self. (It’s the “expanded self” that realizes all is connected and that death is merely an illusion.) As you grew and explored your new world, this sense of separation from the “other” was reinforced. Also, at certain stages of life—from ages 3-5, from 30-34, from 60-64, and from 90-94—this sense of separation intensifies.

Lind-Kyle provides a series of exercises—involving journaling and meditation practices—to help you explore the birth of your constricted self and your deep fears and insecurities around separation.

STEP 2: The Journey of Emotions. Imagine a plant growing in the earth. As it gets a little water, it sends its roots deeper to get more connection and be more earthbound. In this analogy, your emotions are the water that makes you more bound and constricted as you grow older. These emotional structures create boundaries that keep you separated from yourself and others.

From ages 34-38 and 64-68, you may find yourself wanting more of everything, better relationships, or more passion and creativity. These strong desires build and create tension, restrictions, or blocks in the flow of your life. This resistance manifests as judging, negating, doubting, or belittling yourself. Further, in moments of fear, you may experience reactive emotions like anxiety, worry, anger, shame, panic, and guilt.

Lind-Kyle offers exercises to help you examine and cope with the emotional patterns you have developed over your lifetime. Using the Enneagram—an ancient energy template revealing the nine human interconnected personality types—she helps you recognize how your particular Enneagram “type” influences your dominant feelings and defense mechanisms.

STEP 3: The Journey of the Mind. Your thinking process can become a powerful force dividing you from your physical body. Around ages 8-12 (and then again at ages 38-42 and 68-72), your focus on language moves your attention from your body to your head. You become enthralled with talking, thinking, and figuring things out, which separates further from the sense of being grounded, and from your emotions and sensory awareness. As a result, you are cut off from the source of your core energy; living in your head robs you of your vital, alive self.

When the mind is the driver of the doer, there is an intense need to feel recognized, to be in power, and to be loved for the power and accomplishments. This craving overpowers the practical needs or emotions that allow life to flow. The goal of this strong desire is to be happy and to move out of the fear of survival and suffering, but instead it moves toward an excess of worldly pleasures. These come in all kinds of packages such as wealth, fame, sexual pleasure, food, and appearance.

The physical ramifications of being out of balance in this energy frequency are issues of digestion, liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach, gallbladder, kidneys, chronic fatigue, acidity, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and back pain.

STEP 4: The Journey of Self-Identity. This process describes how you identify as a separate person from the world around you. You strongly identify with your name, family, partners, history, job, and friends. Then in early adulthood, a main identity—for example, parent, doctor, or gardener—becomes dominant. With that firm label, you have a stable personal identity and feel secure. In midlife, the constricted self compels you to look at what you have done in your life in terms of your talents and accomplishments, and this confirms your identity once again. In later life, it is looking back and trying to confirm meaning and purpose among the various identities that you have played out throughout your life.

To help you recognize how The Journey of Self-Identity has affected your life, Lind-Kyle provides several exercises and meditations. Using your individual Enneagram type, she helps you recognize how your personality patterns have affected your sense of identity over the years.

Steps five through eight help you face and unwind your ego-created journey—your constricted self. (Note that this is the same process that happens when you die.) When you surrender the constricted self, it doesn’t vanish or go away, but it is no longer in control of your life. The great blessing of letting go is that you now have a choice of what behaviors and actions you choose.

STEP 5: Freedom from Personal Identity. In this step, you begin to detach from your constricted ego. This path to freedom allows you to embody, accept, and become open to all aspects of your separation without self-judgment. Now you will begin to shift your perception to your expanded self and move into a space of awareness. Lind-Kyle says forgiveness is the energy of the heart that releases the binding structure of your self-identity and removes the feeling of being a victim. It also enables you to release your deepest fears.

To begin the transformation and opening of your heart, focus on these four simple forgiveness meditation phrases. Fill in the person (including yourself) or people you would like to forgive:
I forgive (myself, the other, or group) for not understanding.
I forgive (myself, the other, or group) for making mistakes.
I forgive (myself, the other, or group) for hurting (myself, the other, or group).
I forgive (myself, the other, or group) for not following (my, your, their) deepest values.

STEP 6: Freedom from the Mental Self. This step involves releasing the mental patterns that have bound you to your inner pain and suffering. Lind-Kyle says the key to releasing your controlling mind is practicing gratitude. Gratitude increases the vibration and energy of the heart center and enables your neurons to fire off in new patterns that generate joy, happiness, freedom, and inner contentment. The greater the gratitude, the more the mind chatter dies away, and clarity of awareness of your expanded self continually opens. Practicing gratitude also reveals that you are not the “doer” of the self-centered constricted self.

To start practicing gratitude, Lind-Kyle offers this exercise:

  • Make a list of all the things you are grateful for, and a list of all the things you are not grateful for. Keep adding to the lists for a few days.
  • Say the words “thank you” for both the positive and negative people, situations, and events you experience.
  • A few days later, touch your heart area when you say “thank you” for both positive and negative events. The physical touch and feeling will begin to open the love doorway wider and wider.

STEP 7: Freedom from the Emotional Self. From the moment you wake up each day, you are driven by an inner dialogue that keeps you racing in fear, anger, judgment, confusion, pleasure, uncertainty, and so on as you process your thoughts, sensations, feelings, and emotions. Unwinding your emotional impulses helps you gain the possibility of inner expansion and release from fear. According to Lind-Kyle, practicing appreciation trains your reactive mind to stay focused in the present moment. The energy charge of appreciation activates the feeling state within you and shifts your moods, attitudes, and beliefs.

Every day, look for people and situations to express your appreciation—by simply seeing and acknowledging what you see. For example, if you see a cat stretched out on a windowsill, you might say, “You look beautiful in your relaxation,” or if you notice a coworker working late, speak your appreciation to his or her effort. As you speak your appreciation, feel the energy speaking from your heart. The awareness of your appreciation builds an energy charge between you and the other. Keep the appreciation going throughout the day. The more you appreciate consistently throughout the day, the more the energy will increase the clarity of your awareness.

STEP 8: Freedom from Separation. This final step recognizes the illusion of your “false” outer home and the separation you have lived with all your life. The means to return to your “real” home—as a complete human—is through kindness and compassion. These two practices fully open your heart to embrace your expanded self. Once the constricted self surrenders, unity envelops you, and your sense of identify shifts to become the entire universe. Yes, this is what happens when you die. But this is also what can happen for you now, today. When the constricted self crumbles, the mind clears and the heart of kindness and compassion opens up. This is the place of awakening to your essential human self in this lifetime.

Lind-Kyle offers powerful exercises and meditations to help you attune to the high-level frequencies of kindness and compassion.

If you allow it, this eight-step process can heighten and raise your consciousness. You come now to the place of integration to combine all the qualities of the heart to become whole within you. It creates the potential to shift you into being free of all that creates tension, pain, and fear within you to a quality of expansion and acceptance of your true self.

About the Author: 
Patt Lind-Kyle, MA, is the author of Embracing the End of Life: A Journey Into Dying & Awakening, and is a teacher, therapist, speaker, and consultant. Her book Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain won the Independent Publisher Gold Medal Award and a Best Book Award from USA Book News. Patt has written a chapter in Audacious Aging, and she is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up. She lives in Nevada City, CA, and can be found online at www.PattLindKyle.com.

About the Book: 
Embracing the End of Life: A Journey into Dying & Awakening (Llewellyn Publications, 2017, ISBN: 978-0-738-75356-0, $22.99) is available at bookstores nationwide, Amazon.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com.

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8 Scientific Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2011

New Year’s Resolutions: we’ve all made them, and we’ve all broken them. Whether your goal last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) was to lose weight, spend more time with your family, or be more financially responsible, chances are that not much in your life actually changed between January 1st and December 31st. If so, you’re not alone: studies show that between 80 and 90 percent of Americans don’t stick to the resolutions that sound so attainable when the ball is dropping and the champagne is flowing.

Ever wondered why that is? It’s true that a lack of motivation, a lack of specificity, and unrealistic expectations contribute to “resolution wrecks.” According to author Patt Lind-Kyle, our failure to follow though isn’t solely a matter of willpower—the root of the problem lies in the way our brains are wired.

“Human beings have a lot less free will than they think they do—in fact, many of us are essentially prisoners of the automatic reactions, thoughts, and habits that are encoded into our personalities,” explains Lind-Kyle, author of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence (Energy Psychology Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-60415-056-8, $26.95) and mind training guide whose voice appears on the book’s companion CDs. “That said, it is possible to keep those New Year’s resolutions and change your life in any way you want to. But first, you have to understand what’s at the root of your problems: your mind and the way it directs your brain to function—basically, where you place your attention.”

In other words, it’s not enough to swear you won’t go near a fast food drive-thru window in 2011. You’ve also got to figure out why you’re compelled to go there in the first place, and consciously replace your unhealthy reaction with a more productive one.

Breakthroughs in scientific understanding have shown us that the brain is constantly rewiring itself in response to events in our lives. In fact, the human brain exhibits a high degree of adaptability, and can actually change the size and function of its structures by strengthening the neuronal connections between different areas of the brain—a quality known as neuroplasticity. Lind-Kyle’s book and companion CDs apply this new science in practical ways, giving us a training program that will literally rewire our brains and repattern our behaviors, enabling us to consciously change mental frequencies.

According to Lind-Kyle, we must literally reprogram the neural networks through which information and energy flow. The key? Mind training.

“Over the years, I have come to realize what immense power mind training has,” she writes. “Our minds can essentially be trapped by the ways in which they function, which can put us into frantic and depressed conditions. Mind training helps us focus our attention, quiets a scattered mind, and brings flexibility and clarity that enable us to see other options.”

Each structure of the brain is characterized by a specific brainwave, Lind-Kyle explains. For many people, one wave dominates the others, which leads to dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors. However, focusing on each brainwave separately through mind training helps us become more aware and eventually enables all four brainwaves to be in harmony with one another. Neuronal circuits fire in tandem, resulting in a state of whole brain-mind integration. This is called synchrony, which balances brain disharmony and produces a heightened sense of peace and awareness. When you achieve brain synchrony, you will consciously begin to change the way you do things.

In addition to the easy-to-follow mind training instructions in her book, Lind-Kyle’s companion CDs guide listeners through the mind training exercises for each of the four brain frequencies. When the book and the CDs are used together, Lind-Kyle insists, readers tend to have significantly more success in their mind training efforts. A free mp3 of one exercise can be downloaded at http://www.healrewireyourbrain.com/cds.

Many people might initially and unfairly associate mind training (which involves meditation) with flaky, touchy-feely, New-Agey segments of society. A quick flip-through of Lind-Kyle’s book will dispel that notion. It’s a richly detailed, highly readable science lesson, delving into the evolution of the brain and the electrochemical reactions that give rise to the mind—and explaining precisely how meditative exercises change neurological structures and functions.

Ready to get serious about hardwiring your New Year’s resolutions into reality? Then read on for a taste of what you’ll find inside of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain:

The mind is the CEO of the brain. The words “brain” and “mind” are often used casually as synonyms, but in reality they refer to two distinct concepts. The brain itself is a physical organ—“a three-pound tofu-like structure that sits on the top of our spinal cord,” as Lind-Kyle puts it, that regulates our physical functioning and emotional behaviors. In contrast, the mind is not located in any specific place in the brain, yet it is intimately involved in all the brain’s activities.

Recently, neuroscientists have defined the mind as “what the brain does.” To use an analogy that most of us can easily relate to, the mind is the CEO who decides what instructions to give the brain so that things will “get done” in and through our bodies. For example, the mind holds the intention that you’d like to turn the page of the book you’re reading. In response, the brain sends messages through your nervous system to the muscles in your arm and hand, enabling you to complete the action. “Of course, the mind can (and does!) lead us astray,” Lind-Kyle acknowledges, “but it also has the ability to reform itself when it achieves synchrony.”

It might be Western culture that’s making you unhappy. We live in an intense, fast-paced, goal-driven, and competitive society. Frankly, it can be exhausting! No matter how much we achieve professionally, socially, or personally, there always seems to be another level of success to attain. And by reaching for that next level, we’re allowing society to mold us into something other than what we naturally are. To make it worse, few of us ever meet the standards of “success” for which we strive. No wonder we’re under so much stress! In fact, according to Lind-Kyle, much of our unhappiness and many of our bad habits are linked to the pressures we feel to be something we’re not.

“That’s why it’s so important to work toward brain synchrony, which will allow you to consciously switch mental frequencies,” Lind-Kyle stresses. “True peace can only come from finding a sort of ‘home base’ inside yourself. Even though the world around you might be in turmoil, you’ll always have that refuge. Of course, you can move your mind into other frequencies and shift your attention to the outside world when you need to take care of business. But underlying everything, you’ve got a permanent refuge that will help you stay grounded and centered. It is possible to live a Western lifestyle and still be at peace!”

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. It’s true! Your eight-year-old dog can learn the “Sit!” command as well as your four-month-old puppy. The same principal holds true for humans. Our brains have a huge capacity for change, and we can choose which new tricks we want to teach them—at any age! It almost sounds too good to be true, but there exists strong evidence that the brain continues to evolve throughout adult life, long after we’ve put away the schoolbooks. Neuroscientists have termed this ability to continually change and adjust “neuroplasticity.”

“The actions that we take physically, emotionally, and mentally can literally expand or contract areas of the brain, depending on the functions that are used most frequently,” explains Lind-Kyle. “When you do something new (like learn a second language) or practice something repetitively (like your tennis serve), your brain’s neural networks fire up, and a tissue region is actually sculpted or increased in response to that activity. In fact, the neuroplasticity of the brain is the leading edge of your own personal evolution. The more you train your mind, the more you change your brain. The more your brain changes, the more your mind evolves. In this way, you will heal your mind and discover your Home Base, a source of peace, calm, and vitality in your life.”

Thinking positively can restore your mental health. We’ve all heard (and heard, and heard, and heard) about what a difference seeing the glass half-full can make. Whatever, the skeptics among us might think. I can play “Pollyanna” all day. But I’ll just be living in denial about how I really feel. Right? Wrong, says Lind-Kyle. Research actually indicates that the brain can be sculpted by pure mental activity. For example, the size of the brain’s motor cortex will increase if you simply imagine yourself practicing the piano, even if your fingers haven’t actually come close to a keyboard.

“You can change the way you react to a situation by practicing a new ideal response,” explains Lind-Kyle. “When you generate new thoughts, you change neuronal pathways in your brain and release the hold of old emotional patterns. And that will enable you to feel, think, and behave differently. You can alleviate depression, anxiety, and stress—literally bringing health to the physical body—by changing the way you think. Your mind and brain are naturally wired to give you peace and happiness. You’ve just got to give that wiring the TLC it needs in the form of practice, attention, experience, and conscious awareness.”

Happiness is your birthright. That’s right. Life isn’t meant to be characterized by one struggle after another, with a little joy thrown in every now and then. Humans were designed to be happy—all of the time! So why aren’t we? Essentially, we are driven by the desire to be special, to be liked, and to be the best. In fact, The Buddha classified these desires as a form of suffering, because they mainly produce stress, tension, and discontentment.

“The good news is that we are all wired for what will make us happy,” Lind-Kyle asserts, “and what we really want is not success and fame—it’s peace, kindness, and happiness. Fulfillment does not come from attaining your desires in the outer world, but from embracing your inner self, which is the real source of your greater identity and peace of mind. You need to be comfortable with yourself as you are, not as how society tells you to be.

“This is achieved through attaining brain synchrony via meditative mind training. With practice, you are able to release yourself from your negative automatic thinking, focus on what doesn’t work in your life and in the world, and change it. I’ll admit—cutting yourself off from the outside world through inward-focused mind training can initially be frightening for some, because that’s where they perceive their identities to be—but mind training is ultimately freeing.”

Mental training can enable you to find your Flow. Have you ever had one of those days during which you were “on fire”? You were mentally focused, engaged, and immersed in what you were doing. Perhaps you even felt that the people with whom you needed to connect simply showed up exactly when you needed them. This is the notion of “flow,” which moves in the direction of the prefrontal lobes, the area of self-awareness that gathers meaning from the external world. (Carl Jung has called this flow between the inner and outer experience of reality “synchronicity.”) By whatever name, Flow is a mental state that merges action with acute awareness, and it is usually accompanied by a sense of being alive and joyful. At such a time, your brain functions and neural networks are working together optimally.

“Unfortunately, your experience of Flow can very easily be disrupted,” says Lind-Kyle. “Often, your thoughts, emotions, and actions are stuck in automatic patterns that perpetuate stress, as well as its negative effects on your health. With mental training, though, you can begin to identify and remove the automatic thoughts and reactions that cause your stress. You can maximize your ability to be aware and your potential to be peaceful. When information is moving through your brain in an optimal manner, you will have flexible responses, be rational in your thinking, self-aware and reflective in your thought processes, intentional in your communication, and positive in your attitude.”

Mind training literally grows the brain. The practice of meditative mind training is a central component of consciously rewiring the brain, and Lind-Kyle acknowledges this by weaving both the science behind meditation as well as practical instructions for doing so throughout the second half of her book. The mental focus that meditation requires activates your brain’s circuitry and literally promotes brain tissue growth. (Lind-Kyle cites one study by Dr. Sara Lazar that suggests the more often a person meditates, the thicker his or her gray matter becomes.) Furthermore, the awareness and self-knowledge that come from regularly meditating enable you to regulate your emotions in a more positive manner and respond to difficulties with greater ease.

“Meditation is a scientifically proven method of training the mind, and thereby of changing aspects of your life,” asserts Lind-Kyle. “Meditation can train the mind to reduce health problems and stress, and it can also increase your potential and success in life by enabling you to attain synchrony. Essentially, it will allow you to reprogram and evolve your brain to a higher state of consciousness and function. Quite simply, meditation is one of the most valuable tools available to people—if only they would use it.”

There are four mental tools that can help us make desired changes in our lives. Lind-Kyle uses four tools to train and awaken the mind. Each is used in the brain-wave mind training processes that are described in her book and guided meditation CDs.

  • Intention. Quite simply, the brain thrives on direction and purpose. When you give yourself intentional directions, you give each level of your brain a specific focus to explore how that particular “frequency” functions. For example, you might set your intention on having emotional awareness. Intention is about “what.”
  • Attention. Attention is where you place your focus. When teamed with intention, it enables you to establish a field of awareness and sustain your mind in a single-focused manner. Since concentration can bring balance and stability, attention is an essential stress-reducing tool. Attention is about “where.”
  • Receptivity. The mind is adept at blocking out what it does not wish to acknowledge. By learning to combat this instinct through embracing what is in your mind, you will become more sensitive to what is happening in each moment. Your responses will be more flexible because past thoughts and automatic influences will be disrupted. Receptivity is about “when.”
  • Awareness. True awareness helps you distinguish between your perceptions of what is happening and what is actually happening. It comes from being attentive, and keeps you from getting lost in the randomness of your thoughts. When you are truly aware, you are open to meaning, purpose, and hope, and you are able to penetrate the “me-focus” that veils your mind. Awareness is about “how.”

“The mind-brain is facile, flexible, and plastic,” says Lind-Kyle. “With training, such as the tools provided in this book, it is possible to reprogram what blocks the mind’s Flow and move quite rapidly from a less evolved state of mind to a higher state of synchrony, one that better serves us and the life around us.”

“Think about it this way,” she adds. “You only thought your resolution for 2011 was to lose weight or stop smoking or get out of debt. But when you achieve that goal through rewiring your brain, you are also participating in the collective evolution of the human species. You’re helping manifest in our behavior a state of kindness, love, and caring for our planet. Not a bad return for a small investment of your time and energy!”

# # #

About the Author:

Patt Lind-Kyle is an author, therapist, speaker, trainer, and consultant. She is a former professor at Foothill College, and founder of a learning assessment company that applies neuro-monitoring tools for stress management, health, and peak performance. Her research, writing, and teaching in the mind/brain field center on using an EEG brainwave monitoring system to help individuals maximize their brain-mind potentials.

Patt has written a chapter in Audacious Aging: “Building Community from the Inside Out” (Elite Books, 2009). She is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up (SwanRaven,

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The Secret to Happiness?

Promotions, Pools, Porsches, and…Brainwaves? Why the Secret to Happiness Has Been in Your Head All Along

Many of us feel out of focus, out of whack, and out of the loop more often than we’d like to admit. Here’s why that’s the case-and what you can do to return to your natural (that’s right!) state of balance and happiness.

By Patt Lind-Kyle

America was founded on the shining ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, we’re alive, we’re free (in theory, anyway)…but are we happy? Let’s examine the evidence. Exhibit A is the mountain of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills we take every year. And Exhibit B is the overworked, overstressed, overextended lifestyles we live-lifestyles that are, ironically, at odds with happiness itself.

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So what’s the verdict? No, we’re really not happy. And that’s too bad. Our brains are actually wired for happiness. So…why are we so miserable?

The fact is, most of know why we’re unhappy-we just lack the tools to get ourselves where we want to be. We know which actions we should take, but we feel powerless to actually enact them.

(Okay, so scrap the “liberty” ideal also!)

In other words, we know we’re eating too much or drinking too much or damaging our kids with our anger or letting a controlling spouse squelch our dreams. Yet, we accept those negative and harmful behaviors in ourselves. Maybe we figure, Hey, it’s because I’m under so much stress. Or maybe we assume, like Popeye, that “I yam what I yam.”
It’s not true. You really can change those things about yourself that make you miserable. But plain old willpower won’t cut it.
Good intentions have failed you before, and they will again. If you want to make lasting changes, you’ve got to go to the source-you’ve got to rewire your brain and repattern the way it works! And in fact, the new science of brain synchrony proves that the brain is more changeable than we ever thought possible. Your bad habits can be broken and rewired more productively.
And no, I’m not talking about brainwashing. I’m talking about consciously exploring and redirecting your brain patterns-a process that has been scientifically proven to be effective. Curious? Then read on to learn how the key to happiness has been in your head all along.
So, why is it so darn tough for people to change? Think about it this way: You can block a riverbed and dam up the waters, but once they’re released, they’re not going to flow in a different direction-they’re going to flow through the same old channel. Your brain, and how it directs your behaviors, is similar. Due to a mix of genetic factors and external conditioning, you are locked into a set of habitual and automatic attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors. And trigger A will almost always lead to result B, unless you take specific steps to redefine what B is.

You might want to cut back on your candy bar consumption or to stop going ballistic every time your kid leaves his room messy, but wanting to stop isn’t enough. In order to make those changes, you literally need to carve new channels, new neural pathways, in your brain.

So how do I change my brain? Good news: New research has revealed that the brain never stops changing and adjusting! Repetition and new experiences (whether they are physical, emotional, or mental) literally reshape the brain’s soft tissue-a quality known as neuroplasticity-and revamp the areas of your life with which you’re dissatisfied.

Generating new and/or creative thoughts can change neuronal pathways, releasing the hold old patterns have on us. It’s important to note, though, that neuroplasticity in and of itself doesn’t effect change. It is through the focused attention of mind training that new reactions and habits are formed.

Mind training? What’s that? There are four brainwaves: beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Ideally, they should all work together in harmony, but one often dominates the others. This leads to dysfunctional thoughts and habits, and “negative feedback loops” of behavior. Mind training-a not-so-flaky form of meditation-helps you to focus on and become aware of each of these four brainwaves, thus triggering the neuroplastic function of the brain.

Bringing your brain waves out of whack and into synchrony is a key component of really improving your life. By becoming truly aware of your thought processes and emotional responses, you will become better able to identify why unhappiness persists in your life and what you need to do to correct that!

But I don’t have time to meditate. I have to work 12-hour days just to pay the bills! Bingo! That’s probably part of the reason you’re unhappy. The high-pressure job you have to work to pay for the big house and new car and gym membership is sucking up all your energy and perpetuating a pace and intensity that’s the very antithesis of the mental quality that leads to true happiness.

Western culture is intense, fast-paced, and goal-driven. It creates an automatic drive that can get locked into our brain circuitry. And I’m not saying to quit your job and move into an ashram. I’m not even saying to move to a smaller house and take the bus-though that’s not necessarily a bad idea. What I am saying is to rewire your brain to break the hold of the automatic circuitry that’s making you miserable.

We are all wired for what will make us happy. And what we really want is not success and fame-it’s peace, kindness, and happiness. Fulfillment does not come from attaining your desires in the outer world, but from embracing your inner self, which is the real source of your greater identity and peace of mind. You need to be comfortable with yourself as you are, not as how society tells you to be.

About the Author:

Patt Lind-Kyle is an author, therapist, speaker, trainer, and consultant. She is a former professor at Foothill College, and founder of a learning assessment company that applies neuro-monitoring tools for stress management, health, and peak performance. Her research, writing, and teaching in the mind/brain field center on using an EEG brainwave monitoring system to help individuals maximize their brain-mind potentials.

Patt has written a chapter in Audacious Aging: “Building Community from the Inside Out” (Elite Books, 2009). She is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up (SwanRaven, 1994).

For more information, please visit www.healrewireyourbrain.com.

About the Book:

Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence (Energy Psychology Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-60415-056-8, $26.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and through major online booksellers.

About the CDs:

Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Companion CDs for the Book (2-CD set, $14.95) contains six sessions that guide listeners through the exercises and practices relating to each of the four brainwave frequencies as described in the book. The CDs can be used in conjunction with the book, or as a stand-alone tool. To download a free mp3 of one of the exercises or to purchase the CDs, please visit http://www.healrewireyourbrain.com/cds.

 

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New Year, New Brain: Eight Tips to Help You Rewire Your Brain in 2010…and Actually Keep Your Resolutions!

New Year’s Resolutions: we’ve all made them, and we’ve all broken them. Whether your goal last year (and the year before that, and the year before that) was to lose weight, spend more time with your family, or be more financially responsible, chances are that not much in your life actually changed between January 1st and December 31st. If so, you’re not alone: studies show that between 80 and 90 percent of Americans don’t stick to the resolutions that sound so attainable when the ball is dropping and the champagne is flowing.

Ever wondered why that is? It’s true that a lack of motivation, a lack of specificity, and unrealistic expectations contribute to “resolution wrecks.” According to author Patt Lind-Kyle, our failure to follow though isn’t solely a matter of willpower-the root of the problem lies in the way our brains are wired.

“Human beings have a lot less free will than they think they do-in fact, many of us are essentially prisoners of the automatic reactions, thoughts, and habits that are encoded into our personalities,” explains Lind-Kyle, author of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence (Energy Psychology Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-60415-056-8, $26.95) and mind training guide whose voice appears on the book’s companion CDs. “That said, it is possible to keep those New Year’s resolutions and change your life in any way you want to. But first, you have to understand what’s at the root of your problems: your mind and the way it directs your brain to function-basically, where you place your attention.”

In other words, it’s not enough to swear you won’t go near a fast food drive-thru window in 2010. You’ve also got to figure out why you’re compelled to go there in the first place, and consciously replace your unhealthy reaction with a more productive one.

Breakthroughs in scientific understanding have shown us that the brain is constantly rewiring itself in response to events in our lives. In fact, the human brain exhibits a high degree of adaptability, and can actually change the size and function of its structures by strengthening the neuronal connections between different areas of the brain-a quality known as neuroplasticity. Lind-Kyle’s book and companion CDs apply this new science in practical ways, giving us a training program that will literally rewire our brains and repattern our behaviors, enabling us to consciously change mental frequencies.

According to Lind-Kyle, we must literally reprogram the neural networks through which information and energy flow. The key? Mind training.

“Over the years, I have come to realize what immense power mind training has,” she writes. “Our minds can essentially be trapped by the ways in which they function, which can put us into frantic and depressed conditions. Mind training helps us focus our attention, quiets a scattered mind, and brings flexibility and clarity that enable us to see other options.”

Each structure of the brain is characterized by a specific brainwave, Lind-Kyle explains. For many people, one wave dominates the others, which leads to dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors. However, focusing on each brainwave separately through mind training helps us become more aware and eventually enables all four brainwaves to be in harmony with one another. Neuronal circuits fire in tandem, resulting in a state of whole brain-mind integration. This is called synchrony, which balances brain disharmony and produces a heightened sense of peace and awareness. When you achieve brain synchrony, you will consciously begin to change the way you do things.

In addition to the easy-to-follow mind training instructions in her book, Lind-Kyle’s companion CDs guide listeners through the mind training exercises for each of the four brain frequencies. When the book and the CDs are used together, Lind-Kyle insists, readers tend to have significantly more success in their mind training efforts. A free mp3 of one exercise can be downloaded at http://www.healrewireyourbrain.com/cds.

Many people might initially and unfairly associate mind training (which involves meditation) with flaky, touchy-feely, New-Agey segments of society. A quick flip-through of Lind-Kyle’s book will dispel that notion. It’s a richly detailed, highly readable science lesson, delving into the evolution of the brain and the electrochemical reactions that give rise to the mind-and explaining precisely how meditative exercises change neurological structures and functions.

Ready to get serious about hardwiring your New Year’s resolutions into reality? Then read on for a taste of what you’ll find inside of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain:

The mind is the CEO of the brain. The words “brain” and “mind” are often used casually as synonyms, but in reality they refer to two distinct concepts. The brain itself is a physical organ-“a three-pound tofu-like structure that sits on the top of our spinal cord,” as Lind-Kyle puts it, that regulates our physical functioning and emotional behaviors. In contrast, the mind is not located in any specific place in the brain, yet it is intimately involved in all the brain’s activities.

Recently, neuroscientists have defined the mind as “what the brain does.” To use an analogy that most of us can easily relate to, the mind is the CEO who decides what instructions to give the brain so that things will “get done” in and through our bodies. For example, the mind holds the intention that you’d like to turn the page of the book you’re reading. In response, the brain sends messages through your nervous system to the muscles in your arm and hand, enabling you to complete the action. “Of course, the mind can (and does!) lead us astray,” Lind-Kyle acknowledges, “but it also has the ability to reform itself when it achieves synchrony.”

It might be Western culture that’s making you unhappy. We live in an intense, fast-paced, goal-driven, and competitive society. Frankly, it can be exhausting! No matter how much we achieve professionally, socially, or personally, there always seems to be another level of success to attain. And by reaching for that next level, we’re allowing society to mold us into something other than what we naturally are. To make it worse, few of us ever meet the standards of “success” for which we strive. No wonder we’re under so much stress! In fact, according to Lind-Kyle, much of our unhappiness and many of our bad habits are linked to the pressures we feel to be something we’re not.

“That’s why it’s so important to work toward brain synchrony, which will allow you to consciously switch mental frequencies,” Lind-Kyle stresses. “True peace can only come from finding a sort of ‘home base’ inside yourself. Even though the world around you might be in turmoil, you’ll always have that refuge. Of course, you can move your mind into other frequencies and shift your attention to the outside world when you need to take care of business. But underlying everything, you’ve got a permanent refuge that will help you stay grounded and centered. It is possible to live a Western lifestyle and still be at peace!”

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. It’s true! Your eight-year-old dog can learn the “Sit!” command as well as your four-month-old puppy. The same principal holds true for humans. Our brains have a huge capacity for change, and we can choose which new tricks we want to teach them-at any age! It almost sounds too good to be true, but there exists strong evidence that the brain continues to evolve throughout adult life, long after we’ve put away the schoolbooks. Neuroscientists have termed this ability to continually change and adjust “neuroplasticity.”

“The actions that we take physically, emotionally, and mentally can literally expand or contract areas of the brain, depending on the functions that are used most frequently,” explains Lind-Kyle. “When you do something new (like learn a second language) or practice something repetitively (like your tennis serve), your brain’s neural networks fire up, and a tissue region is actually sculpted or increased in response to that activity. In fact, the neuroplasticity of the brain is the leading edge of your own personal evolution. The more you train your mind, the more you change your brain. The more your brain changes, the more your mind evolves. In this way, you will heal your mind and discover your Home Base, a source of peace, calm, and vitality in your life.”

Thinking positively can restore your mental health. We’ve all heard (and heard, and heard, and heard) about what a difference seeing the glass half-full can make. Whatever, the skeptics among us might think. I can play “Pollyanna” all day. But I’ll just be living in denial about how I really feel. Right? Wrong, says Lind-Kyle. Research actually indicates that the brain can be sculpted by pure mental activity. For example, the size of the brain’s motor cortex will increase if you simply imagine yourself practicing the piano, even if your fingers haven’t actually come close to a keyboard.

“You can change the way you react to a situation by practicing a new ideal response,” explains Lind-Kyle. “When you generate new thoughts, you change neuronal pathways in your brain and release the hold of old emotional patterns. And that will enable you to feel, think, and behave differently. You can alleviate depression, anxiety, and stress-literally bringing health to the physical body-by changing the way you think. Your mind and brain are naturally wired to give you peace and happiness. You’ve just got to give that wiring the TLC it needs in the form of practice, attention, experience, and conscious awareness.”

Happiness is your birthright. That’s right. Life isn’t meant to be characterized by one struggle after another, with a little joy thrown in every now and then. Humans were designed to be happy-all of the time! So why aren’t we? Essentially, we are driven by the desire to be special, to be liked, and to be the best. In fact, The Buddha classified these desires as a form of suffering, because they mainly produce stress, tension, and discontentment.

“The good news is that we are all wired for what will make us happy,” Lind-Kyle asserts, “and what we really want is not success and fame-it’s peace, kindness, and happiness. Fulfillment does not come from attaining your desires in the outer world, but from embracing your inner self, which is the real source of your greater identity and peace of mind. You need to be comfortable with yourself as you are, not as how society tells you to be.

“This is achieved through attaining brain synchrony via meditative mind training. With practice, you are able to release yourself from your negative automatic thinking, focus on what doesn’t work in your life and in the world, and change it. I’ll admit-cutting yourself off from the outside world through inward-focused mind training can initially be frightening for some, because that’s where they perceive their identities to be-but mind training is ultimately freeing.”

Mental training can enable you to find your Flow. Have you ever had one of those days during which you were “on fire”? You were mentally focused, engaged, and immersed in what you were doing. Perhaps you even felt that the people with whom you needed to connect simply showed up exactly when you needed them. This is the notion of “flow,” which moves in the direction of the prefrontal lobes, the area of self-awareness that gathers meaning from the external world. (Carl Jung has called this flow between the inner and outer experience of reality “synchronicity.”) By whatever name, Flow is a mental state that merges action with acute awareness, and it is usually accompanied by a sense of being alive and joyful. At such a time, your brain functions and neural networks are working together optimally.

“Unfortunately, your experience of Flow can very easily be disrupted,” says Lind-Kyle. “Often, your thoughts, emotions, and actions are stuck in automatic patterns that perpetuate stress, as well as its negative effects on your health. With mental training, though, you can begin to identify and remove the automatic thoughts and reactions that cause your stress. You can maximize your ability to be aware and your potential to be peaceful. When information is moving through your brain in an optimal manner, you will have flexible responses, be rational in your thinking, self-aware and reflective in your thought processes, intentional in your communication, and positive in your attitude.”

Mind training literally grows the brain. The practice of meditative mind training is a central component of consciously rewiring the brain, and Lind-Kyle acknowledges this by weaving both the science behind meditation as well as practical instructions for doing so throughout the second half of her book. The mental focus that meditation requires activates your brain’s circuitry and literally promotes brain tissue growth. (Lind-Kyle cites one study by Dr. Sara Lazar that suggests the more often a person meditates, the thicker his or her gray matter becomes.) Furthermore, the awareness and self-knowledge that come from regularly meditating enable you to regulate your emotions in a more positive manner and respond to difficulties with greater ease.

“Meditation is a scientifically proven method of training the mind, and thereby of changing aspects of your life,” asserts Lind-Kyle. “Meditation can train the mind to reduce health problems and stress, and it can also increase your potential and success in life by enabling you to attain synchrony. Essentially, it will allow you to reprogram and evolve your brain to a higher state of consciousness and function. Quite simply, meditation is one of the most valuable tools available to people-if only they would use it.”

There are four mental tools that can help us make desired changes in our lives. Lind-Kyle uses four tools to train and awaken the mind. Each is used in the brain-wave mind training processes that are described in her book and guided meditation CDs.

* Intention. Quite simply, the brain thrives on direction and purpose. When you give yourself intentional directions, you give each level of your brain a specific focus to explore how that particular “frequency” functions. For example, you might set your intention on having emotional awareness. Intention is about “what.”
* Attention. Attention is where you place your focus. When teamed with intention, it enables you to establish a field of awareness and sustain your mind in a single-focused manner. Since concentration can bring balance and stability, attention is an essential stress-reducing tool. Attention is about “where.”
* Receptivity. The mind is adept at blocking out what it does not wish to acknowledge. By learning to combat this instinct through embracing what is in your mind, you will become more sensitive to what is happening in each moment. Your responses will be more flexible because past thoughts and automatic influences will be disrupted. Receptivity is about “when.”
* Awareness. True awareness helps you distinguish between your perceptions of what is happening and what is actually happening. It comes from being attentive, and keeps you from getting lost in the randomness of your thoughts. When you are truly aware, you are open to meaning, purpose, and hope, and you are able to penetrate the “me-focus” that veils your mind. Awareness is about “how.”

“The mind-brain is facile, flexible, and plastic,” says Lind-Kyle. “With training, such as the tools provided in this book, it is possible to reprogram what blocks the mind’s Flow and move quite rapidly from a less evolved state of mind to a higher state of synchrony, one that better serves us and the life around us.”

“Think about it this way,” she adds. “You only thought your resolution for 2010 was to lose weight or stop smoking or get out of debt. But when you achieve that goal through rewiring your brain, you are also participating in the collective evolution of the human species. You’re helping manifest in our behavior a state of kindness, love, and caring for our planet. Not a bad return for a small investment of your time and energy!”

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About the Author:

Patt Lind-Kyle is an author, therapist, speaker, trainer, and consultant. She is a former professor at Foothill College, and founder of a learning assessment company that applies neuro-monitoring tools for stress management, health, and peak performance. Her research, writing, and teaching in the mind/brain field center on using an EEG brainwave monitoring system to help individuals maximize their brain-mind potentials.

Patt has written a chapter in Audacious Aging: “Building Community from the Inside Out” (Elite Books, 2009). She is also the author of When Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up (SwanRaven, 1994).

For more information, please visit www.healrewireyourbrain.com.

About the Book:

Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace and Presence (Energy Psychology Press, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-60415-056-8, $26.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and through major online booksellers.

About the CDs:

Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Companion CDs for the Book (2-CD set, $14.95) contains six sessions that guide listeners through the exercises and practices relating to each of the four brainwave frequencies as described in the book. The CDs can be used in conjunction with the book, or as a stand-alone tool. To download a free mp3 of one of the exercises or to purchase the CDs, please visit http://www.healrewireyourbrain.com/cds.

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