tree silhouette in the form of a brain
Image by Gordon Johnson (brain/tree). Background by romanhoffmann

We are so much more than we know. We have access to a rich source of vitality, creativity, fulfillment, and wellbeing right within ourselves. But we also have a fireworks show continuously dazzling our mind that keeps our attention away from the subtle, life-changing experience that lies beyond our surface attention.

The continuous “noise” of the fireworks show is the attention-grabbing sensory experiences of sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch booming in our brain and the “starbursts” are entrancing thoughts, memories, and emotions exploding in our awareness. Unlike a real fireworks show that has a beginning and an end, however, our sensory, thought, memory, and emotion show is effectively endless—it continues even in our sleep when we dream.

We Are Wired for the Show

The fireworks show is the result of the chain reaction firing of interconnected neural circuits in the brain. By the time we reach adulthood our brain has formed millions of neural circuits that support our personal habitual behaviors, thoughts, memories, and emotions—more than enough circuits to ensure that the fireworks show never stops.

Imagine that you are an avid coffee aficionado and you unintentionally walk by a coffee shop. Since you love coffee and drink it often, your coffee-drinking neural circuit will activate with an electric burst and send signals all over the brain which activate other areas of the brain and central nervous system which in turn activate many physiological processes such as salivation, increasing the heart rate, increasing the breath rate, release of glucose, increasing muscular tension, contracting and relaxing the muscles of the face to form a smile.

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The firework bang of your coffee circuit will also set off entrancing explosions of emotional pleasure, trains of thought, and chains of memories associated with coffee—the taste, the feel of the cup in your hand, goodies you’ve eaten while drinking, friendly caffeine-enhanced conversations, the question of how coffee is prepared in this coffee shop, a long history of how coffee is prepared around the world, and your treasured opinion as to the best way to prepare coffee—and all this describes the fireworks show set off by a single neural circuit.

Once any established neural circuit fires, its neurally-interconnected thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are almost irresistibly automatic. Unless we are attentively willing otherwise, the path of least resistance created by the automatic firing of neural circuits will draw us into the well-worn grooves of the behavior and awareness our neural circuits automatically support.

Is the Brain Neurally Blind to Subtle Awareness?

If none of our well-worn grooves support subtle awareness then we are effectively neurally blind to the deeper reality that lies within us. We were not, however, born neurally blind to subtle reality. Young children, in fact, are known to experience many things that their parents can no longer perceive. There are many stories of children seeing angels.

My youngest daughter used to have conversations with angels every night. One night when she was just two and a half, she asked me to tell them not to have so many in her room because she was tired and wanted to sleep some more. I told her to ask the angels not to stay that night, and we did it together. The next morning when I asked her how she slept, she told me that only “Michael” had stayed at the foot of her bed to help her sleep more peacefully. I got chills…I’d never told her angel names—I always let her tell me. —from Wayne Dyer’s Memories of Heaven

We’re born psychic and children are especially open to seeing and hearing the subtle signals and energetic patterns that emanate from other dimensions. Sadly, we’re conditioned, fearfully taught to ignore spirits and psychic messages, so that as kids are increasingly socialized, they quietly shut down their innate psychic senses. —from the website, The Psychic Well

We are also deterred from the perception of subtle realities by the necessity to create neural circuits that support functioning in the physical world. As children we create hundreds of thousands of neural circuits to support walking, talking, understanding speech, etc. Now adults, we’ve added millions more neural circuits that support behaviors, trains of thoughts, chains of memories, and emotional reactions—all of which combine to create the continuously enthralling fireworks show that is our daily life.

Neuroplasticity and Meditation

The good news for us, if we have lost touch with subtle awareness, is that the brain is perpetually plastic. We don’t need to forever experience the fireworks show we unknowingly created. We wired our brain the way it is now; we can rewire it to once again support subtle awareness.

Meditation is the key. The brain will form neural circuits to support anything we do. Meditating regularly, routinely calming the "fireworks show" that keeps us perpetually distracted, will quickly form neural circuits in the brain to support not only the process of meditation but also the inner experiences we have during meditation—such as calmness, peace of mind, creative imagining, mental clarity, immersive feelings of love and joy.

The life-changing and life-enhancing experiences of subtle awareness that meditation engenders can gradually become as automatic as any of our other neurally supported thoughts, memories or emotions. The reactive often stressful fireworks show can become less compelling. Negative emotions of feeling unsafe, fearful, or irritated can become less often triggered. Positive emotions initially only experienced in meditation can become part of daily life.

Experiencing Subtle Inner Treasures Changes Us

Repeatedly becoming aware of our subtle inner treasures in meditation gradually and naturally rewires the brain so that attaining that awareness becomes progressively easier. As we spend time during meditation enjoying positive emotions and thoughts that relax and fulfill us, our entire brain is gradually rewired to improve and support physical health, mental concentration, emotional wellbeing, and clearer subtle awareness.

Meditation has been proven to make lasting structural changes in the brain that increase theta waves to deepen our attention; enable positive emotion and empathy by effecting changes in the amygdala; reduce or inhibit fear, anxiety, and other negative emotions; improve learning and memory; help overcome childhood trauma; and positively alter behavior and mood.

The changes that occur in your brain while you're meditating build up over time to produce remarkable shifts in cognition and brain structure. The meditating brain is a very cool thing. —Richard Davidson, founder of the University of Wisconsin—Madison Center for Healthy Minds

By reducing stress, meditation also stimulates healthy physiological processes such as detoxification, elimination, digestion, promotes healing, and even activates genes that effect our physical, mental, and emotional health. Meditation becomes, in time, the most significant positive influence on our health and wellbeing.

It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. –Dr. Britta Hölzel, first author of the groundbreaking Harvard study on meditation and brain change.

The Deeper the Better

The more deeply we meditate the more likely we are to have sacred experience; to feel ourselves to be part of a reality much greater than ourselves; to feel the unmistakable presence of Spirit. And the more such experiences we have, the more rapidly our brains rewire.

People who have had near-death experiences, for example, who have experienced profound heart-opening feelings of love and oneness, often share, even years after their experience, that their lives were instantly and permanently changed by their experience.

In a survey of thousands of people who reported having experienced personal encounters with God, Johns Hopkins researchers report that…a majority of respondents attributed lasting positive changes in their psychological health—e.g., life satisfaction, purpose and meaning—even decades after their initial experience.

An Enlightenment experience radically rearranges many neuronal connections in a relatively short time. The result is a tremendous benefit to our brain and body as we discover new positive ways of thinking, feeling, and experiencing the world around us. –Dr. Andrew Newberg author of How God Changes Your Brain

We Are So Much More Than We Know

Whatever your commitment to meditation, if it is regular, you will begin to experience that you are so much more than you knew—and the experience will be positively life-changing. Whether dipping your toe in for the first time or already a regular, meditation rewires your brain to give you increasingly greater access to vitality, creativity, fulfillment, and wellbeing right within yourself.

Meditate and find out for yourself. That is one of the beauties of meditation. You don’t have to believe anything. Just try it. You can learn more about how to meditate and how to establish a lasting practice on my website:

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Book by this Author:

BOOK: Break Through the Limits of the Brain

Break Through the Limits of the Brain: Neuroscience, Inspiration, and Practices to Transform Your Life
by Joseph Selbie

book cover of Break Through the Limits of the Brain by Joseph SelbieBreak Through the Limits of the Brain connects the dots between the discoveries of neuroscience and the meditation-born spiritual experience. It debunks scientific materialism’s brain-based explanation for consciousness and intelligence—including the brain-as-supercomputer and artificial intelligence models—and explains the view of many prominent and open-minded scientists that an all-pervading intelligent consciousness is the foundation of reality—an age-old belief shared by saints, sages, mystics, and those who’ve had near-death experiences.
Meditation is a central theme of the book—what it is; how to do it; why it works; its physical, mental, and emotional benefits as measured by neuroscientists; and how it rewires the brain for superconscious awareness so you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. The book offers proven practices for bringing superconscious awareness into your life for success, energy, health, peace of mind, and lasting happiness.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as an Audiobook and as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

photo of Joseph SelbieJoseph Selbie makes the complex and obscure simple and clear. A founding member of the meditation-based community Ananda and a dedicated meditator for over forty years, he has taught yoga and meditation throughout the United States and Europe. He is the author of the popular The Physics of God and The Yugas. He lives with his wife at Ananda Village near Nevada City, California.

Visit the author's website at

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