Do you suffer from mood swings?
To understand how our hormone levels create such outward levels of discomfort in us, it is worth understanding a little about the inward process of how our brain cells communicate with each other. Prepare yourselves; we are going to get straight to the nitty gritty!
When a brain cell, or neuron, becomes excited with some thought, or memory, it sends an electrical impulse down the stem fibre of the cell to the root-like structures that buffet the neighbouring cell’s antennae. When the wave of electrical excitation reaches the roots, they release chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) which float across the synapse and bind to the corresponding receptor sites within their neighbour’s intricate antennae system. As a result, a detailed message can be passed to the neighbouring cell and said neuron also begins to become electrically excited. These agents of communication, the neurotransmitters, then get brought back home and recycled, or they get degraded into debris and flushed out to sea (via cerebrospinal fluid, blood and urine). If for any reason there is any issue with their clearance, then this disposes us to a build-up of transmitter signals that may amplify the effects of any future messages. Thus, the effective release and disposal of these chemical messengers is vital to balanced inter-neuronal communication.
And the result of this neuronal communication process is the release of various hormones and transmitters which create change within the body and the emotions we feel.
We can now start to see that if we have imperfect connections between our brain cells, there may be troubles ahead. This will be because of the sensitivity levels of the neighbouring cells to our messages, or if the antennae are unable to clear their decks because of sub-optimal clearance processes, or because they have become gummed up with artificial substitutes that can’t be processed. In the first instance, if we keep crying wolf, we soon start to be ignored unless we scream ever louder with larger doses. In the second instance, some neurological dysfunction, possibly in our feedback systems, has broken down and unless it is re-set, will continue to distort our functioning. Or in the final instance, our uses of stimulants, toxic foodstuffs or medications has left remnants of chemical counterfeits swimming around the root-like dendrites in our brains, agitating our neurons with endless calls for attention.
Whatever the mechanism, such imperfect processing tends to exacerbate the strength and intensity of our mind-body signals, as well as potentially causing miscommunication between them.
The end result for us, as the experiencers of all of this neurochemical activity, is that instead of feeling a mild sense of this, or a mild sense of that, we get swung from one extreme to the other. This can make for quite an emotional rollercoaster and one we would prefer to get off if we are asked to keep riding waves of extremity all the time.
Indeed, just like any rollercoaster, it can be very stressful being subject to so many twists and turns. Our psychological and physical dissatisfaction with such sub-optimal functioning tends to induce an additional release of stress chemicals which skews the situation more towards the negative, and it feels like these eruptions of emotional flow cannot be stemmed with mere conscious choice alone. It is more powerful than that and comes from deep within our sub-conscious programming.
And even if we could have some form of conscious control of it, the job of coordination would be inordinately complex to try and manage. Even though there are trillions of these connections in the brain, we only need a much smaller number of messengers to perform all the necessary functions. We only need 26 letters to create the entirety of the English language, and so it is that the brain only needs the 200+ neurochemicals it naturally produces to create the entirety of the mind-body language. The variety of possibilities is almost endless.
And even on the level of a single neurochemical, the outcome can be very different depending on which site receives a given signal. A single transmitter can be responsible for pancreatic regulation at one branch of the system, and teenage crushes at another. And we wonder why we get ourselves so tangled up!
How does Vedic meditation help?
Vedic meditation works at all levels to restore balance to the system and bring calm to our lives. Firstly, by bringing balance to the central nervous system, we bring balance to the level of electrical excitation within a source neuron, ensuring that the correct levels of transmitters and hormones tend to be released. Secondly, it helps clear out the receptor sites, so that said messengers are received at the appropriate level and are not amplified by remnants of past signals. Thirdly, if the chemicals tend to be recycled back into the original neuron, we ensure there is no exhaustion in our supplies. Lastly, it helps build more efficient connections between neurons so that our internal signalling tends to become more efficient and so that we don’t generate inappropriate crushes when we should be generating digestive function!
For all these reasons, when we meditate on a regular basis, the mind begins to flourish, the body stops agitating us into a state of discord, and we find ourselves gliding through life’s events with much more ease, grace and internal quiescence.