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What Does "Remember to Breathe" Mean?

The Core Experience

          There is a balanced state of our brain which is associated with an experience we refer to as "the core." We call it "the core" because when you’re having the experience, it feels as though there’s a core of inner calm, ease, and contentment deep inside you. 

          When your brain is in that balanced state, its different parts are communicating smoothly with each other, and they are communicating smoothly with the various systems of your body.

         The techniques we teach on this site will help you to experience your core. They help to enhance the neural connections in your brain that allow it to communicate more effectively both with itself and with the body, making that experience of calm, ease, and contentment more accessible. 

Remembering to Breathe

          You may have noticed the theme of this site is "remembering to breathe."  Remembering to breathe simply means remembering to pause from time to time during your day to do something that will help you connect to the experience of your core.  It could be something as simple as taking a few slow, deep breaths.  Or it could be using any one of the techniques on this site to help shift your attention to the calm, ease, and contentment of the core.

          Repeated moments of connecting to your core, over time, will make lasting changes in your brain and body.  The neural pathways in your brain that are associated with the experience of stress and tension become weaker, and the pathways associated with the experience of calm and well-being become stronger.  

          These changes make the experience of the core more readily available for you to enjoy.  Eventually you’ll be able to have an experience of the core even while you’re in the midst of activity – and that’s what we call, "living from the core."

The Hub of the Wheel

       To give you a sense of what it’s like to experience and live from the core, we’ve borrowed an image from Dr. Dan Siegel.  He calls it “The Wheel of Awareness.” 

       If you imagine that the center of your awareness is like the hub or center of a wheel, then everything you’re aware of is out on the rim of the wheel.  This includes the elements of your “inner” world – all your thoughts, emotions, memories, hopes, and fears – and the elements of the “outer” world – the people, places, and things you come into contact with each moment. 

          As long as your attention is anchored in the hub, it’s possible for you to stay calm and peaceful while at the same time being aware of things on the rim – even if those things are what you’d call "negative".

          When you remember to breathe – that is, when you shift your attention from the stuff on the rim of the wheel, inward to the hub of the wheel – you activate an area in the middle portion of your prefrontal cortex (the mid-prefrontal cortex, or MPFC, for short). When it’s activated, the MPFC naturally begins to balance and integrate the various parts of your brain and body. 

          Your MPFC can perform this balancing act more powerfully when it’s aligned with your “heart-brain” – a system of approximately 40,000 neurons surrounding the heart.  When aligned, these two brains can collaborate on decision-making and other important functions, bringing a more intuitive and heart-felt quality to those functions.   

          Don’t worry if you don’t quite get what we mean by remembering to breathe or living from the core.  If you practice regularly, you’ll begin to get glimpses of what it’s like to feel as if you have a core of peace, strength, and ease within you.  As that feeling gets richer and deeper over time, you’ll begin to feel more deeply connected to others and the world, you’ll spontaneously start acting with greater kindness and compassion toward others, and you may even get glimpses of ways you might contribute to making this a better world.

Other Site-In-A-Nutshell Pages: 

Bare Bones Techniques
How Do Techniques Change Your Brain?
How Do You Change Your Brain?
How Do You Develop Good Habits?
Creating a Program to Use the Techniques
to Change Your Life