In MIDL Mindfulness Training 37/52 you learn the deeper Softening skill of relaxing the frontal lobes of your brain in order to abandon all mental participation. There is a direct correlation between mental activity, such as thinking, and the experience of tension in the area of the frontal lobes. By bringing together your Softening skills, in particular gentle sighing, you can 'breathe into’ your frontal lobes, relaxing all mental tension and thereby abandoning all mental participation. This then creates the basis for skilfully deconditioning negative habitual thinking patterns and the desire to participate in addictions. Submit Your Question
Your Question: I noticed as this meditation deepened that less thoughts came up in my mind. Is this softening of our frontal lobes and thinking coming up less related?
Stephen Procter: Yes it is. Thinking relies on tension in the frontal lobes to exist, it is its soil. Through using the MIDL Softening skill and relaxing the tension in the frontal lobes thinking collapses. This skill can be refined to one gentle sigh when accuracy of awareness is developed.
Once learnt this becomes a Softening technique that can be applied throughout your day to soften any thought process that arises, combined with sustained mindfulness you can then choose and abandon any thought process that will lead to separation within your life. Unlike suppression or distraction techniques such as thought replacement or concentration, MIDL Softening neither fights the thought process or runs away from it, instead it relaxes it, thereby removing the soil leading to deconditioning through mindful non-participation
Your Question: I'm finding this one less helpful as it is based on imagined, rather than actual, experience. Still good but I prefer the other softening exercises.
Stephen Procter: The practice of Softening the frontal lobes is not imagined but an actual experience that can be clearly perceived through Softening training. Conventional words such as 'frontal lobes' are used as 'pointers' to communicate that which there is no language to describe. Keep investigating this and be careful of becoming caught in the language used - such as the physical frontal lobes.
Sensitivity to the experience of the frontal lobes of our brain is an important part of MIDL 'Softening' training. The frontal lobes of the brain are closely linked to one of the more dominating functions of the mind - the production of thought. Whenever a thought arises within the mind there is a corresponding tightening in the area of the frontal lobes. This tightness and the process of thinking can not be separated - when there is a thought present there is also tension present in the lobes.
Through learning to experience the area tension within the frontal lobes and using slow, gentle sighing out through the nose, it is possible to 'Soften / Relax' the 'effort' in frontal lobes of the brain. With the 'Softening / Relaxing' of the frontal lobes comes the dissolving of the thought process - all thinking collapses. This happens because thought can not exist without mental tension, they are mutually dependent.
This technique is extremely powerful and I have have great success working with people with deep seated traumatic memories. Once learnt, the ability to collapse a thought process at will, gives the power back to someone whose life is being traumatized by painful memories. As with all MIDL 'Softening' techniques, then, through Mindful Non-participation, the habitual pattern of reaction deconditions.