Effortless Mind Meditation

The Gift of Your Nervous System

The gift of your nervous system is nothing short of miraculous. In the Kanakacchapa Sutta, the Buddha uses metaphor to depict the difficulty of obtaining a human birth, and by inference the incalculable value of the gift of your nervous system.

Imagine, he says, a blind turtle swimming in the ocean depths, and somewhere on the surface of the ocean floats the yoke of a cart tossed and turned by the wind and waves and tides. Now and then the turtle surfaces. What are the chances that in the infinity of time (were the turtle immortal and the yoke indestructible) the turtle might surface so that his head coincidentally comes up inside the yoke? Considering the vastness of the oceans, almost nil! Well, according to the Buddha, the likelihood of obtaining a human birth is even more rare—less than a thousandth of the chance the turtle has of getting yoked.

The point of this metaphor is, at the very least, to encourage us to make the most of this precious life.[1] Perform good deeds and spiritual practices with dedication as well as practice loving kindness and other virtues. Whether or not you’re inclined to heed such advice, or to believe in the preciousness of this human birth, if you meditate regularly, sooner or later you will experience the preciousness of the gift of your nervous system.

Why do I say this? Because you will begin to feel the miracle of activating your nervous system to experience subtler, blissful layers of existence—pure energy, shakti, cosmic energy, culminating in the experience of Source, your Self, the Divine—all within you. You will also experience more expansive layers of existence—this world with all its continents, the solar system, galaxies, and the entire cosmos—again, all within you. This is not mere imagination. All this is within the range of your direct, personal experience thanks to the gift of your human nervous system.

As a practical point, this assumes that you are meditating daily with dedication and using techniques that are effective at activating the subtle energies in the body, such as Effortless Mind® and associated practices. This is because the subtle energies of your energetic body are intimately related to your nervous system, which is the conduit for electrical impulses. As your energetic body is opened and activated, so is the functioning of your nervous system refined and optimized. Your clarity of cognition and intuition increases, you are filled with clear, blissful energy so that every action takes place in inner clarity and tangible joy. As this happens, you cannot but begin to appreciate what a miraculous instrument your nervous system is.

A great Indian sage, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, my first teacher’s teacher, often used to express this in his talks by saying that to spend your life striving only for physical comfort, pleasure, and wealth is like selling a diamond (human life with all its potential to realize the Divine) for the price of spinach. The sages do not use such expressions casually. They convey deep meaning and literal truth, which you can validate in your own experience. As you activate your nervous system to experience the Infinite and all It contains, as you experience Truth within yourself, you, too, will you know that your nervous system is a gift of incalculable, unutterable value. It is the mirror in which you may see, and realize, Infinity.

[1] Given the trillions of life forms on this planet alone (considering microscopic organisms as well as visible forms of life), though, the Buddha may have been speaking quite literally: human birth may indeed be so rare.