with Jeremy Westcott –
We are continuing to look at building our spirit through meditation.
Everything we perceive goes into the brain. Whatever we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch, the information comes in through our senses and is relayed there via various pathways. When we see something, for example, light comes in through our eye and is projected, upside down, onto our retina. That information travels along the optic nerve to the brain, which then interprets it – in this case, turning it the right way up.
So if I am teaching on a Sunday, looking at a room full of people, I am not seeing them where they are, out there seated in their chairs. I am actually seeing them in my own brain. But I have learnt to interpret those messages to mean that there are people are out there, and I can tell pretty accurately how far away they are. We all do that, all the time. But we had to learn that spatial awareness as we were growing up.
Sorting by relevance
Now there is a part of the brain called the hippocampus which is a shredder machine. All the irrelevant information that goes into your brain, everything that is not important to you, gets shredded. You may see everything, hear everything, feel everything – but you don’t retain it because most of it doesn’t really matter too much. Those things that do matter can be stored. The sorting happens by repetition.
For instance if I walked into a room in a building where I had never been before and the lights went off I would struggle to find my way out. But if I walked into the Freedom Centre and all the lights went off, even if it was pitch black, no problem. That’s because I have been in the Freedom Centre hundreds of times and I know my way around. My imagination would be able to show me, even though I couldn’t see naturally, because that information has been stored in my brain. I could describe the building to someone, and where everything is in it, because I’ve been here many times and I remember. My brain knows that the information has some value because I have repeated it over and over again.
Again, most of our church members could not tell you what the pattern is on the carpet in the main hall of the Freedom Centre, even though they may have seen it many times and walked over it every time they have been here. I can tell you exactly what the pattern is: I know because I have been face down on it so often that I remember it. It is three little dots going at different angles in different colours. That information may not actually be all that important to me, but my brain has assigned it relevance because of repetition.
Meditation is going over and over something in your mind, drawing the truth from it. As time goes on, because of the constant repetition, your brain learns that this is something important to you, and stores the information instead of shredding it. When it comes to meditating on the word of God and interacting with the Spirit of God, I know that if you don’t repeat these things regularly then your brain will not treat the information you acquire as something that’s important or valuable to you. It that happens, you risk losing it.
With repetition, synapses close and form a neural pathway to the memories, which are stored in our heart, in our subconscious. Trauma can cause the same thing to happen instantly. Sometimes something happens to you which is so severe that you form an instant memory and you can’t get rid of it. This often happens to people involved in wars or serious accidents. You may have experienced it yourself. Sometimes, though, the trauma can be so severe that your brain actually forms pathways around the memory of the event so that you can’t remember it at all. You block it out, or you dissociate from it – that’s what happens with people who have multiple personality disorder. It is a form of protection against the effects of severe trauma.
Just as we may sense everything physical but don’t retain it all, we also sense everything spiritual. But most of us can’t remember spiritual sensations or information because we have no anchor for it. That is because we don’t go back and repeat the experiences, nor do we have them often enough. If we want to grow in the realms of the spirit we need to stimulate the right side of our brain by speaking in tongues and meditating regularly and on purpose. As we do, we will find that we are having (and retaining memory of) visions, dreams, pictures and so on. The more we repeat the process the more the information gets stored rather than shredded.
Through meditation, through repetition, through agreement with the truth, those memories get stored and become something we are able to use. The revelation that comes from the word of God becomes something that we start to live from. As we operate in it, we experience it in increased measure and begin to manifest the truth of God’s word around our lives.
If you don’t know what’s the word of God says by experience then you are simply acting like a parrot when you speak it. A parrot can speak words but it does not know what they mean. We need to become those who have the word in us so that when we speak it, we speak it with the same authority and power as the person who wrote it, the Holy Spirit. That, too, comes by learning how to meditate.
Use it or lose it
We can help the process by writing out what God has revealed to us in the word, reviewing it and revisiting it. Experiences, evenly heavenly ones, are easily forgotten. The principle of ‘use it or lose it’ definitely applies in this case. God used to speak to me all the time through the Bible. Whenever He would speak, the words would jump off the page and I would think ‘oh that’s very good’, and I would underline the passage or highlight it and then go on to read something else.
One day He said, ‘When are you going to use your Bible as something more than a filing cabinet? When are you going to get the truth, and live from the truth of the words that I speak to you?’
That changed my whole understanding of how to read scripture. When I come across a word that speaks to me I will stop until I draw every bit of truth that I can out of that word. I have sometimes spent a month or two just on one verse. And now, those have become scriptures I actually live from. They are now foundational truths to my life. I live out of that revelation that God has given me because I took the verse and spoke it to myself, going over and over it drawing God’s revelation from it.
Now when I read the Bible I don’t always need to read a whole chapter or a whole section. I might sometimes read one word. God can give me revelation from that one word that changes my life. Now I have the word of God as a deposit in my life because I walk around full of it. When I meditate on the word of God, it starts forming pictures and visions. It joins up and links up and forms connections because I carry a deposit of the truth within me through meditating over it for a long time.
All of us need to have that. Meditation opens a doorway to vision, encounter and experience. When our visions, encounters and experience are anchored in the word we have received, we can go over them again and again, and our brain will then categorise them as important to us, and store them.
Store or shred? The choice is ours.
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