Supportive research on the impact of daily practices
Effective practices are based on the cycle of awareness, intention, and attention, and grounded in neuroscience research.
What is the science behind our practices?
Practices of awareness, intention and attention have been used for thousands of years in many of the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions. It is only in the last few decades, however, that science has caught up in its understanding of the importance of practices and knowledge of what makes practices effective.
Traditional organizational methods for opening the field of awareness include organizational performance review processes, 360 degree feedback instruments, training in feedback processes or coaching, etc. Neuroscience research, however, demonstrates that expanding the field of awareness is much more about helping people move into their reflective observer self (pre-frontal cortex) rather than providing more data analytical processing. Practices accomplish just that, deepening individuals’ abilities to sense, reflect, and find the still point that allows them to open to their larger and more aware self.
The practice of Intention involves holding a desired outcome, pattern, dream, or goal – something we are fully claiming as the focus of our efforts and our desired creation. Research presented in “The Intention Experiment” (get citation) demonstrates how holding an intention (a thought form) in and of itself shifts the patterns in the field.
Practices of intention represent a significant shift from our more common problem-focused approach. Through the practice of intentionality, we are inviting clients to leave problem-focused training and solution-oriented thinking in the past and focus on creating the new or preferred state. When we focus more directly on our intentions, picturing the new state or new behaviors, we energize new neural connections and new mental maps. In this way, we are much more likely to develop and hardwire the circuitry and create dominant pathways for the new state or new behaviors to occur.
The practice of attention involves holding our focus in a sustained way, until moments of insight (and new neural connections) occur. Scientific studies on moments of insight have found that gamma waves in the brain appear just prior to moments of insight, and those high frequency oscillations are conducive to creating links across many parts of the brain. So with enough attention density, new neural connections are made, and new patterns of thought and behavior are able to occur.
For a full review of the neuroscience research behind our practices, see “The Neuroscience of Effective Practices: Theoretical Foundations“.