On the Need for Vigilance

(NEURO Sculpting) If it's plastic, sculpt it. (Photo sourced from The Neurosculpting Institute.)

(NEURO Sculpting) If it’s plastic, sculpt it. (Photo sourced from The Neurosculpting Institute.)

In a random search for inspiration, what I found was this:


The blurb on the homepage reads: “The Neurosculpting® Institute is a learning center committed to teaching the union of neuroscience and meditational studies. Our mission is to put mindfulness practices into plain English, and science into a spiritual imperative.”

The rest of the page is devoted to a four-point explication on why you should “neurosculpt yourself” (to “manage your stress,” to “improve your health,” to “discover calm and joy,” and to “connect to others”). Other pages make references to “disengaging your limbic brain,” “engaging your prefrontal cortex,” and “reshaping your neurological patterns”—while alluding to “archetypal experiences” and “shamanic journeys.”

Part of me finds the whole thing fascinating; another part of me finds it unsettling. This is where personal development meets high science and where the decades-old self-help movement gets a linguistic makeover.

What I appreciate about things like “neurosculpting” is that they potentially offer scientifically-based and empirically-validated methods for achieving goals previously pursued under a haze of good intentions and/or New Age disciplines. What I worry about when I think about things like “neurosculpting” is that they may simply be a savvy marketer’s ménage à trois of good intentions, New Age disciplines and scientific jargon (I’d personally give an Effie Award to whoever came up with the word “neurosculpting”). It’s science at its sexiest—and people don’t think very scientifically in the presence of the sexy.

All of which simply means: we have to be mindful about how we practice mindfulness. In this day and age, hypervigilance is key.

2 thoughts on “On the Need for Vigilance

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi there! First, let me say I’m honored you took the time to look at the site. I am the founder of both the term, which is trademarked to me, and the modality. It is the distillation of over 30 years of my meditation training that failed to serve me as deeply as my dysfunctional nervous system needed. So I turned to science in the last decade to understand better what my brain needed to heal a sever vasovagal condition. Once I got educated I found a more strategic way to tell the brain the stories it needed and make them stick. I work with law enforcement agencies domestically and internationally teaching this technique…so it’s far from fluffy. I do hope you explore a bit more of what our institute has to offer. We have a totally free library you can sign up for on the site with over 300 science articles about recent research in neuroplasticity. We also have our introductory courses via live stream. Thanks for your blog. We appreciate it.

    Lisa Wimberger, Founder of the Neurosculpting® Institute


    • Eileen says:

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for your thoughtful and considerate response and for taking the time to formulate it. I’m glad to hear that your approach belongs to the cutting-edge of the technologies currently being offered to help people improve the quality of their lives. There’s a great need for this kind of personally-motivated work. I apologize if I caused any offense. None was intended. I’m merely a member of a tradition of critical thought whose sense of caution has been sharpened by personal experience. I will look into your library (thank you for mentioning it!) and I wish you all the best in your endeavors.


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