The science behind how and why meditation affects the structure and functioning of your brain
Meditation changes brain structure
Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice
The effect of meditation on the brain activity in tibetan meditators:
Here are a number of research based reports on the neurological effects of meditation practices
Also I refer you to the work of neurologist Andrew Newberg who is regarded as one of leading pioneers in the field of neuroscientific study of religious and spiritual experiences [increasingly referred to as neurotheology] and specifically how brain function is associated with meditative states, mystical and religious experiences.
Let's Try It!
Before we talk about it let's try it. Can you spare 3 minutes? Can I ask you to take 3 gentle deep breaths and just focus on the sensation of your breath flowing in and out through your nostrils.
Take 3 more breaths and focus on the sensation of your breathing as you look at the picture below.
Try to focus your eyes on the island with the swan on it in the middle of the picture.
Then slowly read the words below the picture.
Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to original oneness?
Can you step back from your own mind
and thus understand all things?
Tao Te Ching
OK what are you feeling - right now? Don't think about it. What word immediately arises? Just note it.
Do you feel slightly different after that? Maybe a subtle change in your energy level or slightly more relaxed?
Alternatively, maybe you feel irritated and a certain degree of resistance arising accompanied by thoughts of: "I don't do meditation" or "what the heck's this got to do with how to change your life?"
Or maybe you feel nothing?
The point is that it doesn't matter what you feel. The point is that you are aware - directly, of what you are feeling - and without comment, evaluation or assessment.
3 Recommended Meditation Techniques
There are many meditation techniques and meditation practises, but for practical purposes I would recommend 3 meditation techniques that all serve the purpose of developing a clear mind and reducing stress.
The exercise above illustrates the first and second of these three meditation techniques:
(1) Guided meditation
with a focal point which could for example be relaxation, or engendering specific qualities such as compassion, or developing insights into the nature of time, mortality.
(2) Mindfulness meditation where you just sit and observe (without narrative or analysis) your own thoughts and internal states,you also watch the recurring or autonomic nature of your thoughts and feelings and how you get immersed in them.
(3) Binaural meditation where you take advantage of binaural beat technology by listening through headphones to a prerecorded sound track with embedded binaural beats.
If you want more detail on the wider background to this overall subject, Wikipedia have a very detailed and thorough page HERE.
Here is a free introductory download to the basics of "How To Meditate"
Recommended Resources For Meditation Techniques
I have been aware of, and have used material from, "The Guided Meditation Site" for some time now.
The site is run Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke, B.Sc, Msc.D and I am a big fan of hs material.
Christopher is the author of numerous articles on the science of sound, Christopher regularly works with meditation teachers, holistic healers, hypnotherapists and personal development consultants to help them produce and distribute their guided audio productions.
Christopher's site is in itself a relaxing place to visit, he offers many free downloads and resources and a very wide of guided meditation material, relaxation and meditation music.
I commend it you:
Some years ago I saw an advert for a meditation product that promised me that I could meditate like a Zen master and without 25 years of practise several hours a day.
I was sceptical, but interested, and did some research.
Here is a summary of what I found:
No More Boredom + No More Years Of Training!
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