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 Post subject: Science explores meditation's effect on the brain
 Post Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 10:54 am 
He is a monk who has overcome evil

He who wholly subdues evil-deeds born small and great, is called a monk because he has overcome all evil. - Dhammattha Vagga - The Dhammapada

Science explores meditation's effect on the brain

by Lionel Wijesiri
CDN/ 12 Oct 2005

Scientists are now taking advantage of new technologies to see exactly what goes on inside the brains of Buddhist monks and other individuals when they meditate intensively and regularly. The neuroscientists have discovered that regular meditation actually alters the way the brain is wired, and that these changes could be at the heart of claims that meditation can improve health and well-being.

In 1998, Dr. James Austin, a neurologist, wrote the book 'Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness'. Several mindfulness researchers cite his book as a reason they became interested in the field. In it, Austin examines consciousness by intertwining his personal experiences with meditation with explanations backed up by hard science. When he describes how meditation can "sculpt" the brain, he means it literally and figuratively.

Before Austin, others had aimed to teach meditation to individuals without experience but who hoped to reap mental and physical health benefits. In 1975, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in USA., where they continue to practice and teach meditation.

Salzberg has written several books, including 'Faith and Loving-kindness,' 'The Revolutionary Art of Happiness'. Kornfield holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India.

Effects of meditation

For decades, researchers at the Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin have sought to document how meditation enhances the qualities societies need in their human capital: sharpened intuition, steely concentration, and plummeting stress levels.

What's different today is groundbreaking research showing that when people meditate, they alter the biochemistry of their brains. The evolution of powerful mind-monitoring technologies has also enabled scientists to scan the minds of meditators on a microscopic scale, revealing fascinating insights about the plasticity of the mind and meditation's ability to sculpt it.

Some of those insights have emerged in the lab of Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Throughout his career, Davidson has pondered why people react so differently to the same stressful situations, and for the past 20 years he has been conducting experiments to find out.

Davidson has been placing electrodes on meditating Buddhist monks as they sit on his lab floor watching different visual stimuli - including disturbing images of war - flash on a screen. Davidson and his team then observe the monks as they meditate while ensconced in the clanking, coffin-like tubes of MRI machines.

What the researchers see are brains unlike any they have observed elsewhere. The monks' left prefrontal cortices - the area associated with positive emotion - are far more active than in non-meditators' brains.

In other words, he says, the monks' meditation practice, which changes their neural physiology, enables them to respond with equanimity to sources of stress.

Meditation doesn't make meditators sluggish or apathetic ; it simply allows them to detach from their emotional reactions so they can respond appropriately.

"In our country, people are very involved in the physical-fitness craze, working out several times a week," says Davidson. "But we don't pay that kind of attention to our minds. Modern neuroscience is showing that our minds are as plastic as our bodies. Meditation can help you train your mind in the same way exercise can train your body."

Davidson's research didn't stop with the monks. To find out whether meditation could have lasting, beneficial effects in the workplace, he performed a study at Madison Biotech Company employees. Four dozen employees met once a week for eight weeks to practice mindfulness meditation for three hours.

The result, published last year in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, showed that the employees' left pre-fontal cortices were enlarged, just like those of the monks (but not that much). "We took typical, middle-class Americans trying to cope with the demands of an active work life and active family life who reported being relatively stressed out," says Davidson.

"And what we found out is that after a short time meditation had profound effects not just on how they felt but on their brains and bodies."

Cancer patients

In a series of experiments conducted at Canada's Princess Margaret Hospital, cancer pain patients have found out that profound changes are possible with meditation. Take the case of Melissa Munroe, a first-class professional athletic in Canada.

After being diagnosed with cancer about six year ago, Melissa Munroe suffered excruciating pain as tumours pressed against her nerves and organs. Making things worse was the trauma of her diagnosis. It was shocking, because Munroe had led such a healthy lifestyle.

Munroe said, "I've never drank alcohol in my whole life, never smoked cigarettes in my whole life, and never done drugs in my whole life. It was a shock to me when I was diagnosed with cancer."

At Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital where she underwent chemotherapy, Munroe took a meditation program with psychiatrist Dr. Tatiana Melnyk. Munroe soon learned that pain is not just a physical sensation, but can be made worse through anxiety.

Daily meditation helped her isolate her pain and manage it, despite her initial reservations. "I was the biggest sceptic. I wasn't sold on it because I'd never tried it. But what I didn't realize is that if people have ever found themselves taking a walk in the countryside, in the forest, or on a nice pleasant autumn day . and find themselves in a bit of a contemplative state, that's a form of meditation."

The meditation was so effective that Munroe was able to avoid any pain medication. She also decided to take a seminar with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, who pioneered the use of medical meditation at the University of Massachusetts. "I really enjoyed it. I can relate to anybody who's logical, rationale, and who uses common sense. Jon Kabat-Zinn literally just describes how we just kind of get in the way of ourselves and complicate our lives when our lives maybe aren't that complicated."

While Munroe initially tried meditation to manage her chronic pain on the advice of a colleague, she soon learned that the program was having a profound impact on her general sense of well-being. She is now highly enthusiastic about meditation, and speaks eloquently about the process as only a daily practitioner could.

"It's not about ignoring your thoughts," Munroe says, "It's like when you're walking down a street on the sidewalk in the city and there's people walking in the opposite direction. You see them in the distance, they come closer and then they pass you by. Well, it's the same thing with thoughts as you meditate. It's not about avoiding the thought, because the very effort that you put into avoiding the thought steers you away from a meditative state."

Munroe sees meditation as a way to raise a person's quality of life by learning to focus on what's important, and ignore fleeting and meaningless desires. For patients like Munroe, who has learned to regain control of her life by gaining control of her pain, meditation is now a natural part of her daily existence. She encourages everyone to try it.

 Post subject: Brain, consciousness and meditation.
 Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:27 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:07 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Israel
The man acts: 1) usually under logic program,
2) sometimes on intuition (unconsciousnessly).
============= ======= =============
Brain of a man approximately consists of sixteen milliards neurons.
All of them form the system that manages human body.
That is why, it is of no wonder, that with the work of all the
sixteen milliards neutrons of brain, a man cannot catch a single impulse of
Electron, Quantum of light, his God:
(mass of electron is equal 10^-31 kg., charge of electron is equal 10^-19 k.)
Quantum of light, Spiritual particle, which had created us, turned out to be under control
of the material existence. However, the spiritual particle aspires to establish its supremacy
over material nature. And the possibilities to reign over material nature are limited.
The expansion of the possibilities of the development of spiritual particle is connected
with the creation of specific (vacuum) conditions. These conditions are reached
as a result of constant religious practice.
To perceive the universe, to perceive the spiritual essence, it is necessary
for the man to take possession of religious practice.
We pray the GOD and we do not realize that HE is inside us.
Each of us carries in himself the SPIRITUAL PARTICLE
But we do not realize that HE is inside us.
Behind the habitual forces of nature there is one force hidden - a spiritual one (h - e).
But ITS action is almost completely disguised with the other forces
(mechanical, electromagnetic, nuclear, chemical and others),
therefore it remains unnoticed in an ordinary processes.
But God never operates outside of natural principles.
There are the processes in which He reveals himself.
Therefore, His disclosing is a technical question.
How can we learn it?
For this purpose it is necessary to create the following effects in our computer-brain:
A). Nonlinear effect
B). Superconducting effect
C). Holographic effect
D). Vacuum effect.
Nobody, except us, can make this technical work.
Only we (by the constant, thin, internal practice) can create conditions for these effects.
This practice has called "a Religious practice".
In this lies an essence of Religion - to establish the communication of a Human being with his Divine origin.

* * *
Our computer-brain works on a dualistic basis.
In a usual daily life all we do is done logically, under an influence of our feelings.
On the other hand, in a religious practice we learn to perceive and to operate:
1) Without the participation of the sense organs.
2) Without the participation of the logic mental processes.
When these conditions will be created, then the opportunity to operate will be given
We will acquire new forces, new abilities.
Once again.
An electron's mass is 10^-28gr . The size is 10^-13sm. A charge is 10^-19k .
With these characteristics it is hard for IT to appear.
Therefore it is clear, why we don't know IT in our ordinary life.
ITS cognition is achieved by a very hard, thin and laborious work.
This work demands of a person to be devoted to it.
On the question:
What inhale the Life in formulas and equations ?
What must be present in a body to make it alive ?
The answer is:
Soul. Quantum of Light.
Because, from all particles, only and only the quantum of light is a privileged particle.
Best wishes.

 Post subject: Brain and Consciousness.
 Post Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:55 am 

Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:07 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Israel
The man has two kinds of consciousness:
( dualism of consciousness)
1. Computer - Self or Ego (usual) consciousness.
2. “cosmic consciousness”
The cosmic consciousness develops during meditation.
Buddha teaches the man to reach the cosmic consciousness.
To achieve this cosmic consciousness it is necessary to calm
all 16 billion neurons of own brain.
In the meditation we must gets rid of
computer - Self or Ego (usual) consciousness.
This consciousness itself is an obstacle.
The meditation is difficult work,
which demands constant and thin attention.
Best wishes.

 Post subject:
 Post Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:07 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Israel
When the pupil is ready the Teacher comes.
The Buddhist monks say:
“ The man having consciousness is happy.
But more happy the man who does not have consciousness. “
If to say this quotation to a modern man he will look
at you as a moron. He will not understand you.
The modern man is proud of his consciousness.
He likes to repeat Descartes quotation:
“ I think, therefore I am “
But the Buddhist monks, trained in meditation, begin
conscious awareness, the "I think not, therefore I am"
The Buddhist monks know about what they speak.
They know about what the Buddha has spoken.
And they try to achieve this happiness.

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