Monday, June 25, 2007

More on brain scans and meditation

I want to call your attention to another article on the neurological benefits of meditation. It's called "Brain scans show meditation changes minds, increases attention" and it's published in The University of Wisconsin-Madison News. Here's part of what it says:
For hundreds of years, Tibetan monks and other religious people have used meditation to calm the mind and improve concentration. This week, a new study shows exactly how one common type of meditation affects the brain.

Using a scanner that reveals which parts of the brain are active at any given moment, the researchers found that meditation increased activity in the brain regions used for paying attention and making decisions.
Practitioners were instructed to focus attention intently on a stimulus, and when the attention wandered off, to simply bring the attention back to the object, explains [study leader Richard] Davidson.
Davidson says scientific studies of meditation are proving traditional beliefs about the mental benefits of meditation. Yet although meditation is often associated with monks living a life of simplicity, poverty, and prayer, "There is nothing fundamentally mysterious about these practices; they can be understood in hard-nosed western scientific terms."

And, he adds, a growing body of "hard-nosed neuroscience research" is attracting attention to the profound effects of meditation.
This is not a matter of faith - although I do not want to belittle the role of faith in meditative practice. It is a matter of emperical demonstration. Meditation works. Please don't neglect it!

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