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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: brain science

Wildmind Meditation News

Sep 18, 2012

Stressed out? Try mindfulness meditation

Meryl Davids Landau, US News: One of the hottest forms of stress reduction today is actually one of the oldest: meditation. But the kind making the rounds of hospitals, community centers, and even schools in increasing numbers doesn’t involve chanting “Om” while sitting on a cushion with closed eyes; instead, participants are trained to pay attention to their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, and to view them neutrally, “without assigning an emotional value that they are strongly positive or negative,” says University of Wisconsin–Madison neuroscientist Richard Davidson, coauthor of The Emotional Life of Your Brain.

The idea is to allow parts of the …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Sep 13, 2012

The neuroscience of wellbeing

Jock Gilchrist, The Review: Meditation has been a central component of religious traditions for millennia. Various methods exist, but it generally consists of quieting the mind to achieve a state of relaxation and clarity. Buddhists use it to cultivate virtuous qualities like compassion and equanimity because in the meditative state, the mind is compared to malleable gold. As it turns out, the sages of old actually tapped into quite a literal truth.

Modern neurobiology hypothesizes that what we experience subjectively as a mood or emotion is underpinned by complex, systemic interactions of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Take, for example, antidepressants: they …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Jul 08, 2012

Stanford studies monks’ meditation, compassion

Meredith May: Stanford neuroeconomist Brian Knutson is an expert in the pleasure center of the brain that works in tandem with our financial decisions – the biology behind why we bypass the kitchen coffeemaker to buy the $4 Starbucks coffee every day.

He can hook you up to a brain scanner, take you on a simulated shopping spree and tell by looking at your nucleus accumbens – an area deep inside your brain associated with fight, flight, eating and fornicating – how you process risk and reward, whether you’re a spendthrift or a tightwad.

So when his colleagues saw him putting Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns into …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Apr 25, 2012

Distinct ‘God spot’ in the brain does not exist, researcher says

Scientists have speculated that the human brain features a “God spot,” one distinct area of the brain responsible for spirituality. Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences. Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.

“We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the …

Wildmind Meditation News

Nov 16, 2011

Rewiring the brain to ease pain

Melinda Beck: How you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels.

That’s the intriguing conclusion neuroscientists are reaching as scanning technologies let them see how the brain processes pain.

That’s also the principle behind many mind-body approaches to chronic pain that are proving surprisingly effective in clinical trials.

Some are as old as meditation, hypnosis and tai chi, while others are far more high tech. In studies at Stanford University’s Neuroscience and Pain Lab, subjects can watch their own brains react to pain in real-time and learn to control their response—much like building up a muscle …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Oct 15, 2011

Participants required for research into meditation and mindfulness, in Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University is looking for people interested in meditation and attention to take part in two separate research studies.

Researchers at the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology are currently conducting a number of research projects that aim to develop an understanding of the underlying processes of mindfulness and are looking for potential participants for these projects.

Mindfulness may be described as the ability to pay deliberate attention to our experience from moment to moment, to what is going on in our mind, body and day to day life and doing this without immediate judgment. Mindfulness may be inherent or trained by various techniques including meditation. It is increasingly being recognized that mindfulness has numerous everyday benefits.

A five-week study starting …

Rick Hanson PhD

Oct 10, 2011

How to have compassion

Compassion is essentially the wish that beings not suffer – from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to agony and anguish – combined with feelings of sympathetic concern.

You could have compassion for an individual (a friend in the hospital, a co-worker passed over for a promotion), groups of people (victims of crime, those displaced by a hurricane, refugee children), animals (your pet, livestock heading for the slaughterhouse), and yourself.

Compassion is not pity, agreement, or a waiving of your rights. You can have compassion for people who’ve wronged you while also insisting that they treat you better.

Compassion by itself opens your heart and …

Wildmind Meditation News

Oct 06, 2011

You can think your way out of pain

Mark Fenske: Between the heavy mallet and the paving stone, my misplaced finger didn’t stand a chance. But it wasn’t the sight of the bloody, smashed-apart fingernail or split-open fingertip that first made clear my mistake. It was the pain. That searing, body-tensing, tears-in-the-eyes pain.

The basic function of pain is to interrupt whatever else is going on and draw our attention to the fact that something is wrong, that the body is facing or has already suffered some kind of damage. Sensory nerves, called nociceptors (i.e. danger receptors) detect elements capable of body-tissue damage, such as pressure or extreme heat. The nerves’…

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Rick Hanson PhD

Oct 03, 2011

See the good in others

Many interactions these days have a kind of bumper-car quality to them. At work, at home, on the telephone, via email: we sort of bounce off of each other while we exchange information, smile or frown, and move on. How often do we actually take the extra few seconds to get a sense of what’s inside other people – especially their good qualities?

In fact, because of what scientists call the brain’s “negativity bias” (you could see my talk at Google for more on this), we’re most likely to notice the bad qualities in others rather than the good ones: the things that worry or annoy us, or …

Rick Hanson PhD

Sep 27, 2011

Drop the tart tone

Tone matters.

I remember times I felt frazzled or aggravated and then said something with an edge to it that just wasn’t necessary or useful. Sometimes it was the words themselves: such as absolutes like “never” or always,” or over-the-top phrases like “you’re such a flake” or “that was stupid.” More often it was the intonation in my voice, a harsh vibe or look, interrupting, or a certain intensity in my body. However I did it, the people on the receiving end usually looked like they’d just sucked a lemon. This is what I mean by tart tone.

People are more sensitive to tone than to the explicit content …