Sarah Rudell Beach, Huffington Post: You’ve begun your meditation practice. You know all the amazing benefits of meditation and are excited about this change in your routine.
And then problems set in: body aches, itching, thoughts, sleepiness. Who ever thought just sitting could be so hard?!
I’ve practiced meditation for several years, and while I enjoy meditating, I’ve hit some bumps along the way, too. We all encounter bumps along the way, don’t we? The thing is, there are no problems in meditation.
A problem is only a “problem” when we perceive it as such. In fact, meditation is a great way to …
Linking of mind and brain has three important implications.
First, as your mind changes, your brain changes. Your brain changes both temporarily, millisecond by millisecond, AND it changes in lasting ways because – in the famous saying of the Canadian psychologist, Donald Hebb – “neurons that fire together, wire together.”
The fleeting flow of experience leaves behind lasting marks on your brain, much like a spring shower leaves little tracks on a hillside.
For example, the fine motor areas of pianists are measurably thicker than those of non-pianists. Similarly, the portions of the hippocampus that are responsible for spatial memory are discernibly thicker in experienced London taxi drivers compared to when they started their training. … Read more »
Fred Cicetti, LiveScience.com: Meditation definitely reduces stress. And too much stress is bad for your health.
There is some research that indicates meditation may help with: Allergies, anxiety, asthma, binge eating, cancer, depression, fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, pain, sleep difficulties and substance abuse.
I started meditating in 1976, when Dr. Herbert Benson published his book, “The Relaxation Response.”
The techniques he advocated work. In the years since, I’ve found that, when I forget to meditate, I get a stress buildup. As soon as I meditate, I feel better. And the effects of the meditation carry through the day.
I studied Zen Buddhist …
Carmine Gallo, Forbes: A French monk said to be “The world’s happiest man” because of his abnormal capacity for joy once told me that he doesn’t get stage fright because he has eradicated “mental toxins.” Matthieu Ricard is also a strong advocate and teacher of meditation as a powerful tool to calm the mind. Ricard believes that we underestimate the transformative power of our mind. The world’s happiest man doesn’t get stage fright because he has learned to calm the voices in his head. How does he do it? Could meditation play a key role? If it works for Ricard, it might benefit …
Martin LeFevre, Costa Rican Times: “Thoughts That Can’t Be Spoken” is a fascinating piece about a writer’s experience of a stroke. Alberto Manguel describes what happened after “a blood clot in one of the arteries that feeds my brain had blocked for a few minutes the passage of oxygen.” The essay offers much unintended insight into the neurological basis of the meditative state.
During and after his stroke, the Manguel said that it was as if “thought had become demagnetized and was no longer capable of attracting the words supposed to define it.” Declaring that “thought forms itself in the mind by means …
In this last part of the discussion we’ll examine the neural correlates and morality and summarize the discussion.
Do Neural Correlates Mean There’s No Soul?
The last sentence in the article on the NPR site really caught my eye: “If something as complex as morality has a mechanical explanation, [the scholar said], it will be hard to argue that people have, or need, a soul.”
First, to repeat the point made in the previous blog post, it’s simplistic to claim that morality has a … Read more »
In Part I we discussed the meaning of the words mind, brain and God and saw how the mind and the brain are interdependent.
In this segment we’ll go into the popular arguments for and against God and further into the link between the mind and the brain.
Proofs and Disproofs
Lately, numerous authors have tried to rebut beliefs in God (e.g., The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins), while others have tried to rebut the rebuttals (e.g., Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case against God). The intensity of these debates is often startling; people commonly talk past each other, arguing at different levels; and the “evidence” marshaled for one view or another is often … Read more »
With all the research on mind/brain connections these days – Your brain in lust or love! While gambling or feeling envious! While meditating, praying, or having an out-of-body experience! – it’s natural to wonder about Big Questions about the relationships among the mind, the brain, and God.For instance, some people have taken the findings that some spiritual experiences have neural correlates to mean that the hand of God is at work in the brain. Others have interpreted the same research to mean that spiritual experiences are “just” neural, and thus evidence against the existence of God or other supernatural forces. These debates are updated versions of longstanding philosophical and religious wrestlings with how God and … Read more »
Sophia Breene, Health: Ready to get Zen? Meditation can do way more than people think—and it’s not just for hippies. Practicing meditation regularly has legitimate health advantages, especially for the brain. Studies suggest meditation can do it all: reduce anxiety and sensitivity to pain, make us smarter, ward off sickness, and prevent stress. If carving out an hour to sit on a cushion doesn’t float your boat, there are many unexpected ways to meditate every day. Get the benefits of meditation by trying out an alternative style from the list below.
Standing meditation. Standing instead of sitting to meditate can relieve lower back…
Kate Bradley, Demand Media: Taoist meditation evolved in China over thousands of years and is one of Taoists’ most important tools for achieving the ultimate goal of inner peace by focusing on the body, mind and breath. While methods and goals vary somewhat, Taoist meditation generally aims to improve the creation, quality, and circulation of internal energy through certain movements, chants, and breathing techniques.
There are two primary components of Taoist mediation: Jing (meaning “calm” or “still”) and ding (meaning “focus” or “concentration”). Taoist meditators seek internal stillness that will allow them to focus entirely on their purpose…