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You are browsing all posts tagged with the topic: neuroscience

Rick Hanson PhD

Jul 25, 2014

Is the intention a goal or already realized?

golden hourDo you express the intention as a goal or as something already realized?

This gets at a recurring question, even a debate, in Buddhism (and also in psychology and in some religions): Is it about progressing toward an enlightened state, or is it about uncovering the enlightened condition that has always been present? I can’t do justice here to the nuances of that consideration, but I can say what many wise people think is at the marrow of the matter: both are true. (Darn that middle way.)

In other words, it is powerful to focus on intention both as an aim toward a target, and as something that is already the case. The …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jul 13, 2014

How addiction can affect brain connections

wildmind meditation newsDeborah Becker, WBUR: As much of the country grapples with problems resulting from opioid addiction, some Massachusetts scientists say they’re getting a better understanding of the profound role the brain plays in addiction.

Their work is among a growing body of research showing that addiction is a complex brain disease that affects people differently. But the research also raises hopes about potential treatments.

Among the findings of some University of Massachusetts Medical School scientists is that addiction appears to permanently affect the connections between areas of the brain to almost “hard-wire” the brain to support the addiction.

They’re also exploring the neural roots …

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Rick Hanson PhD

Jul 08, 2014

Emotion in the brain

Young boy playing in the sprinklers outdoorsThe major brain regions that support emotional processing include the limbic system – particularly the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus – and the prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), nucleus accumbens, and insula. Technical note: there are two hippocampi, one in each hemisphere of the brain; the same for the two amygdalae, ACCs, and insulae. Following common practice, we’ll mainly use the singular form.

By the way, as an interesting evolutionary detail, the limbic system seems to have evolved from the olfactory (scent) neural circuitry in the brain developed by our ancient mammal ancestors, living around 180 million years ago. They seem to have used their advanced sense …

Rick Hanson PhD

Jul 01, 2014

Be mind full of good

Reaaching Up Into The SkyIt’s kind of amazing: right now, what you think and feel, enjoy and suffer, is changing your brain. The brain is the organ that learns, designed by evolution to be changed by our experiences: what scientists call experience-dependent neuroplasticity.

Neurons that fire together, wire together. This means that each one of us has the power to use the mind to change the brain to change the mind for the better. To benefit oneself and other beings.

Using this internal power is more important than ever these days, when so many of us are pushed and prodded by external forces – the economy, media, politics, workplace policies, war on the other …

Rick Hanson PhD

Jun 18, 2014

Integration of mind and brain

??????????????????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. …

Wildmind Meditation News

Jun 17, 2014

How two minutes of mindfulness can calm a class and boost attainment

wildmind meditation newsMatthew Jenkin, The Guardian: Buddhists have practised mindfulness for more than 2,000 years, but the technique of focusing on the present moment has long been dismissed by scientists as new age mumbo jumbo. Now, though, the West is finally waking up to the benefits of Eastern meditation and schools are discovering a daily dose of silent reflection can not only calm a classroom but may improve academic performance.

In recent years, medical science has discovered the extent to which mindfulness can help treat a range of mental conditions, from stress to depression. While most studies have focused on adults, new research shows mindfulness can …

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Wildmind Meditation News

Jun 16, 2014

What does mindfulness meditation do to your brain?

wildmind meditation newsTom Ireland, Scientific American: As you read this, wiggle your toes. Feel the way they push against your shoes, and the weight of your feet on the floor. Really think about what your feet feel like right now – their heaviness.

If you’ve never heard of mindfulness meditation, congratulations, you’ve just done a few moments of it. More people than ever are doing some form of this stress-busting meditation, and researchers are discovering it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly.

Originally an ancient Buddhist meditation technique, in recent years mindfulness has evolved into a range …

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Bodhipaksa

Jun 09, 2014

Turning problems into spiritual opportunities

treesI remember one day, thirty years ago, when I was living in Glasgow, Scotland, and was depressed. I can’t remember what I was feeling down about, exactly, although it definitely wasn’t a clinical depression. There were just things in my life that weren’t going well, and I was taking things too seriously. But there I was, in a state of self-pity, heading home on the bus. It was a rainy night, and being on a bus in Glasgow when it’s dark and raining, and the windows are running with condensation, is not a cheery experience. I guess I spent much of the bus-ride mulling over my woes and talking myself deeper into …

Wildmind Meditation News

May 18, 2014

Concentrative or nondirective meditation? Which does science say works better?

wildmind meditation newsScience2.0.com: Mindfulness. Zen. Meditation drumming. Chakra. Buddhist and transcendental meditation. It evokes eastern mystics and hip elites in California pretending to to leave their corporeal forms behind and achieve some higher state of being.

But what about poor stressed-out wretches that can’t afford to fly in big-name Yogis? What does the research say? Not much.

But researchers would like to change that – fMRI imaging can tell us very little about what is really happening, but it’s a start. The authors of a new paper on meditation say that different meditation techniques can actually be divided into two main groups.

One type is concentrative …

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Wildmind Meditation News

May 15, 2014

What neuroscience can teach us about compassion

wildmind meditation newsCarolyn Gregoire, Huffington Post: Mounting evidence of the impact of contemplative practices like meditation (which we now know can, quite literally, rewire the brain) are finally bringing modern science up to speed with ancient wisdom.

Mindfulness and compassion — the practices of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment, and extending a loving awareness to others — are part of every religion and wisdom tradition, and we’re at last beginning to understand the profound impact that they have on the brain, says psychiatrist and mindfulness expert Dr. Dan Siegel.

A pioneer in the field of interpersonal neurobiology and executive director of the Mindsight Institute …

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