Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

Meditate For a Swifter Brain

March 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 112

The benefits of regular meditation are well known - the relaxation response it engenders can result in lower blood pressure, decreased heart and respiratory rates and can even level out mood swings. New research from UCLA suggests that the long-term practice of meditation leads to beneficial brain changes called gyrification, a "folding" of the cerebral cortex, that are believed to promote and enhance the speed at which the brain processes information. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of brain tissue that is key to memory, attention, thought and consciousness. The UCLA team compared MRIs of the brains of 23 long-time meditators to 16 controls matched for age, sex and whether they were left or right handed. The meditators had used various meditation modalities for an average of 20 years. The investigators reported that the MRIs showed higher levels of gyrification in the brains of the meditators than were seen in the controls' brains; they also found a correlation between the number of meditation years and the amount of gyrification. The study was published online on February 29, 2012 by the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

It's interesting that this study reflects the supposition of many traditional teachers of meditation. According to masters of meditation, the aim of the practice is not merely relaxation, but rather they promise that it can calm an agitated consciousness, creating optimal physical and mental health and that ultimately it can help restructure the mind. I usually begin my day with some sitting meditation and breathing. I sit and just observe my breath and what is going on in my body. I don't try to stop thoughts, I try to note them, and just witness them.

Meditating on Your Breathing-The Technique: As with any other mental approach to relaxation--the ultimate goal of meditation is to make contact with the unconscious and break an unending chain of countless inner forms, thoughts, feelings, memories, and ideas which are always with us, even if we are physically shut off from the outer world. Meditation is the process which helps to break this chain of random thoughts and impressions by allowing us to learn to do one thing at a time. By concentrating on a single thing--whether it be your breath, your garden, or your jogging---you will enter not only an altered state of consciousness, but also an altered (and more positive) state of physiology.

To practice this meditation exercise, sit quietly in a position where your back is straight, supported, if need be, by the back of the chair. Close your eyes.

Make a quick inventory of your body, checking for any special tensions, tightness or discomforts in your muscles. If you find some tension, breathe in and then, on exhalation, gently but firmly relax your muscles as much as possible.

When your physical evaluation is completed, you should perform a mental and emotional inventory. If you find any special anxiety or uncomfortable thought, experience it for a few moments, but then ease it out of your mind. Rather than trying to force it away, simply allow the thought to flow out of your awareness by turning your attention away from it. You may not be able to remove yourself entirely from your concerns, but at least this method provides a start.

You should now be relaxed both physically and mentally. Begin the breathing approach, without forcing your attention to it. Instead of attempting to coerce away thoughts that distract you from your breathing, let them come. When you become aware of them, consciously return all your attention to your breathing. During a ten-to-twenty minute meditation session, you can anticipate that your mind will wander away many times. But be patient. You are still meditating well, even if your mind does wander. The meditation process consists of bringing your mind back, time after time, to your breathing, until focused attention becomes a habit. Rather than just centering on your breathing, you may find it easier to count breaths. As you inhale, silently count "one". In exhalation, say "and" the next breath is "two," and so on, until you get to "four," when you begin again. If you lose count, don't worry about it, start again at "one."

As you concentrate on your breathing-- whether by visualizing, counting, or any other method--do not try to alter or control it in any way. Instead, let your breathing regulate itself, spontaneously and effortlessly.

About ten to twenty minutes after beginning this exercise, you should be ready to conclude it. Stop concentrating on your breathing. This will return you to your normal stream of awareness. Blink your eyes several times, then open them and sit quietly for a minute or two. When you get up, you will feel refreshed and energized.

There is a great range of initial responses to this meditation exercise. People discover themselves replaying worries or problems they have, finding it impossible to still these thoughts. However, it may be reassuring simply to know that these problems are common. Skill at relaxation cannot be bought ready-made; it must be gradually developed. Even when it seems you are not making any progress, the exercise is probably having some beneficial effects.

SOURCE: Courtesy: " The Power of Breathing."

Dr. Sukhraj S. Dhillon has an advanced degree in life sciences and molecular biology from the west and a fascination with yoga, breathing, religion and spirituality from the east crafted out of studies at Yale University, U.S.A. and Punjab University, India. Therefore, he is uniquely qualified to present a synthesis of eastern and western approaches towards Health, Weight, Vegetarianism, Meditation, Yoga, Power of Now, Spirituality, Soul, God, science, and religion. He has published over 12 books and 40 research papers, and has expressed his views in the news media and workshops. He has been the President, Chairman of the board, and life-trustee of a non-profit religious organization and has expressed his views in the congregation and at international seminars. Most of my titles are now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble too:

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:







Meditation Leads


Meditation Exercise


Regular Meditation

Imagine a 10,000 piece jigsaw complete with a picture and then a tornado comes along and rips it apart, the pieces scattered and the picture lost. Imagine that jigsaw falling back to earth in some

By: Tim Holmes l Self Improvement > Empowerment l August 12, 2012 lViews: 334

Personal growth and understanding of self are no different. We fear that which we do not understand and it is a choice as to what we do with that feeling of fear. I now understand myself very well

By: Tim Holmes l Self Improvement > Personal Growth l August 12, 2012 lViews: 309

If you are going to write articles online, you are going to inadvertently increase your critical thinking skills. The reason is simple - because as you are preparing an article you are explaining to

By: Lance Winslow l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 02, 2012 lViews: 301

Back when I was in high school and college I was a spectacular athlete, and I'm not afraid to say so now. At the time, it might not been inappropriate, as it would have shown an inflated ego, but I

By: Lance Winslow l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 02, 2012 lViews: 495

Brainwave entrainment is a great resource for self-hypnosis and can be very effective in helping you to access the brainwave frequency that allows you to change your core programming by changing your

By: Wanina Petlock l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 01, 2012 lViews: 248

Simply put, brainwave entrainment is a process that uses sound patterns to change your dominant brainwave to a specific brainwave frequency that produces a certain, desired effect. Entrainment can

By: Wanina Petlock l Self Improvement > Mind Development l August 01, 2012 lViews: 235

How to make the most of your "downtime" at home so you feel more relaxed. The spa robe or bathrobe is the perfect relaxation attire to put your mind in relaxation mode.

By: Cathy Henryl Self Improvement > Stress Managementl July 27, 2012 lViews: 278

What's the real source of your stress? Coaches and therapists will tell you that when people are stressed or angry, what they say they are upset about and what is the real cause are two different

By: Lynette Cranel Self Improvement > Stress Managementl July 25, 2012 lViews: 257

Have you ever thought of spending at least one day for a weekend or spiritual retreat? Here are some tips on how to have an effective spiritual retreat.

By: Martina B Lopezl Self Improvement > Stress Managementl July 24, 2012 lViews: 226

Looking for new solutions to the same old problems? Try a few of these unique suggestions to enhance your coping capabilities.

By: Rosemary K McDonaldl Self Improvement > Stress Managementl July 23, 2012 lViews: 166

Life today is filled with stress. Whether it's at work, driving, or even at home, it's so easily to become stressed. Even grocery shopping can be stressful! Nonetheless, for the sake of not ruining

By: Pam D Jonesl Self Improvement > Stress Managementl July 23, 2012 lViews: 182

Stress seems to affect almost everyone these days. Just keeping up with day to day activities can seem overwhelming at times or maybe its the constant pressure at work that is the cause of your

By: Robyn M. Cookel Self Improvement > Stress Managementl July 21, 2012 lViews: 167

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus