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A Neuroscientist Explains How Meditation Changes Your Brain

A Neuroscientist Explains How Meditation Changes Your Brain
Do you struggle, like me, with monkey-mind? Is your brain also a little unsettled, restless, capricious, whimsical, fanciful, inconstant, confused, indecisive, or uncontrollable? That’s the definition of “monkey mind” I’ve been given! If you need more motivation to take up this transformative practice, neuroscience research has shown that meditation and mindfulness training can cause neuroplastic changes to the gray matter of your brain. Sara Lazar, Ph.D., the study’s senior author, said in a press release, “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.” To test their idea the neuroscientists enrolled 16 people in an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course. Britta Hölzel, the lead author on the paper says, Sarah Lazar also noted, Credits: **This was originally featured on MindBodyGreen. Related:  Yoga e MeditazioneMeditatie

Meditation and Neuroplasticity: Five key articles | Meditation Research Meditation not only changes our mind but also our brain – this is what more and more neuroscientific research suggests. Neuroplasticity – the change of brain structures as a result of experience – is considered to be one of the most important discoveries of neuroscience. Over the last 10 years evidence has been growing that not only the acquisition of navigational knowledge by London Taxi drivers (see video) or learning a new motor task like juggling (see article), but also meditation practice can lead to significant changes to brain structures. Article 1: Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness To my knowledge this is the first study showing differences in brain structure between meditators and non-meditators. Lazar, S. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000186598.66243.19 Article 2: Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem Vestergaard-Poulsen, P., van Beek, M., Skewes, J., Bjarkam, C. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328320012a

Mindfulness Meditation: 8 Quick Exercises That Easily Fit into Your Day You can fit these mindfulness exercises into your life while walking, brushing your teeth and just listening. Although mindfulness meditation is all the rage nowadays, most people have little time for formal practice. That’s a pity since studies have found mindfulness meditation has many benefits, including reducing depression and pain, accelerating cognition, increasing creativity, debiasing the mind and much more. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add a little mindfulness meditation to your day without formal practice, then these mindfulness exercises are for you. They mindfulness exercises can mostly be slotted in while you go about your everyday business, without the need for a formal sit-down meditation session. 1. If you do any period of undisturbed walking during the day — at least ten or fifteen minutes — then you can do a little walking mindfulness meditation. It’ll be easiest if done somewhere with fewer distractions, but try it anywhere and see what happens. 2. 3. 4.

Copyright Law Versus Internet Culture Throughout human history, culture has been made by people telling one another stories, building on what has come before, and making it their own. Every generation, every storyteller puts their own spin on old tales to reflect their own values and changing times. This creative remixing happens today and it happens in spite of the legal cloud cast by copyright law. Many of our modern cultural icons are “owned” by a small number of content companies. Here are just a few ways remixers are taking culture into their own hands: * Fan fiction – Kirk and Spock can be gay and Uhura can captain the Enterprise, or that boa constrictor from the zoo scene can become Harry’s familiar instead of taking off for Brazil. * Photoshop battles – one goofy-looking squirrel might find itself reworked as a Jedi Knight, an astronaut landing on the moon, or out hunting with Vladimir Putin. When the law assigns some people the power to control what stories others tell, it distorts culture.

Philosophical Meditation Even though our minds ostensibly belong to us, we don’t always control or know what is in them. There are always some ideas, bang in the middle of consciousness, that are thoroughly and immediately clear to us: for example, that we love our children. Or that we have to be out of the house by 7.40am. But a host of other ideas tend to hover in a far more unfocused state. Unfocused thoughts are constantly orbiting our minds, but from where we are, from the observatory of our conscious selves (as it were), we can’t grasp them distinctly. There is one response to dealing with our minds that has become immensely popular in the West in recent years. Adherents of meditation suggest that we sit very quietly, in a particular bodily position, and strive, through a variety of exercises, to empty our minds of content, quite literally to push or draw away the disturbing and unfocused objects of consciousness to the periphery of our minds, leaving a central space empty and serene. 1. 2. 3.

12 Indispensable Mindful Living Tools By Leo Babauta The focus of my life in recent months has been living mindfully, and while I don’t always remember to do that, I have learned a few things worth sharing. The first is a mindful life is worth the effort. It’s worth the effort, because being awake means we’re not missing life as we walk through it. The second thing I’ve learned is that we forget. The third is that mindful living isn’t just one thing. I’ll share them in this post, and hope that you’ll consider each in turn. Why You Should Care Why bother to spend the time learning these tools? No. But just as importantly, they’ll help you overcome the fear of failure and fear of discomfort that’s holding you back, that’s keeping you from making positive changes in your life. These tools will help you launch your new blog, start a business, write a book, put out your first music album online, find your purpose in life, become the person you’ve always wanted to be. This is what I’ve found. The Toolset Meditation. The Practice

Meditation 101: The Neuroscience of Why Meditation Works | Ashley Turner As yogis have known for centuries and scientists can now prove, the benefits of meditation are profound. Meditation is perhaps the most crucial instrument to harness the power of thought, cultivate more peace, clarity and happiness. Learning to train the brain and focus our attention is crucial to thriving and cultivating a peak performance in any endeavor. Long-time psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander, author of Wise Mind, Open Mind, speaks of MIND STRENGTH, or the resiliency, efficacy and emotional intelligence that arise as we begin the process of controlling the mind. Mind strength is one of the most empowering tools we can employ to impact and improve all aspects of life. There are five major categories of brain waves, each corresponding to different activities. Slower wavelengths = more time between thoughts = more opportunity to skillfully choose which thoughts you invest in and what actions you take. 5 Categories of Brain Waves: Why Meditation Works 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. How to Meditate:

Expanded Consciousness: The Six Phase Guided Meditation Part of our #PurposeFairyMeditation – Saturday, here is your Six Phase Guided Meditation by the wonderful Vishen Lakhiani. This is by far one of the most beautiful and most powerful meditations ever. I did a 30 day challenge once with this meditation. Remember to first, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the next 16 minutes. P.S. 1. With all my love, Like this post?

How to Build Your Immunity to Other People’s Control Dramas By Julian Websdale Guest Writer for Wake Up World Many people go through their lives in a constant hunt for someone else’s energy. It is unconscious in many people. Manipulation for other people’s energy can happen either aggressively, directly forcing people to pay attention to them, or passively, playing on people’s sympathy or curiosity to gain attention. So first, let’s look at the main ways control dramas are played out. The Intimidator If someone threatens you, either verbally or physically, then you are forced, for fear of something bad happening to you, to pay attention to them and so to give them energy. Poor Me If, on the other hand, someone tells you all the horrible things that are already happening to them, implying perhaps that you are responsible, and that, if you refuse to help, these horrible things are going to continue, then this person is seeking to control at the most passive level – a “poor me” drama. Think about this for a moment. The Interrogator Aloof Drama Reference:

A Seeker’s Guide to Samadhi Samadhi is a hot topic in yoga circles. Some practitioners believe samadhi and enlightenment are synonymous. Others think samadhi leads to enlightenment, while yet another group is convinced samadhi makes the mind go blank. Some of those seeking samadhi hope it will fall into their hands if they pray hard enough, and others believe the techniques of yoga and meditation will push them toward samadhi or pull samadhi toward them. In the 30 years of my career as a teacher, I have encountered many students and seekers from different walks of life. Just as mastery in any field—surgery, physics, music—requires prolonged, systematic preparation, so does attaining the highest goal of yoga. Trying to attain samadhi without having a clear idea of what it is, without adopting a systematic approach, and without completing the preparatory steps is like trying to build a skyscraper when you have never seen one, do not have a blueprint, and do not know how to lay a foundation. Step by Step

Mindful technology - Zo verrijk je je leven met technologie | soChicken Dient technologie ons, of dienen wij technologie? Je vraagt het je af, terwijl je in slaap valt met de blauwe gloed van je smartphone op je gezicht. Het is hoog tijd dat we het hier eens over hebben. Het mes snijdt aan twee kanten Technologie is gereedschap. Ja, we weten allemaal hoe we onze smartphone moeten bedienen. Precies, dat is lastig. Zoals alles in het leven heeft technologie voor- en nadelen. Technologie bewust gebruiken Contemplative computing draait om mindful gebruik van technologie. Als je niet bewust met technologie omgaat, verval je in een ‘mindless’ gebruikpatroon. Deze constante afleiding veroorzaakt stress, verlaagt productiviteit en vermindert het gevoel van controle en voldoening. Contemplative computing toepassen: 12 tips Ik wil je niet op stang jagen, maar misschien dat ik het toch doe: Onze hedendaagse technologie is slechts een voorbode van wat er komen gaat. We worden meer verbonden, beter zichtbaar. Het is tijd om volwassen te worden rondom onze technologie.

Think That Meditation Is A Waste Of Time? Watch This! Meditation has quickly become one of the most talked about and used conscious practices in the modern world. Various religious leaders, spiritual gurus, professional athletes, celebrity figures and probably a number of your family and/or friends all swear by it to being a key part in their lives. As a person who practices meditation somewhat regularly, I can personally understand not only its benefit but also why it continues to grow and be adopted by more and more people worldwide. Despite its continued growth and popularity, meditation -like so many other practices -is not without ridicule, as a large portion of the world’s population are still happy to classify it as pseudoscientific, or a waste of time. The other element that the video offers, that I particularly enjoy, is a reminder about the many misconceptions that surround what meditation should entail for it to be legitimate -misconceptions that I believe play a big part in turning a lot of people away from trying it out.

Binaural Beats: A Meditative Gateway to Altered States of Consciousness By Polly Anne Rice Guest Writer for Wake Up World Many people struggle on their path to meditative states of consciousness, becoming downtrodden when their minds refuse to obey the orders to be silent and blank. For years, I grappled with these rules I believed surrounded meditation which kept me from achieving the insight I was seeking. Eventually, I came to understand it wasn’t always an empty mind that was necessarily the effective component for growth and expansion in my meditations, but the peaceful, uncontrolled viewing of the visualizations that ebbed and flowed through my mind. Binaural beats are a variation of brainwave entrainment, creating an oscillation effect between the frequencies flowing into each ear and the frequency resonated in the brain. Two different frequencies stream into the ears of an individual, preferably wearing headphones, creating a binaural beat within the brain. Effects of Binaural Beats Hemisphere synchronicity has profound implications! Article sources:

Solar Roads Could Power An Entire Country A small US-based company called Solar Roadways are developing a solar road surface that, if installed nationwide, has the potential to produce more renewable energy than the entire country uses. In fact, they’ve actually already developed a working prototype that’s been installed in a parking lot, and they’re now crowdsourcing funds in order to tweak the design and move towards production. Solar Roadways, which was started by Scott and Julie Brusaw in 2006, designed and developed hexagonal glass solar panels studded with LED lights that could be installed on a variety of surfaces such as roads, pavements and playgrounds. These panels would more than pay for themselves and would benefit both businesses and homeowners as the energy generated from driveways and parking lots could be used to power buildings, and any excess can be sold back to the grid. Snow test: the powered row of panels are free of snow/ice. Image credit: Solar Roadways. Obviously, this project isn’t going to be cheap.

Sadhana Guidelines Jot Singh Khalsa Sadhana Aradhana Prabhupati Discipline Service Liberation Guidelines For A Perfect Morning Sadhana Based on the reflections of SS Jot Singh Khalsa Approved by Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga "The most difficult thing is the decision to act. "Every accomplishment starts with the decision to show up. "Sadhana is the practice of self-mastery." "Commitment leads to character. "Sadhana -- Communicating with your soul. “What is Sadhana? "Sadhana means Spiritual Practice. "Sadhana we do only so that we can be clear headed...Sadhana is a test of self-grit. "I tell you today and I’ll tell you tomorrow and I’ll tell you every day: You have only one friend – you and your discipline, which will give you all that you need. "The radiance of your spirit can be measured according to how the name of God vibrates within you and around you. "What is sadhana? “If you do not do the sadhana, where will the spirit and strength come from to carry you through? See details, here. .) .) .) .)