The Magical Mystery of Meditation: A Tour

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If you do not meditate, try to imagine this journey through the magic of your brain on meditation. You may discover just how beneficial it is.

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." -Albert Einstein

The journey begins...

  1. You will now imagine meditating. As you get comfortable and start to focus on your breath, calming and centering yourself, the part of your brain just behind the forehead steps up its activity. This gray matter center is responsible for attention-processing, so it will party while you meditate.
  2. While the attention-processing cells are revving up, brain activity in the surrounding areas takes some time off. This happens because your attention mechanism is filtering out all input considered insignificant during meditation.
  3. The neural activity in your brain now shifts to the right lobe since attention is primarily a right-brain function. This shift is also why people struggle to speak about their meditation experiences. The right brain does not analyze or categorize information, making it difficult to convey right-lobe experience. The right brain reads its input by intuitively sensing it.
  4. Now, your right parietal lobe becomes less active. The right parietal lobe is the brain sector (top of head) that orients you to your environment. Meditators typically do not have to make many adjustments to their surroundings, especially if sitting quietly with their eyes closed. So, you now begin to lose awareness of self, time, and space.
  5. The environment, the world experienced through our physical senses, recedes from your awareness. What goes on after this point is almost impossible to express verbally.
  6. There are changes taking place in your brain’s limbic system, the mood center, probably because the now sleepy orient-to-the-environment neurons are well connected to the limbic organs.
  7. The hippocampus, a part of your mood center, will detect the limited information entering the brain and exert a calming influence leading to a sense of tranquility.
  8. Your amygdala, another limbic organ, also notes the drop in input and causes changes in the midbrain apparatus. Now, your breathing slows as your heart rate and blood pressure drop, and hormonal changes bring mental clarity.
  9. The lack of neural activity in your right brain’s parietal lobe (environmental orientation) allows a sense of wholeness or oneness. The inactivity of the left parietal lobe diminishes the sense of self; now you can taste nirvana, or at least feel more relaxed.

Namaste.

Reference: "The Blissful Brain: Neuroscience and proof of the power of meditation" by Dr. Shanida Nataraja

 
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