Revitalize Your Mind & Life
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Revitalize Your Mind & Life
Self-improvement  and Relationship Advice based on neuroscience and research
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Rescooped by Melanie Greenberg from Meditation Compassion Mindfulness
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Neuroscientists and the Dalai Lama Swap Insights on Meditation

Neuroscientists and the Dalai Lama Swap Insights on Meditation | Revitalize Your Mind & Life | Scoop.it
An encounter with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the scientific study of meditation

 

What passed between these representatives of two distinct intellectual modes of thinking about the world were facts, data—knowledge. That is, knowledge about the more than two-millennia-old Eastern tradition of investigating the mind from the inside, from an interior, subjective point of view, and the much more recent insights provided by empirical Western ways to probe the brain and its behavior using a third-person, reductionist framework. What the former brings to the table are scores of meditation techniques to develop mindfulness, concentration, insight, serenity, wisdom and, it is hoped, in the end, enlightenment. These revolve around a daily practice of quiet yet alert sitting and letting the mind settle before embarking on a specific program, such as “focused attention” or the objectless practice of generating a state of “unconditional loving-kindness and compassion.” After years of daily contemplative exercise—nothing comes easily in meditation—practitioners can achieve considerable control over their mind.

 

Twelve years of schooling, four years of college and an even longer time spent in advanced graduate training fail to familiarize our future doctors, soldiers, engineers, scientists, accountants and politicians with such techniques. Western universities do not teach methods to enable the developing or the mature mind to become quiet and to focus its considerable powers on a single object, event or train of thought. There is no introductory class on “Focusing the Mind.” And this is to our loss!


Via Pamir Kiciman
Melanie Greenberg's insight:

We need to learn how to be present with ourselves and to tune out all the chatter.

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Rescooped by Melanie Greenberg from Amazing Science
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fMRI shows that thought patterns used to recall the past and imagine the future are strikingly similar

fMRI shows that thought patterns used to recall the past and imagine the future are strikingly similar | Revitalize Your Mind & Life | Scoop.it

Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to show the brain at work, they have observed the same regions activated in a similar pattern whenever a person remembers an event from the past or imagines himself in a future situation. This challenges long-standing beliefs that thoughts about the future develop exclusively in the frontal lobe.

 

Remembering your past may go hand-in-hand with envisioning your future! It's an important link researchers found using high-tech brain scans. It's answering questions and may one day help those with memory loss.

 

For some, the best hope of 'seeing' the future leads them to seek guidance -- perhaps from an astrologist. But it's not very scientific. Now, psychologists at Washington University are finding that your ability to envision the future does in fact goes hand-in-hand with remembering the past. Both processes spark similar neural activity in the brain.

 

"You might look at it as mental time travel--the ability to take thoughts about ourselves and project them either into the past or into the future," says Kathleen McDermott, Ph.D. and Washington University psychology professor. The team used "functional magnetic resonance imaging" -- or fMRI -- to "see" brain activity. They asked college students to recall past events and then envision themselves experiencing such an event in their future. The results? Similar areas of the brain "lit up" in both scenarios.

 

"We're taking these images from our memories and projecting them into novel future scenarios," says psychology professor Karl Szpunar.

 

Most scientists believed thinking about the future was a process occurring solely in the brain's frontal lobe. But the fMRI data showed a variety of brain areas were activated when subjects dreamt of the future.

 

"All the regions that we know are important for memory are just as important when we imagine our future," Szpunar says.

 

Researchers say besides furthering their understanding of the brain -- the findings may help research into amnesia, a curious psychiatric phenomenon. In addition to not being able to remember the past, most people who suffer from amnesia cannot envision or visualize what they'll be doing in the future -- even the next day.

 


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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