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The Minds Of Monks Essay

1012 words - 5 pages

The Minds of Monks
Consciousness, it has many variations, one being meditation. Meditation is the most debated and scrutinized forms of consciousness. It has been discussed, argued, contested and questioned on how it has, can, and might alter the human consciousness. However through science and experimentation the altering effects of meditation can be seen and recorded not just on the consciousness but on the physical brain.
In the last journal the discussion concentrated mainly on how meditation could give a piece of the peaceful life as focused practices can boost improve attention spans in the everyday person and how meditation exercises could boost mental toughness in soldiers. In ...view middle of the document...

This technique is widely practiced among Tibetan Buddhists. The researchers argue that their findings suggest compassion can be learned and increased with practice, similar to any skill or talent. Previous research has shown that meditation can increase mental focus and concentration and help people release negative emotions. (Moskowitz)
If you name your emotions, you can tame them, according to new research that suggests why meditation works. Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain's emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to “let them go.”
UCLA psychologist Matthew Lieberman and his colleagues hooked 30 people up to functional MRI, which scan the brain to reveal which parts are active and inactive at any given moment. They asked the subjects to look at pictures of male or female faces making emotional expressions. Below some of the photos was a choice of words describing the emotion such as angry or fearful or two possible names for the people in the pictures. When the participants chose labels for the negative emotions, activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex region became more active, whereas activity in the amygdala was calmed. Meditation and other “mindfulness” techniques are designed to help people pay more attention to their present emotions, thoughts and sensations without reacting strongly to them. (Wenner)
When the team compared brain scans from more mindful dispositions subjects to those subjects who were less mindful, they found a stark difference, the mindful subjects experienced greater activation in the right ventrolateral prefrontral cortex and a greater calming effect in the amygdala. (Wenner)
Meditation alters brain patterns in ways that are likely permanent, scientists have known. But a new study shows key parts of the brain actually get thicker through the practice. Brain imaging of regular working folks who meditate regularly revealed increased thickness in cortical regions related to sensory, auditory and visual perception, as well as internal perception. (Live Science Staff)
The research was led by Sara Lazar, assistant in...

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