I love evidence.meditation

Faith and belief is all well and good, I’m a cliff jumper and willing to hope that the nets appear but I’ve probably done a little research first to see just how probable the net appearance will be… even if I don’t readily admit it.
The Buddha suggested to everyone he met, “come and see” not “come and believe”.  This is the only reason I’ve ever been able to


study most philosophy and wisdom teachings.. because I am very capable of taking what I need and leaving the rest… especially

I am willing to come and see, but don’t ask me to believe.. that’s personal and only my business.
when it comes to religions and matters of the spirit.

I have to experience something first hand normally or be overwhelmed by the evidence.   Thankfully, when it comes to meditation, I’ve got both, first hand tangible experience of the remarkable difference it’s made in my daily life AND science backed evidence validating what I already know:

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. A group of Harvard neuroscientists interested in mindfulness meditation have reported that brain structures change after only eight weeks of meditation practice.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. The course promised to improve participants’ mindfulness and well-being, and reduce their levels of stress. Everyone received audio recordings containing 45-minute guided mindfulness exercises (body scan, yoga, and sitting meditation) that they were instructed to practice daily at home. And to facilitate the integration of mindfulness into daily life, they were also taught to practice mindfulness informally in everyday activities such as eating, walking, washing the dishes, taking a shower, and so on. On average, the meditation group participants spent an average of 27 minutes a day practicing some form of mindfulness.

beforeeMagnetic resonance images (MRI scans) of everyone’s brains were taken before and after they completed the meditation training, and a control group of people who didn’t do any mindfulness training also had their brains scanned.After completing the mindfulness course, all participants reported significant improvement in measures of mindfulness, such as “acting with awareness”and “non-judging.”

What was startling was that the MRI scans showed that mindfulness groups increased gray matter concentration within the left hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex, the temporo-parietal junction, and the cerebellum. Brain regions involved in learning and memory, emotion regulation, sense of self, and perspective taking!

Britta Hölzel, the lead author on the paper says,

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.”

Sarah Lazar also noted,

“This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Featured Image Credits: http://www.squidoo.com/contemplative-neuroscience

Credits: **This was originally featured on MindBodyGreen


More essays on Meditation: