by Samuel Huron
Article by Samantha Srillian
According to a new study, Scientists have managed to prove what many Indian people have known for centuries; they have demonstrated that meditation is good for the brain. During the study, which was published in the specialist journal PLOS One, researchers discovered that meditative training could produce specific measurable changes in the parts of the brain that are linked to empathy and compassion.In the research into compassion meditation practices, researchers studied 16 Tibetan monks who had each spent many hours cultivating their meditation techniques. The monks underwent a number of functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans during their meditation sessions, which highlighted any changes to the brain.The meditating monks were pitted against 16 volunteers who had no previous meditation experience. These volunteers were taught basic meditation techniques just a fortnight before their brains were scanned. The brain scans showed a number of differences between the brains of the monks and those of the volunteers. Most notable were the changes in the monks’ brains, particularly in the circuits used to detect emotions and feelings.The inexperienced volunteers were taught only the most basic elements of compassion meditation; they were initially asked to concentrate on their loved ones and send them wishes of wellbeing and freedom from suffering. After this, they were then told to generate a similar feeling towards people in general, not just specific individuals.As part of the research, the 32 monks and volunteers were placed in a brain scanner, before being asked to begin compassion meditation or to refrain from the meditation altogether. While they were in each of these states, the subjects were exposed to either negative or positive human vocal sounds, which were specifically designed to evoke neutral vocalisations or empathic responses. The sounds used in the study included a laughing baby, a distressed woman and some background restaurant noise.During the test, the scans indicated t hat ther e was significant activity in the insula – the part of the brain that helps the body represent emotion – when the monks were meditating and made to listen to emotional vocal sounds. The scans also showed a clear link between the strength of the activity and the intensity of the meditation. However, journalist and yoga teacher Ruth Fowler is a little sceptical of the study. She said: “Meditation can change your life, but the kind of meditation the scientists are studying is a practise undertaken every single day for years, by, for example, Tibetan Buddhist monks, or hardcore yogis who are terrifyingly committed to mental and physical control. It’s hard and it’s tiresome.” She also seems doubtful over whether this study or any other research that extols the benefits of meditation will actually encourage people to take up the practice. She said: “Meditation may go on to be proven scientifically as a wonder cure for depression, but whether you’ll get anyone to sit down in silence for an hour a day with their eyes closed is another matter.”Source:GuardianPress Association
About the Author
Samantha Srillian is a freelance writer, as well as a naturally gifted psychic medium and tarot card reader. She is interested in alternative therapies, angels and spiritual healing.
Gayatri Mantra (27 Repetitions)
Revered by both Buddhists and Hindus worldwide. It is considered to be a supreme vehicle for gaining spiritual enlightenment. The Entire Mantra says, “I invoke the Earth Plane, The Astral Plane, The Celestial Plane, The Plane of Spiritual Balance, The Plane of Human Spiritual Knowledge, The Plane of Spiritual Austerites, and The Plane of Ultimate Truth. Oh, great Spiritual Light which is the brilliance of all Divinity, we meditate upon You. Please illumine our minds.” www.gayatrimantra.net Origin Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day – at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas – morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centres in the human body – hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important. In general, Brahmarishi Vishwamitra is credited as the mantra-dhrishta(Mantra was revealed to him) of the Gayatri Mantra. Gayatri Mantra is devoted to God Savitr. Savitr refers to Sun. Sun here does not imply the sun of our solar system. Rather it implies a Sun of all suns. Sun that is the source of …
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