Pain is relieved by suppressing the “mental narratives” and “self-related processes” that usually exacerbate it
Pain is a fact of life: it can be dulled with drugs, but sometimes it’s just too intense or too persistent. Then we have to learn to live with it.
Buddhist monks are adept at doing this when they sit immobile in meditation, remaining straight-backed in the lotus position for hours on end. They are thought to achieve this by “uncoupling” the sensation of pain from their emotional reaction to it. This is more than just a parlour trick.
Monks protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet have shown they are capable of sitting unflinching as they burn to death. Continue reading “Meditation for pain relief” →
Distinctive electrical activity has been found in the sleeping brains of experienced meditators
This month’s roundup of mindfulness research features studies of meditation’s effects on the sleeping brain; mindfulness for hypertension; and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression in adolescents.
Continue reading “Meditation changes the sleeping brain | Mindfulness research roundup” →
The Buddha is said to have entered a state of deep meditation as he died
People who have had a
near-death experience commonly report a sense of wellbeing and peace, detachment from the world, the feeling of being outside their own body, and seeing a bright light. People who meditate deeply often report very similar sensations. Research reported yesterday in the journal PNAS suggests what may link the two experiences. Continue reading “Uncanny synchronicity in the brain during near death experiences and meditation” →
The Buddhapadipa temple in Wimbledon, UK, which offers meditation classes for beginners
The Dalai Lama wants every cognitive scientist to learn how to meditate. He believes this will give them insights into the mind and consciousness that plastering electrodes on scalps or scanning brains with powerful magnetic fields never could.
Whereas a scientist looks at the mind from the outside, he says, an experienced meditator examines it from within. Neither sees the whole picture and so we could learn a great deal by combining the two perspectives.
Continue reading “The Universe in a Single Atom by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – review” →
Every month I’m going to round up the latest research about the potential applications of mindfulness. I’ll pick out only four or five nuggets (writing in detail about one, and writing a very brief summary of the others) but link to the awesome Mindfulness Research Monthly newsletter, which provides a much more comprehensive review of the field than I could ever do. Continue reading “Mindfulness monthly: bipolar disorder, time perception, older people, and eating disorders” →