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The Dalai Lama, neuroscience (and a plug for meditation)

NPR : The Links Between the Dalai Lama and Neuroscience

Morning Edition's Jon Hamilton on The Dalai Lama's new-ish book and some controversy regarding his addressing a meeting of neuroscientists on the topic of meditation:

Richard Davidson, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, is one of several scientists who will present research on meditation at the neuroscience meeting. He says there's nothing flaky about the idea of studying whether a mental activity like meditation alters the brain's circuitry.

"Most Americans now realize that if they go to the gym or exercise several times a week, they will observe systematic changes occurring in their body," Davidson says. Meditations, he explains, is "exercising the mind in a particular way."

Some small studies have suggested that meditating on compassion can affect parts of the brain associated with positive thoughts. The Dalai Lama's talk will discuss meditation as a way to promote well-being and compassion.

My own experiences with meditation are recent, relatively shallow, and would yield little to contribute to the world of science, but I do know it can bring remarkable effects -- even in fairly short-term use. Looking forward to seeing where it takes me, and I'm not surprised at all to hear anecdotes of its effect on thinking over longer-term practice.

I really love Jon Kabat-Zinn's Wherever You Go, There You Are (yeah, it's an unfortunate title), which is plain-spoken, readable, and makes a great case for the intrinsic value of trying to "be in the moment." A very approachable and inviting introduction to mindfulness -- even if you're the sort of person who thinks this stuff is just for goofy people from Northern California.

For a free (and excellent) intro to give yourself the flavor of mindfulness meditation, start with "Mindfulness in Plain English."

eefa's picture

Hi, while I'm not a GTD...


while I'm not a GTD afficinado (yet!), I am trying (rather unsuccessfully I might add) to write PhD dissertaion which has been hanging over me for too long at this stage. arrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (sorry habitual uncontrolled dissertation-induced scream!!!)

I looked into minfulness and meditation as a means to calm myself - my thoughts were bombarding me in such a ramdom order that basically confusion was (and sometimes still is) the order of the day eveyday!! not exactly the frame of mind one needs for thesis-writing.

Anyway I came across Eknath Easwaran’s Eight Point Program - it's long and deatiled but was quite useful for me - as also have many of the posts here at 43F.

I haven't been meditating for long, but I do feel it has relaxed me a little and definitely made me think of my life as "now", as looking to the future or running from the past.

Also it helps me to think as my dissertation as hundreds of small things as opposed to one HUMUNGOUS task---I suppose "being in the moment" (I don;t eman that to sound trite..but somehow it does) and concetrating on one thing at a time forces me to pick one small thing to read and write on.

Anyway it might be good..maybe if merlin is willing to do a follow up to this post in a month or so, to see how people are getting on with mediation, and maybe we could answer each others questions?? ...of course I don't want to upset the GTD folks..but it's just a suggestion :-)





An Oblique Strategy:
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