Meditation practice has been associated with altered patterns of spontaneous neuronal activity, ranging from decreases in resting state activity to increases in task-related activation. However, it remains unknown whether these changes reflect distinct alterations in intrinsic dynamics, or rather represent a general reorganization of the brain’s spatial organization.
A research paper Published by Oxford University Press says Researchers used fMRI to examine the effect of intensive meditation training on the topological properties of both the Default Mode Network (DMN) and Central Executive Network (CEN), two large-scale networks involved in introspective processing.
To address potential confounds due to differences in meditation experience level, they included participants with varying degrees of expertise in meditation. Results showed significant reductions in posterior DMN activity, as well as a reduction in the degree of anti-correlation between the posterior DMN and anterior DMN.
These findings provide evidence for a topographical reorganization of the DMN during meditation practice. Furthermore, they found that the extent of this reorganization correlated positively with the reported intensity of the subjective experience of being in touch with one’s inner world, particularly with respect to the sense of body ownership.
Their findings support the notion that meditation practice induces a global reorganization of the brain, including a reallocation of attentional resources away from internal states towards external stimuli, likely reflecting a fundamental change in the way people process information about themselves.
Organize Brain Spatial Map
The meditation technique helps you organize your brain’s spatial map. You’ll notice that your brain becomes more organized and efficient when you practice this technique.
Advanced meditators can invert the usual way of doing things by focusing on external stimuli rather than their internal thoughts. As a result, they become fully present in the moment and experience the world from a single point of view.
They achieve non-dual awareness and become fully conscious of both internal and external events. When they’re not distracted by their thoughts, their mind and body merge into one, and they experience reality from a unified perspective.
Effects of meditation on Your Brain
The human mind is incredibly complex and mysterious. We’re still trying to understand its inner workings. One of the most important things we’ve learned is that our brains are organized differently depending on whether we’re meditating or not.
When we meditate, our brains become calmer and more focused. This leads to a reduction in stress and anxiety, improved mood, and better sleep. These benefits come from the fact that when we meditate, we activate parts of the brain associated with self-awareness, empathy, compassion, mindfulness, and introspection.
These areas of the brain are called the Default Mode Network (DMN). DMN activation occurs during periods of restful wakefulness, such as when we’re sleeping or daydreaming. During these times, our minds wander and thoughts drift away from external stimuli.
During meditation, however, we intentionally bring our minds back to the present moment. Our minds are now focused inwardly, rather than outwardly. This allows us to experience the world through a different lens—one that is calm, peaceful, and relaxed.
The human brain is amazing. We’re able to learn complex skills, solve problems, and perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible. But we’re not perfect. Our brains are wired to prioritize certain things over others, and this prioritization process often leads us astray.
One of these priorities is our ability to pay attention. We tend to ignore information that doesn’t directly affect us, and we become easily distracted when faced with too many stimuli at once. This prioritization process causes us to lose track of important details, and it makes it hard to concentrate on anything long enough to complete a task.
This prioritization process is called selective attention, and it’s where meditation comes in. Through meditation, you can rewire your brain to prioritize different types of information.
When you meditate, you engage in focused attention. Focused attention allows you to notice details that you normally wouldn’t notice because your mind is constantly jumping between thoughts. These details include sounds, smells, sights, feelings, and sensations.
Focused attention helps you gain control of your attention, allowing you to direct it towards specific goals. This means that when you meditate, you can use your attention to remember facts, recall memories, and improve your memory.
Meditation also increases your awareness of emotions. Emotions are another type of stimulus that can distract you from focusing on a particular goal. However, when you practice meditation, you can observe your emotions without reacting to them.
Finally, meditation improves your self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize yourself as separate from everything else. It’s the foundation of empathy, compassion, and wisdom. Without self-awareness, you can’t understand others’ perspectives, and you won’t be able to empathize with them.
With improved self-awareness, you’ll be better equipped to deal with life’s challenges. And since you’re already practising meditation, you may find that you’ve developed some useful tools for dealing with stressors.
The human brain consists of billions of neurons connected together through synapses. Neurons communicate with each other via electrical impulses called action potentials (AP). These AP travel along axons, which connect neurons together.
Neurons form networks of connections called neural pathways. Each pathway is responsible for different functions, including vision, hearing, touch, movement, memory, emotion, and cognition.
When we meditate, our brains become reorganized, forming new neural pathways. This process is known as neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity allows us to change our behaviour and improve our mental health.
Researchers recently discovered that meditating changes activity in the amygdala, which helps control our emotions. When we’re stressed out, our amygdala becomes overly reactive — making us angry, sad, frustrated, etc. Meditation slows down these reactions so they don’t turn into full-blown emotional episodes. It makes sense then that when stress levels reach the point where we need some help, meditation could be useful.
Major depressive disorder is associated with relative hyperactivation in the amygdala, insula, and subcallosal cingulate cortex, and hypoactivation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
- A new meta-analysis examined showed evidence of meditation altering brain activity and connectivity.
- Investigation done on neural correlates reveal meditation can exert a profound impact on our mental activity and boundaryless freedom.
- Research on experienced meditators discovered reduced default mode network activity beyond an active task.
- A longitudinal study demonstrated that long-term meditators and novice meditators experienced a continuum of the inner and outer worlds.
- Cross-sectional studies revealed the daily practice of mental training through meditation fostered attentional stability, sustained attention, attention regulation, attentional control, better sensory processing, nondual awareness of exteroceptive, and interoceptive signals, and vividness irrespective of meditation style.
- Researchers observed increased cortical thickness in the somatosensory cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, sensorimotor cortex, and insular cortex, and behavioural improvements in perceptual discrimination after only three months of meditation.
Now that you know how beneficial meditation can be, it’s time to start practising. Reach out to a Vethathiri SKY Yoga centre near you. Awaken your kundalini. Feel the vibration of your kundalini in your chakras. Meditate regularly. Calm yourself. Master your mind. Live healthily. Live long.
Be Blessed by the Divine!
Krish Murali Eswar.