By Svend Davanger
There are three main meditation-related areas in the brain, according to a new meta-analysis study: Insula, the prefrontal cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex. All of these are located in the front half of the brain, and they seem to be involved irrespective of the type of meditation used.
Marcus Raichle interviewed by Svend Davanger
“We discovered the default mode network accidentally, without any preconceived notion of it,” says the brain researcher Marcus Raichle. “Nobody had thought of anything like the default mode network in our brain. It is different from the brain’s visual and movement systems.” Read more…
– recent brain research attracts worldwide attention
The brain shows more signs of relaxation during meditation than during ordinary rest. Nondirective meditation has a greater impact than does concentrative meditation, especially in parts of the cortex associated with the processing of stress, emotions, and memories.
Mind-wandering, brain and meditation
Svend Davanger, MD, PhD
Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oslo
Meditation Instructor in Acem
Brodmann Area 47, in the prefrontal cortex, is the brain area that most specifically characterises meditative activity, but only in techniques using an open, relaxed focus of attention.
Imagine yourself lying in the grass in the forest on a pleasant summer day. You feel the warm wind, the grass tickling your legs, you hear insects buzzing nearby, you see the sunlight shining on millions of green leaves in the branches overhead. You experience a thousand little things all around you.
Then change the scene: You are now at work, preparing intensively for a meeting with your boss and several customers in an hour’s time. Co-workers try to stop by for a chat, your phone receives text messages, and it is raining outside the window. But you are not aware of any of this; you concentrate solely on the task in hand, excluding almost everything else going on around you.
“There is a pressing need for a rigorous investigation of how meditation affects brain function.” Professor Jim Lagopoulos, Sydney University, studied electrical brain waves in Acem meditators. There was an abundance of theta waves in the frontal and middle parts of the brain, different from ordinary relaxation.
Are Holen, expert in posttraumatic stress and founder of a meditation school
interviewed in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia
the original interview in Spanish.
64 years of age, I am Norwegian, married, with two children. Psychologist, MD, PhD in medicine and specialist in psychiatry. Professor of neuromedicine at the University of Trondheim. Education is the foundation of a country’s prosperity. Believe in a non-punitive God.
Meditation is in Vogue – not only in a recent issue of the magazine, but in the international press generally.
The Independent (October 24, 2004) asks Acem’s founder Dr. Are Holen how to meditate. “All you have to do is let things pass while repeating the [meditation] sound in a non-concentrated, non-directed manner,” he says, and adds: “Reflecting on our lives gives us inner strength, which makes it easier to understand feelings and conflicts in ourselves and others. It also helps to get rid of stress.”
Under the heading “Meditation is the new mental work-out”, the Financial Times (February 13, 2004) writes:
“Could there be a mental equivalent of the work-out or diet plan that could make our minds fitter and healthier? The possibility is emerging from research combining 21st century neuroscience with meditation The results hint at an intriguing parallel between physical and mental fitness.”