All posts tagged concentration

Emotional processing increases when the mind is allowed to wander

– 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.

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How do you use your brain during meditation?


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.

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Sound or breath

After an interview with Acem’s founder Dr Are Holen in the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, one of the several hundred readers who went ahead and learned the technique asked for the advice of a local yoga teacher who writes for the paper:

I joined a beginner’s course and found it very stimulating. Years ago I practised meditation based on maintaining the right attitude towards the world and oneself, as well as visualisations. In contrast, the Acem method places no importance on any of this, but is simply based on repeating a sound mentally for half an hour twice a day. Nor is there any emphasis on the breath. And instead of the classic lotus position, you sit in a chair with support in your lower back. … What do you think?

The yoga teacher appears to be open-minded:

As I often tell my students: “If you’re ok with it, then it’s ok.” Let each person take advantage of whatever can help him become more mature, more balanced and more wise.

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Meditation and the sea of life

By Monika Wirkkala

“The sextant helped me determine my position at sea. I was at an unidentified position in the Pacific, with no captain, and still I could find my way. But I had no map of my inner self, nor any course through life.”

It is easy to identify with the main character in Carsten Jensen’s novel We, the Drowned. He navigates unknown waters with ease, but experiences great uncertainty when it comes to his own life. What does he wish for – from everyday life, his career, relationships and the private realm?

Meditation is not about wishing. The repetition of a meditation sound, effortlessly and with an open mind, does not mean choosing a specific direction for ourselves. Meditation does not involve pursuing an objective or a goal. Rather, it brings us closer to the ongoing spontaneous activities in our mind, and to the resonances they generate.

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