Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brain Science Podcast #44: Meditation and the Brain

This is an older episode of the Brain Science podcast, but it features Daniel Siegel, one of the leaders in bringing mindfulness and other Buddhist practices into psychotherapy.

Brain Science Podcast #44: Meditation and the Brain

Daniel Siegel, MD

In Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast I talk with Daniel Siegel, MD about meditation and the brain. Dr. Siegel is the author of several books including The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being. In this interview we review the scientific evidence about how mindfulness meditation changes the brain, both in terms of short term activity and in terms of long-term structural changes. The evidence is convincing that a regular mindfulness practice can be an important element of brain health.

Listen to Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast

Episode 44 Transcript (PDF)

Show Notes and Links:

Daniel J Siegel, MD:

Scientists and writers mentioned in Episode 44:

More information about meditation:

Note: Insight Meditation is based of vipassana meditation, the mindfulness practices of Theravada, the oldest branch of Buddhism. Insight Meditation is easily adapted to secular purposes because it not based on beliefs or dogmas. The most well-known secular form is called mindfulness meditation, which begins with a focus on breath awareness and then advances to developing compassion for oneself and others.

Researchers are studying people who practice other types of mediation also. Richard Davidson has focused his work on the study of Tibetan Buddhist monks. Their practice emphasizes the development of compassion.

*I discussed the therapeutic use of mediation with Delany Dean, PhD in Episode 20 of Books and Ideas.

Listen to Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast

Episode 44 Transcript (PDF)


2 comments:

a.k.satsangi said...

Yoga (Application) which was based on the control of the body physically and implied that a perfect control over the body and the senses led to knowledge of the ultimate reality. A detailed anatomical knowledge of the human body was necessary to the advancement of yoga and therefore those practising yoga had to keep in touch with medical knowledge. (Romila Thapar, A History of India, volume one).

I suggest : Mind and brain are two distinct things. Brain is anatomical entity whereas mind is functional entity. Mind can be defined as the function of autonomic nervous system (ANS). It is claimed that mind can be brought under conscious control through the practice of meditation. But how? ANS is largely under hypothalamic control which is situated very close to optic chiasma (sixth chakra or ajna chakra). Protracted practice of concentration to meditate at this region brings functions of ANS say mind under one’s conscious control.

ANS is further divided into parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). On the basis of these facts I have discovered a mathematical relationship for spiritual quotient (S.Q.). Spiritual Quotient can be expressed mathematically as the ratio of Parasympathetic dominance to Sympathetic dominance. PSNS dominates during meditative calm and SNS dominates during stress. In this formula we assign numerical values to the physiological parameters activated or suppressed during autonomic mobilization and put in the formula to describe the state of mind of an individual and also infer his/her level of consciousness.

Meditation is the art of looking within and science of doing nothing. We don’t use anything in meditation. We just try to concentrate to meditate at some point in human anatomy known as ‘chakra’ in Indian System of Yoga. The current of mind is flowing outward through the senses and unconsciously. The mind comes at rest gradually through regular practice of meditation. Then comes self realization and enlightenment. Protracted practice of meditation under qualified guidance will help to manage all sort of psychological problems.

Emotional Quotient can also be expressed mathematically as the product of I.Q. and Wisdom Factor. E.Q. stands for Emotional Quotient. An intelligent person may not be wise. But a wise man will always be intelligent. An intelligent person having certain level of positive emotions can be said as wise. An intelligent person lacking wisdom will turn autocrat. A wise man will always be a democrat who respects others existence.

Some may raise doubt that how could be the Wisdom quantified? The answer is simple -if Mental Age of I.Q. can be quantified then Wisdom can also be quantified, of course, comparatively with more efforts. Wilhelm Stern had given the formula of I.Q.. It is, Mental Age/ Chronological Age x 100. Spiritual Quotient (S.Q.) leverages both E.Q. and I.Q.

Radha Soami Faith is a branch of Religion of Saints like Kabir, Nanak, Paltu, and others. Soamiji Maharaj is the founder of this Faith. You may call It like New Wine in Old Bottle.

Maslow has given Hierarchy of Needs. At the top of it is need for self-actualization or self-realization.

In our society we should learn To Live and Let Live and help to satisfy others need. When the lower order needs, physiological and sociological both, are satisfied then only a person think to satisfy need for self-realization in true sense. Else he/she may spend all his/her life to satisfy at the most the need for self-expression instead of self-realization.

It is, therefore, the duty of every responsible person, at the least, of our society to give serious thought over it.

For the satisfaction of need for self-realization i.e. establishment of harmony of individual consciousness with that of universal consciousness we need following three things:

1. Mater or Guru (A Self-Realized Soul)
2. Secret of Levels of Universal Consciousness
3. Method for traversing the path.


Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

Ritesh said...

YOGA THERAPY is the science of applying the various techniques of yoga in a
variety of illnesses and conditions, to facilitate optimal health, healing
and awakening. Classes are designed for the individual or group with a
therapeutic focus for a specific health condition e.g. cancer, heart,
prenatal, diabetes, multiple sclerosis.