Human brain by Gaetan Lee
While cruising through the Internet I came across a fabulous article. It discusses the possibility that your thinking could actually change your brain. The Dalai Lama has been interested in this idea for some time and often lends his monks and lamas to scientists to explore what, if any, changes happen to the brain after years of sustained meditation practice.
The brain’s chemistry and neural make-up actually changes based on what we think, and how often we think it. In one experiment patients with depression underwent either cognitive-behavior therapy or a regimented drug program. When the results were compared they did not produce the same brain activity with each program. Results showed each therapy produced significantly different changes in the same areas of the brain.
In another experiment, monkeys were taught to respond either to a touch to their fingers or a sound through their headphones. Not surprisingly, the section of brain which expanded correlated directly to the sense of touch in the first group, while the second group experienced a growth in the auditory section of the brain.
These examples were taken from a new book, Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves by Sharon Begley. (I haven’t read this yet, but of course it’s going on my list today.) There is an emerging new science in brain research called neuroplasticity. It is basically the study of how and why the adult brain grows and changes.
During the experiments done on the Tibetan Monks, all of whom had done 10,000 or more hours of meditation, researchers found an increase of gamma waves. These signals appear when the brain reaches that AHA moment of connection when sight, sound, feel and other features tell us there’s a barking dog in front of us. The most interesting insight was the fact that these gamma waves remained high in the monks, even in between meditations.
For those of us who have meditated frequently, or even used positive thinking skills, we may already have believed this is true. As a fan of both science and religion, I love to see the two intertwined, especially when the benefits are so exciting and contain such far-reaching possibilities. Truly, it is what we do every day that shapes and forms our lives. I will surely keep these interesting new facts in mind the next time I start dwelling on how unfair my life is. There’s more to thinking than we ever thought. :0)