Meditation alone will not enlighten you; however, it is an indispensable practice to develop your brain, to acquire equanimity and to serve as a platform for clear perception.
Over the past decade, numerous neuroimaging studies have investigated changes in brain morphology related to meditation. In an attempt to consolidate the findings, one meta-analysis study pooled data from 21 neuroimaging studies that examined the brains of about 300 experienced meditation practitioners. The study found that eight brain regions were consistently altered in the experienced meditators.
Let’s have a closer understanding of these regions and their role in the perception of the truth.
The Region of Introspection (Retrolateral prefrontal cortex)
The function of this part of the brain allows you to be aware of how you think. It has the capacity to witness and process abstract information. In the path of inner discovery introspection facilitates contemplation and self-assessment. Our habits, concepts, values and believes systems distort the perception of what true reality is and what we truly are. It is through the process of introspection that we are able to detach and perceive, with clarity, our self-imposed distortions and our true nature.
In the process of introspection, we are able to assimilate and organize the information coming from our five senses (sensory cortices). By opening a time for this part of the brain to be processed, we are able to ground our ideas and to act lucidly.
Who is thinking? How am I thinking? Are my thoughts factual (true) or am I accommodating them for my own interest? Are their places of contemplation that this region facilitates. It is equally important to recognize that this region of the brain gives you discernment about the fact that you exist (your reality) as well as your thinking process.
The Sensory Region (Sensory cortices and insular cortex)
This region processes tactile information such as touch, pain, conscious proprioception and body awareness.We seldom realize that our senses give us a great deal of information and we make deductions, patterns and attachments through them. Each sense is associated with an element. Let’s review the senses and their relationship to the elements.
The five senses are:
- Hearing: the auditory sense perceives sound through the ears. It is associated with ether.
- Touch: the tactile sense perceives touch or feeling through the skin. It is associated with the element of air.
- Sight: the optic sense perceives form through the eyes. It is associated with fire.
- Taste: the gustatory sense perceives taste through the tongue. It is associated with water.
- Smell: the olfactory sense perceives smell through the nose. It is associated with earth.
The sensory part of the brain not only perceives the outside world, but locates us in space and time and plays a great role in balancing our Ayurvedic constitution.
The Storage Region (Hippocampus)
This region is a pair of subcortical structures involved in memory formation and facilitating emotional responses. It facilitates the associations between experiences and is able to organize different types of memories (long term and short term) for you. It gives you access to where you are coming from and how to respond to emotional based past experiences. It also allows you to “refresh” your memory by giving you the facts about how the events really happen without your interpretation.
The Self-Regulation Region (Anterior cingulate cortex and mid-cingulate cortex)
These cortical regions are involved in self-regulation, emotional regulation, attention and self-control. They give you the plasticity to change behaviours, to regulate them and to respond in balance. Addictions, attachments and a life of excess impact this part of the brain by reducing fluidity and a sense of balance.
The Unity Center (Superior longitudinal fasciculus and corpus callosum)
The subcortical white matter tracts communicate within and between brain hemispheres. The intuitive and the logical side of our brain are able to link, to learn and grow in unity through the development of this part of the brain.
The specific ways in which the brain regions change varied with each study (different studies used different neuroimaging measurements); but, changes were seen in the density of brain tissue, the thickness of brain tissue (indicating a greater number of neurons, glia or fibres in a given region), the cortical surface area and the white matter fibre density.
The effect of meditation on these particular brain structures appeared to be about “medium” in magnitude; that is, the effected sizes are comparable to the roughly “medium” effects of many other behavioural, educational, and psychological interventions.
Brain-imaging studies can reveal not only changes in brain structure but also changes in brain activation patterns. Meditation exerts its effects via altered activation of brain regions involved with emotional regulation, attention and self-awareness.
Welcome meditation into your daily living. Learn from a master and practice in a group, as meditation is a powerful transformative tool to gain well-being and inner perception.
For more information on the life changing benefits of Meditation, contact Berdhanya Swami Tierra in Ottawa today.