From New Scientist magazine, via 23narchy in the uk. An article on science and meditation, with interview of researcher on the subject, brought to you in extract form only because I dig 23narchy and want to send them my sweet traffic lovin’.
How did you become involved in the science of meditation?
The Dalai Lama often describes Buddhism as being, above all, a science of the mind. That is not surprising, because the Buddhist texts put particular emphasis on the fact that all spiritual practices – whether mental, physical or oral – are directly or indirectly intended to transform the mind.
So it wasn’t surprising that when a meeting was held in 2000 with some of the leading specialists in human emotions – psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers – they spent an entire week in discussion with the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala, India. Later we agreed to launch a research programme on the short and long-term effects of mind training – “meditation” in other words.
What have we discovered about meditation and the human brain?
Experiments have indicated that the region of the brain associated with emotions such as compassion shows considerably higher activity in those with long-term meditative experience. These discoveries suggest that basic human qualities can be deliberately cultivated through mental training. The study of the influence of mental states on health, which was once considered fanciful, is now an increasing part of the scientific research agenda.