Freitag, 4. November 2011

Are all meditations the same?

Let me first quote this article:
"Are all meditations the same? 
Comparison of brain patterns, mental benefits and descriptions of mindfulness meditation, Tibetan Buddhism, and Transcendental Meditation Frederick Travis <> (Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, IA)
Current neural imaging and EEG (brain wave) patterns answer the question: Are all meditations the same? The research answers with a resounding “No!” 
Mindfulness meditation is characterized by greater left hemisphere activation—alpha lateral asymmetry. This is reflected in higher left hemisphere cerebral metabolic rate and lower left hemisphere EEG alpha activity. Mindfulness involves attention on one’s breath with eyes-closed, and dispassionate observation of bodily, mental and perceptual states with eyes-open. Preliminary research suggests that Mindfulness Meditation improves immune functioning. Grossman’s recent meta-analysis of 10 areas of mental benefits reported significant effects of Mindfulness Meditation only on reduction in pain perception. 
Tibetan Buddhism is characterized by heightened 40 Hz power and coherence. This meditation is done with eyes half open, while one creates inner states such as “pure compassion” or “loss of sense of self.” Research has not yet reported physiological or mental benefits of practice of Tibetan Buddhism. 
Transcendental Meditation is characterized by higher frontal 6-45 Hz coherence and higher global alpha power. TM practice is described as an “effortless” process of transcending—inner awareness expanding to a state of complete freedom, unboundedness, and silence, called transcendental consciousness. Meta-analyzes report significant reductions in anxiety, breath rate, heart rate, blood lactate, blood pressure, and cigarette and alcohol use, and significant increases in self-esteem resulting from TM practice. Recent research investigated one-year longitudinal changes in alpha lateral asymmetry, gamma activity, and broadband coherence in the first year of TM practice. This research is the first to compare in a single population these three brain patterns, which are reported in the literature to characterize different meditation practices. Data were recorded during TM practice, eyes-closed rest, and computer tasks. Alpha lateral asymmetry and gamma power and coherence did not change over the year in any of the three conditions. Broadband frontal coherence rose to a high level during TM practice after 2 months practice and remained at that high level at 6 and 12 months practice. Coherence linearly increased during eyes closed rest and the computer tasks over the year. Now is the time that meditation researchers should agree on common physiological variables and measure them in their perspective meditating populations. The resulting physiological profiles could objectively classify meditation practices, serving as a brain-based matrix to discuss meditation practices and understand their effects on the mind, body and the environment."
I was very lucky & honoured to be invited to an open demonstration of heartintelligence on Wednesday, 2nd of November 2011, and was asked to hold an entrance Meditation (which was fun and exciting with a big audience) at  an event.
An evening seminar about MD Rollin McCraty's Heartmath Institute and some results of his experiments
Heartmath Institute holds a patent on an electronic biofeedback & training devices, measuring heartrate, bloodpressure & magnetic field information at a time, monitoring & showing the heart reactions depending on stress level versus coherence level.  
By video documents of the experiments by Doc Childre & Howard Martin (Co-founders of Heart Math Institute, & MD Rollin McCraty we learned that the  
  • heart is able to discerne well before of the arrival of a randomly selected positive or aversive visual stimuli   
  • anticipating the corresponding emotional reactions
  • which can be measured and monitored by MFR-Spectroscopy.  
That would mean heart can think & is able to transcend the space time continuum. The consequence is: Brain follows the heart, not the other way around.  If the heart can be convinced to believe that there is no reason for stress, it will change to relax mode and influence the brain and the whole body to relax. Remarkable is the fact, that it's got as well a direct measurable influence on coherence of people around within reach. 
In the seminar, several volunteer subjects were first exposed to stressThen their stress level was measured and monitored. They were given a breathing training, guided by the electronic coach represented by a ball following y sinus curve as a pacing device for the participants. This breathing training was lasting several minutes. During the respiratory training the subjects significantly improved their coherence level. 
After all I was wired for an experiment Before starting the experiment I had been exposed to stress as well being confronted with a video performance of an ingenious but unlucky jazzmusician, who shortly after the performance died with cancer. Then it was my turn to participate in the breathing training and guess what happened:
However, I oriented myself not to breath at the visual pace of the electronically offered training but closed my eyes for Meditation.  
I meditated successively with different methods. All methods together reduced blood pressure, irregularities in heart rhythm, heart rate and stress level decreased significantly. 
From Mindful Awareness Meditation, to a Chakra Meditation on to the So Ham Meditation and finally Primordial Sound Meditation (PSM) the measured results were clearly most regular & stable at the PSM, and shifted rapidly back to the ideal levels​​. Which may give hints that Meditation can improve heart intelligence or helps making better use of it, totally free from electronics and technical aids. In other words:  Meditation is ...
  •  healthy.  
  • available unplugged, everywhere, at all times
  • giving an immediate positive stimulation on the Cardiovascular system.
My personal conclusion to the event is:   
Whatever way You choose to learn more & find back to Your heart intelligence is alright.  If You ...
  • want to rely on sophisticated electronic machines to support Your learning process or  
  • prefer (like me) the more subtle path of Meditation
  • want to concentrate on Prana Yama sessions, deepening Your Yoga benefits
  • start to pray & find a good connection to Your soul in oneness
  • find yourself a good coach or prefer a therapist
  • use one of the many more possibilities and combinations of these
... is Your personal decision. It might as well depend on Your budget and some practical aspects, if You like to invert money in technical solutions, or if You want to spend less for subtle indipendence by Meditation.
In case You want to know more about MD Rollin Mc Craty's work  You might as well try this link for more information and a more personal impression. Prices for the desktop version and the handheld trainer (emWave2 Personal Stress Reliever (PSR) ) are around 250,- € each plus the 7 hour training seminar (including lunch :) will be 535,-€ per Person. Heartmath Germany
Pricing for Meditation seminars is better than competative and there are free Meditation classes every week. You might feel like asking  me for more information?  
If You got personal experience with both brainmachines, emWave2 or Meditation or other paths and want to share this, please feel free to write a comment to this article.

1 Kommentar:

  1. thomas!

    sehr schöner artikel (wie dein letzter auch, leider ist der kommentar irgendwie verloren gegangen...).

    ich habe brainmachines ausprobiert (schon lange her) und hemisync audio. hemisync hat bei mir die "besten" ergebnisser erzielt, wenn es um "aktives arbeiten" geht - ansonsten (weißte ja... liebe zazen.

    ich freue mich schon auf deine kommenden artikel - keep on the good work!