If you’re still one of those people who dismiss meditation as pure nonsense, then perhaps you have not been correctly informed. Unlike before where all claims about meditation could be regarded as hearsay, today there’s proof. Tangible, verifiable, scientific proof.
Wondering what it is?
Meditation is none other than your body’s command centre. Your brain.
Thanks to brain scans and monitoring devices such as MRI, separate and multiple groups of scientists and researchers have documented what happens to the brain during meditation. And the results are mind-blowing — figuratively, of course!
Before meditation, the brain resembles a psychedelic mass on the screen. It’s so colourful, it could resemble New Year’s eve. Practically every area is alive with activity.
But during meditation, the colours recede gradually, signifying that the activity level is slowing down. At the end of the session, depending on the meditative state achieved by the test subject, the monitor shows a less colourful brain. There are more dark unlit areas compared with bright ones.
The following are the four most significant areas of the brain that quieten down during and after meditation:
The frontal lobe is primarily associated with foresight, predicting good and bad consequences of present actions. As a result, it plays a huge role in planning and decision making. Moreover, the frontal lobe is involved in the retention of long-term memories that involve emotions.
One of the parietal lobe’s major functions is the integration of sensory information, especially those coming from the sense of touch. In addition, it plays a huge role in spatial recognition. It’s responsible for giving you a sense of time and space.
Located deep within the brain and connected to the spinal cord, the thalamus functions as a switchboard, connecting and controlling various functions of the brain. It relays sensory and motor signals to the cerebral cortex, the thin layer of neural tissue responsible for giving the brain its grey colour and the nickname “grey matter”. It also regulates sleep and alertness.
Considered as a mesh of neural networks found within the brainstem, reticular formation is connected to different brain functions such as cardiovascular control, sleep-wake patterns, and consciousnesses. But, filtering incoming stimuli is its main role. It warns and alerts the body whenever it senses danger or any activity that’s out of the ordinary.
The slowing down of these four main areas, alongside other parts of the brain, only leads to thoughtless awareness and deep rest—two of the most significant effects of meditation that unlocks the rest of the benefits, which long-time practitioners boast about.
So, instead of being a sceptic, see meditation in a new light and give it a chance to change your life.