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Train Your Brain With Meditation

I've always believed meditation is a wonderful tool for you to take a deliberate break from the stream of thoughts that are constantly flowing in and out of your mind. Some people use it to promote spiritual growth or find inner peace. Others use it as a relaxation and stress-reduction tool. University of Wisconsin scientists, teaming up with a group of Tibetan monks, have recently discovered a new reason to use meditation: To better "train" and modify how your brain works.

Researchers worked with monks to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination. And they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense.

Longtime practitioners of meditation showed brain activation on a scale "never seen before," scientists said. In fact, they use meditation to train their brains the same way one would practice hitting a golf ball or a mid-range jump shot. But that training takes time and effort and doesn't happen overnight.

Once upon a time, the "experts" believed connections among brain nerve cells were fixed early in life and did not change in adulthood. Over the last decade, however, with advances in brain imaging and other techniques, scientists have embraced the concept of ongoing brain development and neuroplasticity.

In my mind, this new knowledge also strengthens the obvious link between physical and emotional health which has everything to do with the natural healing processes all of us have, but often fail to use.

I strongly encourage you to try out another of my favorite techniques, the Insight CD System, a rapid type of brainwave entrainment that allows you to achieve many of the benefits of meditation in a fraction of the time.

Washington Post January 3, 2005

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