I came across an interesting study from a researcher named Eileen Luders, who is affiliated with UCLA.
Her team had been studying the brains of people who meditate regularly.
She used MRI scans to collect data on the participants. Her various studies showed meditation has a remarkable impact on the brain.
What’s interesting about this research is how several meditation techniques were represented, such as Zen, Vipassana, Raja yoga meditation, and Tibetan meditation.
And then Eileen had an idea!
She got her team to create an algorithm that would “guess” the age of a brain based on an MRI scan.
The algorithm was accurate. If you fed the MRI scan of an average brain into it, the program would “guess” the age of the brain correctly.
But something interesting happened when she fed the MRI scans of meditators brains into it.
The algorithm would “guess” incorrectly. It would give a much younger age prediction for those brains.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on Dzogchen meditation compared to mindfulness and mantra practice?
ANSWER: Dzogchen (pronounced “Zok-chen") is a self-inquiry practice used to go directly to the heart of the Buddhas teaching of “no self.”
The Buddha taught that there is no thing inside of you that is stable and unchanging and can be called a “self.”
He taught that you are more like a process that is forever fluctuating, changing and unfolding.
Dozogchen attempts to reveal that truth by looking directly at the nature of experience and showing that there is no “watcher” in there.
There is no central control area within you that can be called the real YOU.
Instead, when you look closely you see there is awareness, which is pure, empty and self-illuminating.
And there are objects arising within awareness. Those objects include everything in your experience: things you see, smell, feel (physically or emotionally), thoughts and so on.
Your facial expressions don’t just reflect how you feel, but they contribute to how you feel too.
Research from the University of South Australia in 2020 confirms this!
The act of smiling (even if you’re faking it) tricks your mind into happiness. It’s all about the messages being sent rom the facial muscles to the brain.
Researchers made half of the participants in the study hold a pen between their teeth, forcing their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile. A comparison group held no pen between their teeth during the experiment.
Both groups were shown images of people with a range of facial expressions (from frowns to smiles) and a series of body movements (from “sad walking” videos to “happy walking” videos).
Under the “pen-in-the-teeth” condition, the forced...
Mantra meditation is known by various names in the West, like Transcendental meditation (TM), Vedic meditation, Deep meditation or Himalayan meditation for instance.
Mindfulness can also be known by other names, such as Vipassana or insight meditation.
Mantra meditation is a classic style of practice from India, usually taught by a teacher who guides practitioners to use the mantra in a very specific way during classes spread over a few days.
Mindfulness is more widespread and is often found in yoga studios and on the majority of meditation apps.
Typically in mantra meditation you sit comfortably in a normal chair with the back supported. You hold a mantra (given to you by a teacher) delicately in your mind in such a way that mental activity decreases and the body relaxes.
Mindfulness practice usually involves sitting upright with no back support observing things like breath, body sensations, sounds, thoughts or emotions (and...