Close attention

image

.
.
.
The moment one gives close attention to anything,
.
.
even a blade of grass,
.
.
it becomes a mysterious,
.
.
awesome,
.
.
indescribably magnificent world in itself.”
.
.
– Henry Miller
.
.
.

heart or mind

 


Orange sunset over a calm lake with boats

Freeimages.co.uk
.
.
It is better to give others a piece of your heart

.

.

than a piece of your mind.
.
.
Suzanne Woods Fisher, Amish Proverbs:
.
.

Born again

View along a scenic coastline of a flock of sheep grazing in a coastal pasture above steep rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean

Free images.co.uk
.
.
.
Each morning we are born again.
.
.
What we do today is
.
.
what matters most.”
.
.
~Buddha
.
.
.

courage

Walkway alongside a rural fence and green grassy embankment disappearing into the mist and rain with ghostly trees in the distance, conceptual of changing weather patterns due to global warming

Freeimages.co.uk
.
.
.
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
.
.
Raymond Lindquist
.
.
.

 

Excerpt From: Altman, Donald. “The Mindfulness Code.”

image

Freeimages.co.uk
.
.
.
“Whether you call it the ego (as Freud did), the pain body (as Eckhart Tolle does), or the self (as Buddhists continue to), there is a part of human awareness whose job it is to create a sense of self that is distinct and separate from others..
.
The human brain, after all, is designed to construct an identity.
.
.
Various areas of the brain are implicated in this capacity to create a solid self.
.
.
The brain’s left hemisphere is especially good at this, making mental road maps and cobbling together stories about our lives.”
.
“It does the heavy lifting in supporting the concept of self, or I, with which we strongly identify.
.
.
Harvard-trained neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor describes the direct experience of losing this individuated self because of a hemorrhage in her brain’s left hemisphere in her book My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey.
.
.
The experience helped her understand what happens when the left brain’s divisive, me-first sense of I stops totally dominating one’s reality.
.
.
According to Taylor, “left-brain dominance produces “extremely rigid thinking patterns that are analytically critical (extreme left brain).
.
.
Creating a healthy balance between our two characters enables us the ability to remain cognitively flexible enough to welcome change (right hemisphere), and yet remain concrete enough to stay a path (left hemisphere).”
.
.
I’m not saying we don’t need a separate ego-self to get our needs met and exist in the world.
.
.
,

Ordinary reality

image

Continue reading

New evidence that mindfulness meditation reduces stress by altering brain connectivity by Daniel Reed | Jul 17, 2016 | 10:46 PM

Sheep grazing in a coastal pasture

Freeimages.co.uk
.
.
.
Mindfulness meditation reduces stress by increasing brain connectivity between top-down executive control regions, according to a recent study published this July in Biological Psychiatry00079-2/abstract).
.
.
Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation designed to develop the skill of paying attention to personal inner and outer experiences, by using acceptance, patience, and compassion.
.
Training programs have been shown to reduce stress levels in stressed individuals, including in stress-related psychiatric and physical health illnesses.
.
Within the brain, mindfulness meditation has also been shown to influence the default mode network – an interconnected set of brain regions.
.
This network is most commonly shown to be active when a person is daydreaming or their mind is wandering.
.
Evidence has suggested that mindfulness meditation training may increase default mode network connectivity within brain regions important in top-down executive control – especially the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
.
These regions are important for a wide range of high-level processes, such as attention, planning, reasoning and cognitive flexibility.
.
It is thought that this in turn improves emotion regulation, stress resilience, and stress-related health outcomes.
.
The study, led by David Creswell of Carnegie Mellon University, combined these findings to test whether mindfulness meditation training increases connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and whether these changes lead to improvements in neurogenic inflammation (nerve swelling which can occur solely due to stress).
.
35 stressed job-seeking unemployed adults were randomly assigned to either a 3-day mindfulness meditation program or a relaxation training program. Participants completed a resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scan before and after the program – this is used to evaluate connectivity between brain regions when a person is not performing a task.
.
They also provided blood samples before, and 4 months after, the program – this was taken to measure for neurogenic inflammation changes (more specifically, they tested for interleukin-6, an established biomarker that is elevated in high-stress populations).
.
The results revealed that mindfulness meditation training increased resting state connectivity between the highlighted brain regions, whilst relaxation training did not. Furthermore, mindfulness meditation appeared to reduce neurogenic inflammation when measured after 4 months, whilst there were increases in the relaxation training group.
.
Further analyses found that these changes to brain connectivity explained 30% of the overall mindfulness meditation training effects on neurogenic inflammation.
.
These findings provide the first evidence that mindfulness meditation training increases resting state connectivity between top-down executive control regions, highlighting an important mechanism through which it reduces stress levels in stressed individuals.
.
.
.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 866 other followers

%d bloggers like this: