“Altered Traits”: IN A NUTSHELL .


“The brain’s default mode activates when we are doing nothing that demands mental effort, just letting our mind wander; we hash over thoughts and feelings (often unpleasant) that focus on ourselves, constructing the narrative we experience as our “self.”



The default mode circuits quiet during mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation.



In early stages of meditation this quieting of the self-system entails brain circuits that inhibit the default zones; in later practice the connections and activity within those areas wane.



This quieting of the self-circuitry begins as a state effect, seen during or immediately after meditation, but with long-term practitioners it becomes an enduring trait, along with lessened activity in the default mode itself.



The resulting decrease in stickiness means that self-focused thoughts and feelings that arise in the mind have much less “grab” and decreasing ability to hijack attention.”

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