Posts Tagged ‘Thought’

Neuroscientists Have Followed a Thought as It Moves Through The Brain

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We didn’t think it was possible.
MIKE MCRAE 18 JAN 2018

 

A study using epilepsy patients undergoing surgery has given neuroscientists an opportunity to track in unprecedented detail the movement of a thought through the human brain, all the way from inspiration to response.

 

The findings confirm the role of the prefrontal cortex as the coordinator of complex interactions between different regions, linking our perception with action and serving as what can be considered the “glue of cognition”.

Previous efforts to measure the passing of information from one area to the other have relied on processes such as electroencephalography (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which, whilenon-invasive, offer less than perfect resolution.

The study led by researchers from the University of California, Berkley, recorded the electrical activity of neurons using a precise technique called electrocorticograhy (ECoG).

This required hundreds of tiny electrodes to be placed right up against the cortex, providing more spatial detail than EEG and improving the resolution in time of fMRI.

While this poses an unethical level of risk for your average volunteer, patients undergoing surgery for epilepsy have their brain activity monitored in this very way, giving the researchers a perfect chance to conduct a few tests.

Each of the 16 test subjects performed a number of tasks varied to suit their individual arrangement of electrodes, all while having their neural activity monitored and tracked.

Participants were required to listen to a stimulus and respond, or watch images of faces or animals on a screen and asked to perform an action.

Some tasks were more complex than others; for example, a simple action involved simply repeating a word, while a more complex version was to think of its antonym.

Researchers monitored the split-second movement of electrical activity from one area – such as areas associated with interpreting auditory stimuli – to the prefrontal cortex, to areas required to shape an action, such as the motor cortex.

 

While none of this threw up any surprises, the results clearly emphasised the role of the prefrontal cortex in directing activity.

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“Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors”: How Understanding the Brain Can Help By Dawn McClelland, PHD, and Chris Gilyard, MA

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Excerpt:
UNDERSTANDING THE BRAIN AND BODY IN TRAUMA

“Several parts of the brain are important in understanding how the brain and body function during trauma. They include the forebrain (the prefrontal cortex); the limbic system, which is located in the center of the brain; and the brain stem.

 

When a person experiences a traumatic event, adrenalin rushes through the body and the memory is imprinted into the amygdala, which is part of the limbic system. The amygdala holds the emotional significance of the event (the intensity and impulse of emotion). For example, if you’re on a roller coaster, your sensory information is “fear, speed, stress, excitement, not life threatening.” The amygdala can read the emotional significance of the event: “it’s a ride, it’s fun, you are done in 3 minutes.” The amygdala stores the visual images of trauma as sensory fragments, which means the trauma memory is not stored like a story, but by how our five senses were experiencing the trauma at the time it was occurring. The memories are stored through fragments of visual images, smells, sounds, tastes, or touch.

 

 

Consequently, after trauma, the brain can easily be triggered by sensory input, reading normal circumstances as dangerous. For example, a red light is no longer a red light, now it’s a possible spark. A barbecue had been just a barbecue, but now it sounds like an explosion. The sensory fragments are misinterpreted and the brain loses its ability to discriminate between what is threatening and what is normal.

 

 

The rational part of our brain is the prefrontal cortex. This is the front part of our brain, where consciousness lives, processing and reasoning occur, and we make meaning of language. When a trauma occurs, people enter into a fight, flight, or freeze state, which can result in the prefrontal cortex shutting down. The brain becomes somewhat disorganized and overwhelmed because of the trauma, while the body goes into a survival mode and shuts down the higher reasoning and language structures of the brain. The result of the metabolic shutdown is a profound imprinted stress response.”

 

 

https://www.phoenix-society.org/resources/entry/calming-trauma-how-understanding-the-brain-can-help
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Thoughts Appear

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Always remember … that a thought is merely the experience of many factors and fleeting circumstances coming together.
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Whether the thought is good or bad, it has no true existence.
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As soon as a thought arises, if you recognize its void nature, it will be powerless to produce a second thought, and the chain of delusion will cease there and then.
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As we have said, this does not mean that you should try to suppress the natural creativity of your mind, or that you should try to stop each thought with a particular antidote.
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It is enough simply to recognize the emptiness of thoughts and to then let them rest in the relaxed mind.
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The innate nature of mind, pristine and unchanging, will then remain vivid and stable.
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DILGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE
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Ricard: Learning to welcome Difficult Emotions

Footpath through dense greenery

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“One crucial aspect of working with our emotions is learning to stop viewing them as obstacles to our happiness.
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We almost always judge the emotions that feel bad as bad; we see them as the enemy, as something to be conquered or eradicated.”
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I think our judging happens without thought, as though it is an involuntary reflex, habitually practiced with every external experience.
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We avoid our own body functions, adrenal stress response (fight or flight), difficult emotions, (fear, anxiety, self doubt, anxiety, etc.), pain or unpleasantness.
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Having the ability to experience awkward, unpleasant, or anxious situations without judgment frees us to experience this current moment.
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Go visit an uncomfortable or awkward situation today without reacting, without judging until these emotions subside.
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Let the storyline go and feel the body sensations, intimately, quietly.
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On the surface judging steals our waking time needed to experience happiness, freedom,the present moment, life.
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99% of all judgments impact our chance of being happy negatively.
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Healing, finding happiness is not a birth right, it is earned through daily work.
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In Touch: Thinking

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Sheep, Scotland
Photograph by Jim Richardson: National Geographic Magazine Features
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Thinking in itself is not the problem.
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We often need to think—the clearer, the better.
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The problem arises when we believe our thoughts and identify with our thinking.
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We let our thoughts define and confine us and, by extension, everyone and everything else.
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When we believe our judgmental thoughts, we are in prison.
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When we confuse thinking with reality, we suffer.
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We then radiate our suffering out to others.
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While some thoughts are more accurate than others, none are ultimately true;
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they are symbolic representations of our experience.
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When we begin to realize that awareness is distinct from thought, attention becomes more spacious and free.
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Exploring Thought

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Supreme Sunlight: Photograph by Andrew Hara, National Geographic Your Shot
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Can you step back, explore thought without grasping.
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Undirected thought stirs the ghosts of negative emotion, the ego’s bias, our subconscious influence.
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Thoughts impressive power fades when they stand alone.
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Thought deprived of attention or action becomes air, harmless and unknown to all.
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We are not our thoughts, more a model of our actions.
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Thoughts do not contain happiness, it is a much more inside experience, not cognitive.
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Thoughts and feelings are fine in proper perspective..
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Shaila Catherine: .. Vipassana is fundamentally about clear perception

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The Pali term vipassana, generally translated as “insight,” literally means “clear seeing.
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”Vipassana is not simply a meditation technique.
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Vipassana is fundamentally about clear perception.
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Liberating insight may manifest when a meditator clearly recognizes three specific characteristics
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—anicca (impermanence),
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dukkha (unsatisfactoriness),
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and anatta (not-self)
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—because they diminish the tendency to cling.
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