Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This stuff works

I (didn't) read (or write) the news today, Oh Boy

Yes, I have been back from Bara for a few days.

It took a couple days to recover from being in a Jeep with eight other people (men, women and children) who never, ever, ever stopped talking for 9 hours at a time. I had also caught a cold and sore throat while in the Tarai (sleeping outdoors under a tarp with other pilgrims). Then today, I had "gastric." So once again I am bad in not reporting right away about "Buddha Boy." Maybe his spiritual powers are keeping me from delivering a newsworthy report.

A news-junkie friend asked me a few months ago if I "read the news." I read different things, I told him.

This particular person prides himself on being well-informed. He gets up in the morning and, right away, turns on Google News and fills his mind with The World.
I used to do the same, with newspapers. They filled up some kind of void in the morning. Then I realized, to paraphrase the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that "the void was calling."

I didn't say as much, but I think meditation is even better than reading the news, in terms of connecting you with what's going on around you.

My friends Brother Martin and Lisa sent this today from Alternet.
Here's a link to the old (2004) Wall Street Journal article about same.
For thousands of years, Buddhist meditators have claimed that the simple act of sitting down and following their breath while letting go of intrusive thoughts can free one from the entanglements of neurotic suffering.
Now, scientists are using cutting-edge scanning technology to watch the meditating mind at work. They are finding that regular meditation has a measurable effect on a variety of brain structures related to attention -- an example of what is known as neuroplasticity, where the brain physically changes in response to an intentional exercise.

A rash of other studies in recent years meanwhile have found, for example, that practitioners of insight meditation (Vipassana) have noticeably thicker tissue in the prefrontal cortex (the region responsible for attention and control) and that experienced Tibetan monks practicing compassion meditation generate unusually strong and coherent gamma waves in their brains.

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