—by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Gone are the days when Zen meditators were called psychotics. Now, things are different. Scientists are using high-tech techniques to peep into human brain under intense meditation. A recent study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found that long-term meditators induce an extraordinary synchronization of brain waves known as gamma synchrony. This synchronisation marks robust brain functioning and is associated with sharp concentration and memory.
In layman’s term this would mean that anybody spending time in intense meditation is likely to change the functioning of the brain and can increase his/her concentration and other abilities required to do complex mental operations.
A similar thought was advanced in Zen and the Brain by James Austin that during deep meditation our brain starts functioning as a parallel processing unit thereby affording the meditator deep insights which ordinary mind is not capable of, while working in a normal mode. The results of the study at Wisconsin suggests that mental training involves temporal integrative mechanism and may induce short term and long term brain changes. In other words, intense meditation brings together scattered brain functioning into a harmonious synchrony. No wonder meditation not only induces order into brain, it does so in the life of practitioners too.
For more information, read:
Lutz, A. et al (2004). Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 101, 16369-16373.