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Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week  1
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Your Brain on prayer 4 week course: Week 1

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Findings from modern Neuroscience confirm the ancient wisdom of contemplative prayer / mindfulness meditation. …

Findings from modern Neuroscience confirm the ancient wisdom of contemplative prayer / mindfulness meditation.

Published in: Spiritual, Technology
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  • 1. Your brain on PrayerYour brain on Prayer The intersection modern neuroscience and ancient practices
  • 2. WelcomeWelcome What to ExpectWhat to Expect A bit about the brain A bit about contemplative prayer / mindfulness meditation A bit of practice
  • 3. My storyMy story upbringing: prayer is words only meditation is Eastern religion, therefore wrong hearing about all the positive benefits of meditation: curiosity + skepticism + curiosity learning about the discoveries of neuroscience: skepticism collapses under the weight of science
  • 4. A Bit about the brainA Bit about the brain Modern neuroscience
  • 5. Learning from scientistsLearning from scientists • A testimonial from Dr. Sara Lazar • Sara W. Lazar, PhD is an Associate Researcher in the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital and an Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School. She is a Board member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and is a contributing author to Meditation and Psychotherapy. • - TEDx Conference video
  • 6. ““Houston,Houston, we have a problemwe have a problem””
  • 7. The Evolving BrainThe Evolving Brain Amygdala The “fight or flight” center. When over stimulated creates stress, inhibits the frontal lobes’ ability to think logically. The amygdala tells the pituitary to pump out stress hormones such as cortisol.
  • 8. Good News:Good News: Brains ChangeBrains Change • Neuroplascticity: New Connections form from our experiences
  • 9. Good News:Good News: Brains ChangeBrains Change • New Neural Networks form by repeated experience
  • 10. Repeated ExperienceRepeated Experience makes stronger pathwaysmakes stronger pathways
  • 11. MindfulnessMindfulness • “Activities involving meditation and intensive prayer permanently strengthen neural functioning in specific parts of the brain that are involved with lowering anxiety and depression, enhancing social awareness and empathy, and improving cognitive and intellectual functioning. • Newberg & Waldman, How God Changes your Brain, chapter 8, p. 149ff.
  • 12. MindfulnessMindfulness • “The neural circuits activated by meditation buffer you from the deleterious effects of aging stress and gives you better control over your emotions. • At the very least, such practices hope you remain calm, serene, peaceful, and either. And for nearly everyone, it gives you a positive and optimistic outlook on life.” • Newberg & Waldman, How God Changes your Brain, chapter 8, p. 149ff.
  • 13. Introducing MindfulnessIntroducing Mindfulness • “Mindfulness is the awareness that arises from paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, to things as they are. It’s a way of shifting from doing to being. • “The Mindful Way Through Depression” Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, p. 54
  • 14. Introducing MindfulnessIntroducing Mindfulness • …Being mindful means that we suspend judgment for a time, set aside our immediate goals for the future, and take in the present moment as it is rather than as we would like it to be. It means we approach situations with openness.” • “The Mindful Way Through Depression” Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn, p. 54
  • 15. A Bit of PracticeA Bit of Practice Mindfulness
  • 16. The Chocolate meditationThe Chocolate meditation 1. Open, smell
  • 17. The Chocolate meditationThe Chocolate meditation 1. Open, smell 2. Visual examination
  • 18. The Chocolate meditationThe Chocolate meditation 1. Open, smell 2. Visual examination 3. Place it on your tongue: let it melt. (How many of the 300 different flavors can you identify?)
  • 19. The Chocolate meditationThe Chocolate meditation 1. Open, smell 2. Visual examination 3. Place it on your tongue: let it melt. (How many of the 300 different flavors can you identify?) 4. Mind wandering: notice, identify, gently escort back (non-judgmentally)
  • 20. The Chocolate meditationThe Chocolate meditation 1. Open, smell 2. Visual examination 3. Place it on your tongue: let it melt. (How many of the 300 different flavors can you identify?) 4. Mind wandering: notice, identify, gently escort back (non-judgmentally) 5. Swallow, come back to the present
  • 21. The Chocolate meditationThe Chocolate meditation • How was it?
  • 22. The Breath MeditationThe Breath Meditation 1. Sit straight, back away from chair, feet flat, legs not crossed, hands on legs, close eyes (or lower gaze)
  • 23. The Breath MeditationThe Breath Meditation 1. Sit straight, back away from chair, feet flat, legs not crossed, hands on legs, close eyes (or lower gaze) 2. Focus attention on the breath (no need to alter normal breathing)
  • 24. The Breath MeditationThe Breath Meditation 1. Sit straight, back away from chair, feet flat, legs not crossed, hands on legs, close eyes (or lower gaze) 2. Focus attention on the breath (no need to alter normal breathing) 3. Mind wandering: notice, identify, gently escort it back (non-judgmentally)
  • 25. The Breath MeditationThe Breath Meditation 1. Sit straight, back away from chair, feet flat, legs not crossed, hands on legs, close eyes (or lower gaze) 2. Focus attention on the breath (no need to alter normal breathing) 3. Mind wandering: notice, identify, gently escort it back (non-judgmentally) 4. Allow whetver happens to happen as it is.
  • 26. The Breath MeditationThe Breath Meditation 1. Sit straight, back away from chair, feet flat, legs not crossed, hands on legs, close eyes (or lower gaze) 2. Focus attention on the breath (no need to alter normal breathing) 3. Mind wandering: notice, identify, gently escort it back (non-judgmentally) 4. Allow whetver happens to happen as it is. 5. Open eyes, take in the present moment
  • 27. The Breath MeditationThe Breath Meditation • How was it?
  • 28. Changing your brainChanging your brain • The Key is practice (repitition) • 8 weeks • 20 minutes a day
  • 29. Is this prayer?Is this prayer? • More and deeper later, but note: • “For God alone my soul waits in silence, • for my hope is from him.” - Psalm 62:5 • “Silence is praise to you, Zion-dwelling God” - Psalm 65:1
  • 30. Benefits of mindfulnessBenefits of mindfulness meditationmeditation • From “Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World,” Williams, Mark; Penman, Danny (2011-10-25). p. 6 • “Numerous psychological studies have shown that regular meditators are happier and more contented than average. these are not just important results in themselves but have huge medical significance, as such positive emotions are linked to a longer and healthier life.
  • 31. Benefits of mindfulnessBenefits of mindfulness meditationmeditation • Anxiety, depression and irritability all decrease with regular sessions of meditation. Memory also improves, reaction times become faster and mental and physical stamina increase. Regular meditators enjoy better and more fulfilling relationships.
  • 32. Benefits of mindfulnessBenefits of mindfulness meditationmeditation • Studies worldwide have found that meditation reduces the key indicators of chronic stress, including hypertension. Meditation has also been found to be effective in reducing the impact of serious conditions, such as chronic pain and cancer, and can even help to relieve drug and alcohol dependence.
  • 33. Benefits of mindfulnessBenefits of mindfulness meditationmeditation • Studies have now shown that meditation bolsters the immune system and thus helps to fight off colds, flu and other diseases.
  • 34. References to studiesReferences to studies • 1. www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/projections/en/index.html. • 2. Zisook, S., et al. (2007), “Effect of Age atOnset on the Course of Major Depressive Disorder,” American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, pp. 1539–46, doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2007.06101757. • 3. Klein, D. N. (2010), “Chronic Depression: diagnosis and classification,” Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, pp. 96–100. • 4. Twenge, J. M. (2000), “Age of anxiety? Birth cohort changes in anxiety and neuroticism, 1952–1993,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, pp. 1007–21. • 5. Michalak, J. (2010), “Embodied effects of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy,” Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 68, pp. 311–14. • 6. Strack, F., Martin, L. & Stepper, S. (1988), “Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: A nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, pp. 768–77. • 7. Way, B. M., Creswell, J. D., Eisenberger, N. I. & Lieberman, M. D. (2010), “Dispositional Mindfulness and Depressive Symptomatology: Correlations with Limbic and Self-Referential Neural Activity During Rest,” Emotion, 10, pp. 12–24. • 8. Watkins, E. & Baracaia, S. (2002), “Rumination and social problem-solving in depression,” Behavior Research and Therapy, 40, pp. 1179–89.
  • 35. QuestionsQuestions
  • 36. See you Next TuesdaySee you Next Tuesday Bring a friend!

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