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Brains3 2014

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Brains3 2014

  1. 1. Haverford Public Library April 16, 2014 7:00 pm
  2. 2. Introductions • Welcome and Introductions • Soji Zen Center in Lansdowne • Plan for the evening • Presentation, instruction, practice, review
  3. 3. A little neuroscience • States of consciousness – Meditation and brain activity, EEG brain wave patterns – What happens when we meditate ?
  4. 4. • Brain regions – Meditation and brain activity, prefrontal lobe and parietal lobe differences • General observation that practice weakens “reactive” pathways, increases plasticity, flexibility.
  5. 5. Brain regions – long term structural changes in brain tissue
  6. 6. Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging • Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.
  7. 7. • "We found that brain regions associated with attention and sensory processing were thicker in meditators than in the non- meditators," says Lazar. "Also, in one of the regions, the differences in thickness were most pronounced in older subjects, suggesting that regular practise of meditation might reduce normal age- related thinning of the brain."
  8. 8. Other reported benefits • More empathic • Reduced emotional reaction to pain • Greater patience • Better focus and concentration • Decrease in blood pressure and reduced risk of coronary disease • Reduction in addictive behaviors
  9. 9. What are some core elements of Zen ‘philosophy’ and practice? - Connectedness - Mindfulness - Seeing things clearly - “Beginner’s Mind” - Letting go of conditioned thinking - Direct experience
  10. 10. • “The heart of Zen is the practice of zazen — seated, silent meditation — which is based predominantly on bringing your attention to the present moment (often via concentrating on your breath) and then doing your best to keep it there. The extension of that practice to life off the cushion is fairly straightforward: When you’re listening, really listen; when you’re eating, just eat. Pay attention to what you’re doing.”
  11. 11. ➔ Mental aspects ◆ Most important! ➔ Physical aspects ◆ Sitting postures Mechanics of Meditation
  12. 12. ➔ Mental aspects ◆ Goal = stay present in moment ● Slow down Monkey-mind ◆ Counting your breath ◆ Thoughts that come up = let them go! Mechanics of Meditation
  13. 13. Mechanics of Meditation ➔ Physical aspects ◆ Goal = remain still to help calm your mind ◆ Sitting in chair ◆ Floor ● Kneeling on cushion or bench ● Cross-legged ◆ Physical discomfort (itch, pain, etc.)
  14. 14. Practice Period
  15. 15. • Additional aspects of a center, a community, a teacher • Teacher can help us with obstacles, when we get stuck • Retreats allow much deeper practice period
  16. 16. • Mechanics and instruction • Physical aspects, posture, body , stillness • Chair, bench/seiza, cushion • Mind / attention / consciousness • Breathing, thoughts • 10 – 15 minutes of Practice • Check-in – what did you notice • Q&A • Follow up – to learn more…. • WEBSITE address • If you’d like to be on our mailing list…

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