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Increased inner silence, brain coherence characterize development of consciousness, study finds
by Global Good News staff writer
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28 October 2013
One of the main findings of a study included in the most recent collection of published research on Transcendental Meditation was that subjects who had been practising the technique longer showed more efficient brain activity during particular tasks.
In a recent interview, Dr Michael Dillbeck, editor of the newly published Volume 7 of Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme: Collected Papers, described more about the study, which was conducted in 2002.
See previous article in this series: Efficiency during activity increases with Transcendental Meditation practice, study finds
Three different groups were part of the study: nonmeditators, new meditators (those who recently learned Transcendental Meditation), and long-term meditators.
The study looked at the EEG (electroencephalographic) brain wave activity of subjects during simple reaction tasks, where nothing is required except to react in one simple way to the stimulus; and also during choice reaction tasks, where subjects will respond in one of two ways depending on the stimulus.
In the latter type of task, Dr Dillbeck explained, 'If you are too agitated and ready to react, then it gets in the way of your actual ability to respond once the [stimulus] comes.'
But the researchers found that, with longer time practising Transcendental Meditation, subjects showed more efficient brain activity during choice reaction tasks. They responded quickly once the stimulus came, but up to that point, their brain activity remained calm and quietly alert.
Dr Dillbeck pointed out that this pattern of brain functioning demonstrates the principle of increased inner silence during activity. This is one of the experiences characteristic of the state of inner freedom, fulfilment, and full development of life that is described as unfolding naturally over time through the regular practice of TM.
These findings of efficient brain functioning were combined with other results of the study showing higher levels of brain wave coherence, to create a brain integration scale that is able to map brain development resulting from practice of Transcendental Meditation.
Dr Dillbeck added, 'The research since then has shown, in university students who learn Transcendental Meditation, that in the first few months after learning . . . their brain integration increases significantly compared to controls who did not learn.'
The interviewer pointed out that this corresponds with more recent findings showing that increased levels of inner silence and brain wave coherence in activity are signs of long-term meditation practice, rather than the experience of transcending* during meditation. In Transcendental Meditation, he said, transcending is experienced right from the start. But it is the infusion of silence into everyday activity that is unique to the continuing development of consciousness through regular practice of Transcendental Meditation.
See related articles:
∙ Brain integration scale measures development of consciousness resulting from Transcendental Meditation
∙ Meditators' brains function differently during sleep, Transcendental Meditation study finds
∙ Meditators show increased brain coherence during activity, study finds
∙ Scientific research on Transcendental Meditation covers wide range of benefits, new volume shows
* During the practice of Transcendental Meditation, the mind effortlessly experiences quieter and quieter levels of thought. From time to time, the mind transcends (goes beyond) the activity of thought and settles down to a state of inner silence, known as the inner Self or pure consciousness. With regular meditation practice the silence and peace of this inner experience are described as naturally becoming integrated into daily living.
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