Monday, November 12, 2007

At last: something for both messy-desk and clean-desk people!

According to the Nov. 19 Newsweek (WSJ, B10), there has just been a new crop of studies about meditation. Apparently the ones done in the '50s and '60s ignored "the possibility that only calm people like to meditate." Now, says columnist Sharon Begley (also, coincidentally, the WSJ Science Journal author), not only do we have less-flawed studies, we have also found more positive effects besides relaxation.
  • "[A]n eight-week course in compassion meditation -- in which people focus on a wish for all beings to be free from suffering -- shifts brain activity in a way that usually gives a sense of well being."
  • "Mindfulness meditation" enables practitioners "to keep better track of numbers scattered among a list of letters. Their brains were making more effective use of the mechanisms that govern attention." In mindfulness meditation, one lets random thoughts dance around in the mind; one does not judge them.

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