Mindfulness Meditation is the exercise for your brain. As I always tell my students If you follow through and practice mindfulness meditation every single day… pretty soon you’ll see results. You will notice how your reactivity reduced, how your focus & attention increased, and how you can respond to any situation wisely, instead of react blindly!
In this video Psychologist and science journalist, Daniel Goleman talks about the difference between altered state and altered trait, and how mindfulness meditation practices can boost your brain:
“Altered states refers to a mode of consciousness or awareness that takes us out of our ordinary everyday sense of the world, sense of ourselves. We can enter altered states when we get intensely focused on something—deep concentration will bring you into an altered state, sometimes people like to talk how athletes get “into the zone” or they “get into flow”, those are everyday altered states, but they come from being intensely focused on some activity or in the moment itself. And of course, altered states can come from drugs or from being in an unusual physiological state. A fever can bring on an altered state. And of course, the ‘60s and ‘70s saw a huge upsurge of people interested in exploring altered states through psychedelics. So altered states are temporary conditions, and when whatever it was that brought on the special state of awareness leaves, then the state fades. So if you get into a flow state rock climbing, when you come down from the mountain, it’s gone—or whatever may have caused it: your temperature might have gone up, and put you into maybe not a pleasant altered state, but still an altered state. The temperature goes down, it’s gone.
Altered traits, on the other hand, are lasting changes or transformations of being, and they come classically through having cultivated an altered state through meditation, which then has a consequence for how you are day-to-day—and that’s different than how you were before you tried the meditation. And what we find in our research, as we say in the book Altered Traits, is that the more you meditate, the more lifetime hours you put into it, the stronger the lasting traits become.When we surveyed more than 6000 peer-reviewed articles published to date on meditation we used very strict rigorous methodological standards and we whittled them down to about 60, so maybe one percent of all those articles were really well done. And they document very strongly that altered traits are lasting consequences of regular meditation and it’s not that it’s the altered states that’s the point. If you look at the classic traditions from which meditation comes to us in the West, all of them talk about the quality of being, the person you’ve become. And we see it in the data in many ways. We see it in cognitive changes, we see in behavioural changes and most importantly we see it in neurological changes the neuroscience of meditation is really getting stronger and stronger. It’s pretty spectacular and it shows that brain function and perhaps even structure in the long-term meditators becomes different and becomes different in ways that are actually predicted in classic meditation texts. “
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