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High alpha brain wave coherence 'the signature of Transcendental Meditation'
by Global Good News staff writer
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4 September 2013
Neuroscientist Dr Alarik Arenander discussed more about a topic he has been researching for many years: What happens in the brain when one begins the practice of Transcendental Meditation?
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∙ Dr Arenander explains coherent brain functioning during Transcendental Meditation
Coherence in brain functioning oscillates in normal daily activity, while one is running errands or reading a book, said Dr Arenander, who is Director of the Brain Research Institute in Iowa, USA. However, during the practice of Transcendental Meditation, coherence in the all-important prefrontal cortex, the brain's seat of executive functioning, increases and remains steady.
To illustrate the contrast between normal daily activity and Transcendental Meditation, Dr Arenander showed the actual EEG activity of a person preparing to meditate. While the volunteer subject sat and looked around the room, the computer calculated her brain waves' coherent functioning relative to each other. As expected, the coherence wildly oscillated with no discernable pattern.
But as soon as the volunteer began to practise Transcendental Meditation, the graph displaying brain wave coherence changed dramatically to high, sustained levels of coherence—at 90 per cent or higher for the duration of the meditation.
Dr Arenander pointed out that this level of coherence was sustained even while the volunteer sat meditating in a room full of people, some talking and looking at her, while street noise continued in the background.
In addition to the change in coherence, Dr Arenander showed that the amplitude of the EEG alpha brain waves changed as well. This high alpha coherence is 'the signature of Transcendental Meditation, and Transcendental Meditation alone', he said.
Dr Arenander explained the process and how it mirrors a person's inner experience during Transcendental Meditation.
During the practice, the mind effortlessly settles down and experiences quieter levels of the thinking process. From time to time, the mind transcends (goes beyond) thought to experience a state of pure consciousness—also described as 'the Self', our true inner nature, Dr Arenander said. In this peaceful state of deep inner silence and restful alertness, all the higher frequency brain waves that represent our outer sensory perceptions or objects of perception recede, he said, and we're left with just the alpha coherence that is the signature brain pattern of the experience of the Self.
Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service
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