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Well if we needed more scientific proof that meditation is actually helping us feel better then – here it is.

In the January 2011 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a study found that people who meditated for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks had measurable changes in the density of gray-matter responsible for information processing in our brains. Parts of the brain where the increase occurred are associated  with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress.

Eight weeks is not a long time to achieve such astonishing results. The site providing this information also provides some very good links to assist with your meditation practice.

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Two Buddhist monks on temple stepsMeditation research can take us to many places and most of us are curious about the lives of our Gurus. How do they maintain their sense of equilibrium, active spirituality, mindfulness and compassion – especially when they have achieved fame and success in the western world. Deepak Chopra, author of 65 books, is at the forefront of spiritual teaching in our times. Now Deepak Chopra’s son, Gotham Chopra, has made a film about his father’s life, work and times – Decoding Deepak.  It has recently been screened at the the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.

In an interivew Gotham speaks about how the film attempts to reconcile the spiritual icon his father has become with “who he is really and what he is interested in and where he is going and who he is as a person I grew up around and my sister grew up around. ” To him the film becomes an exploration of awareness – what spirituality is about.

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Welcome to my Meditation Research Blog.

I have been meditating for about 25 years and have used various techniques with great success and for long periods of time. These have included mantra,  mindfulness and sound based meditation practices. I have been and still am inspired by such people as Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodrin and Deepak Chopra.  But I am no Guru and the problem is that my practice can become inconsistent and I do not understand why.  I become seduced by the ‘busyness’ of life! I know many people suffer from the same problem. I don’t use the word ‘suffer’ lightly! When I meditate on a regular basis I am calmer and more mindful; I have greater compassion and tolerance for those around me. So why does my practice falter?

In order to answer this question I have undertaken to investigate various practices. There are so many new developments and techniques, so much discussion about ‘how to meditate’ I believe this investigation will not only add to my knowledge but influence my practice and assist me to maintain some discipline over my practice.

In addition I am particularly interested in the current scientific research being conducted into the benefits of meditation. I have been amazed at what this research is showing and also at the extent of the research that is being carried out. Initially I thought if I found that research outcomes were positive then this would be an incentive for me to practice meditation regularly. But research results are so much more than I anticipated.

All in all the objective of this blog is to shine some light on the whole matter of meditation, to allow the older traditions to have their voice, and to bring expert opinion to the fore in relation to  current trends, research and developments. I believe that the knowledge I am gaining is already assisting my practice and hope that through sharing,  this knowledge will prove stimulating and useful to others, meditators and would-be meditators alike.

Roberta