"The vagus nerve…helps the brain regulate heart rate and respiration, among other things, and high vagal function is associated with all sorts of good things, such as efficient regulation of glucose and inflammation as well as lower incidence of heart disease and diabetes. Those with high vagal function are statistically better at regulating their emotions, attention and behavior, too…
[R]esearch by Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author of Positivity, has shown that over a six-week course of 'loving kindness' meditation…subjects can raise their vagal function, reaping all the positive effects that come along with it. ‘Just as you can increase your muscle tone with physical training, so can you increase your vagal tone with emotional training,’ Fredrickson says.”
"Samsara is not really there; it is just a mistake that we make, and nirvana is simply the correction of that mistake. We could also say that samsara is similar to dreaming and not knowing it is a dream—it is simply a misperception or mistaken understanding of the events that appear to be happening. Nirvana, in contrast, is like recognizing the dream for what it is."
—Khenpo Tsültrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
Gyamtso, K.T. (2003). The sun of wisdom. Boston: Shambhala.
"ScienceDaily (Apr. 19, 2012) — Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. This is the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University, published 19 April in Frontiers in Cognition.
This study is a clear indication that the advantages of particular types of meditation extend much further than simply relaxation. The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we think and how we experience events.
Two ingredients of creativity
The study investigates the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
Divergent thinking Divergent thinking allows many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.
Convergent thinking Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is a process whereby one possible solution for a particular probem is generated. This method is measured using the Remote Associates Task method, where three unrelated words are presented to the participants, words such as ‘time’, ‘hair’ and ‘stretch’. The particpants are then asked to identify the common link: in this case, ‘long’.
Analysis of meditation techniques
Colzato used creativity tasks that measure convergent and divergent thinking to assess which meditation techiques most influence creative activities. The meditation techniques analysed are Open Monitoring and Focused Attention meditation.
In Open Monitoring meditation the individual is receptive to all the thoughts and sensations experienced without focusing attention on any particular concept or object.
In Focused Attention meditation the individual focuses on a particular thought or object.
Different types of meditation have different effects
These findings demonstrate that not all forms of meditation have the same effect on creativity. After an Open Monitoring meditation the participants performed better in divergent thinking, and generated more new ideas than previously, but Focused Attention (FA) meditation produced a different result. FA meditation also had no significant effect on convergent thinking leading to resolving a problem.”