Different Types of Meditation

Alice G. Walton posted an interesting article about meditation and the Brain and how different types of meditation change different parts of the brain. There have been many opinions about how to change the brain.
“Now, a new study from Max Planck Institute finds three different types of meditation training are linked to changes in corresponding brain regions. The results, published in Science Advances, have a lot of relevance to schools, businesses and, of course, the general public.”
One study with participants between 20 and 55 years of age, dubbed the “Presence,” engaged in 3 different types of training for 3 months each, totaling a nine-month period. In this study, participants learned to focus their attention, bringing it back when it wandered, and to attend to the breath and to their internal body sensations.
A second training called “Affect” sought to enhance empathy and compassion for others – participants learned “loving-kindness” (Metta) meditation, and did work with partners, the goal of which was to enhance one’s compassion and empathy.
The third training, called “Perspective” which was akin to mindfulness or open-monitoring meditation. Here, the focus was on observing one’s thoughts non-judgementally and enhancing understanding of the perspectives of others.
Training in Presence was linked to enhanced thickness in the “anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) which are known to be strongly involved in socially driven emotions like empathy. And Perspective training associated with changes in areas involved in understanding the mental states of others and, interestingly, inhibiting the perspective of oneself.”
Such findings are fascinating and promote the growing beliefs in mindfulness and meditation. In brief, meditation, in its different forms, may be a powerful way to boost the types of intelligence that matter most.
The authors add that this kind of sensitivity is especially important nowadays, as our community becomes more global, and understanding of others’ experiences more essential.

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