Improve your life through meditation!
Join Dr. Andrew Newberg as he breaks down neurotheology and the different ways meditation has been proven to improve the brain. He shares his personal experience and research to help you unlock the practice that will most benefit you.
Listen now and start your practice!
Whether there’s a “best” meditation practice has been the subject of conversation for years. But science has shown that every kind of practice has a benefit depending on who’s doing it and in what context. But whatever practice you choose needs to resonate with you. Otherwise, the benefits won’t be there.
Dr. Newberg’s advice is to look at why you’re seeking meditation and to do your homework on what practices are in line with those goals. There is a trial and error aspect involved, so make sure you give yourself enough time to try a few out and determine what’s working and what’s not.
Data shows that any amount of meditation, even brief sessions of 30 seconds to a few minutes, has positive physiological effects on the brain. So when going into a stressful situation or work meeting, taking a few minutes to sit quietly or repeat a mantra can be very beneficial. The longer you do it, however, the better and longer the impact will be.
A very complex network of structures activates within the brain when we practice meditation. The frontal and parietal lobes are most affected by these practices, which can be seen on both functional fMRI scans and EEG machines.
Deep practices can fuel a sense of oneness with the universe or strengthen our connection to God, which can lead to a very intense experience. This helps explain why meditation has been at the heart of many religious and spiritual practices, both Eastern and Western, for thousands of years.
There are common threads among practices that tie them all together, but the way people go about them can vary. No one has done a direct comparison between all groups, so at this point, there is really no way to pinpoint specific similarities and differences. Dr. Newberg hopes that the future of neurotheology can start to explain how each person finds the path that works for them.
He and his team studied a small group of nuns and Buddhist practitioners. He had them engage in a centering prayer, a meditative practice that focuses on a specific prayer or passage from the Bible. It’s not a mantra practice, but rather more contemplative. The goal is to have an experience where you feel more at one with God. Dr. Newberg found that different practices engage the brain in different ways.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to meditation. Through his research, Dr. Newberg has achieved his own deep appreciation for every perspective. Everyone he’s studied has felt passionate about the value of what they practice.
Listen now and find the right meditation practice for you!
Andrew Newberg, MD, is the research director of the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health and a professor in the Department of Integrative Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. He is the author of ten books, including the bestseller How God Changes Your Brain and is regarded as one of the most influential neuroscientists working today.