We hear a lot nowadays about meditation and mindfulness. So inquiring minds often want to know what effect meditation can have on learning. First, let’s back up a step.
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What is meditation?
It’s just a way of bringing about different modes of consciousness using a variety of different techniques. For example, meditators may close their eyes and repeat a mantra, control their breathing, or deliberately cultivate a certain emotional state.
Types of Meditation Techniques
Scientific research on meditation is still in its infancy. But researchers can sometimes classify meditation techniques into two different types that seem to be fundamentally different.
- Focused attention
- And, open monitoring.
Given what we’ve learned already, I guess that these two types of meditation relate to the two different types of basic modes the brain uses to perceive the world, focused and diffuse. And you’d be right.
Two different types of basic modes of the brain use to perceive the world:
Focused attention types of meditations such as mantra, sound, or chakra meditation appear to help enhance focus mode type thinking, this kind of meditation sometimes seems to make people feel better. It can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, even while it builds concentration abilities.
In contrast, open monitoring types of meditation such as Vipassana and mindfulness, appear to improve diffuse imaginative thinking.
With open monitoring, we don’t just focus on one thing. Instead, we keep our attention open to all aspects of experience without judging or becoming attached to our thoughts. Now we know that diffuse mode thinking is more wide-ranging, your thoughts can bounce pretty much anywhere.
Daydreaming happens in the diffuse mode, daydreaming not only gives rise to more random thoughts and connections that underpin creativity. It also helps you plan for the future since your thoughts tend to wander towards what the future might bring, sounds great, right? Well, not entirely.
The diffuse mode is also affiliated with anxiety and depression. Think about it this way. If your mind is bouncing all over the place, it can get drawn into worry about, whoa, things that might go wrong.
Part of the reason that building your focusing abilities may help make you feel happier is that it appears to suppress the diffuse mode, while it builds the focusing mode.
So what does all this mean?
It means that meditation can have surprisingly different effects, depending on the type. It’s all very complex, and researchers are far from sorting everything out yet. In the end, practices that encourage focusing can be a great benefit for learning. But having some daily time where your mind relaxes and wanders freely is also very important, particularly if you want to encourage creativity.
From a practical standpoint then if you are a meditator you might try to avoid feeling you should always be steering your thoughts back into focus if you catch your mind wandering outside meditation sessions.
This might be why people find the Pomodoro technique so useful for combining creativity with productivity. It’s a sort of working meditation.
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What are Meditation and Mindfulness?
Meditation and Mindfulness can help us survive and thrive, both as individuals and as human beings on this Earth together. Meditation and Mindfulness are the awareness of what is going on in us and around us in the present moment.
It requires stopping, looking deeply, and recognizing both the uniqueness of the moment and its connection to everything that has gone on before and will go on in the future.
Mindfulness can help us survive and thrive, both as individuals and as human beings on this Earth together. It is a continual practice — a path that helps us to transform our suffering and that brings happiness to ourselves and others.
Mindfulness Meditation YouTube
Meditation Mindfulness Guided
Read Here: Mindfulness Meditation for Deep Relaxation and Quieting the Mind (Part I)
Meditation vs Mindfulness
Read here: Preconceptions About Mindfulness Meditation
Books On Meditation and Mindfulness
Top Five Books on Meditation and Mindfulness:
- Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams. Danny Penman
- Into the Heart of Mindfulness: Finding Our Path to Well-Being by Ed Halliwell
- A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax
- The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being by Daniel Siegel
- Mindfulness in Action: Making Friends with Yourself through Meditation and Everyday Awareness by Chogyam Trungpa
Meditation and Mindfulness Book
- Mindfulness in Action
- The Mindful Brain in Human Development
- A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled
- Into the Heart of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness
- Decreased Depression.
- Increased Emotional Regulation.
- Reduced Anxiety and Stress.
- Better Memory.
- Cognitive Improvements.
- Stronger Relationships.
- Better Physical Health.
- When to Use Caution.