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04:56 PM on 08/05/2013
Nice literature review on the neuroscience of Buddhist meditation!

But I am sure that Wired did not report that "their [monks'] brains generated powerful gamma rays". "Gamma-rays are the most energetic form of light and are produced by the hottest regions of the universe. They are also produced by such violent events as supernova explosions or the destruction of atoms, and by less dramatic events, such as the decay of radioactive material in space"[1] While "gamma waves are fast, high-frequency, rhythmic brain responses that have been shown to spike when higher cognitive processes are engaged."[2] Buddhist meditative techniques are powerful but not that powerful.

[1] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081021120945.htm

[2] http://science.hq.nasa.gov/kids/imagers/ems/gamma.html
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01:49 AM on 08/06/2013
LOL! One hopes it was gamma brain waves, and not rays (yikes!).

And, according to Wired, it was:

"Lutz asked Ricard to meditate on "unconditional loving-kindness and compassion." He immediately noticed powerful gamma activity - brain waves oscillating at roughly 40 cycles per second - indicating intensely focused thought. Gamma waves are usually weak and difficult to see. Those emanating from Ricard were easily visible, even in the raw EEG output. Moreover, oscillations from various parts of the cortex were synchronized - a phenomenon that sometimes occurs in patients under anesthesia."

On the other hand, if the monks' brains can generate gamma rays, then they are indeed accomplishing the impossible. My lead hat's off to them (or maybe not).
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Bethany Quartz
Liberty and Justice for All Humanity
03:07 PM on 08/05/2013
I don't want a monk's brain. I want a brain like Einstein's. If we can figure out how to restructure all of our brains in that direction the world will be a much better place. If somewhat riskier what with all the potential for explosive discoveries in science.
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janereally
My micro bio is empty.
03:15 PM on 08/05/2013
emphasis on "explosive" thanks to scientists...
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Bethany Quartz
Liberty and Justice for All Humanity
03:41 PM on 08/05/2013
There are downsides to human inventiveness, but I'll take them.
07:06 PM on 08/05/2013
Einstein's brain as opposed to a Monk's? I think you may have gotten your signals mixed. But I freely admit I am utterly inept at E=MC2. But I definitely have a notion or two as to how Einstein would point you at the monks.
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Nanetha
Medicare For All
08:35 PM on 08/05/2013
E=mc2 (energy equals the mass times the speed of light squared)
E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light. I believe Einstein and his writings below demonstrate his abilities to embrace TM / meditation along with his genius of quantum physics etc. You are correct, there is a link to Einstein & monks after all ;)

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." ~ Albert Einstein 1950

http://www.tm.org/blog/enlightenment/albert-einstein/#sthash.iMvecWta.dpuf
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Bethany Quartz
Liberty and Justice for All Humanity
06:00 AM on 08/06/2013
The monks should also point people at science.  It's true that with it we can extinct ourselves, but without using it to fix our mess we surely will.
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Loki Laufeyson
If everybody had empathy, there would be no crime.
02:23 PM on 08/05/2013
I hate headlines like this one. You can't, by definition, "do the impossible", what with it being, you know, "impossible"!
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James Degenhardt
02:07 PM on 08/05/2013
Simple: Refuse to acknowledge the concept of "impossible"
07:14 PM on 08/05/2013
(Note: Be very cautious about taking that to the point of taking the wrong escalator just because it can be... I mean, pick your spots. I say this as a recent convert to the value of common sense. ;)
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Pappa D
I survived Chemo! My brain did not !
11:30 PM on 08/05/2013
I do not understand a thing you have said ! And I doubt if you do either !
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jack abrahms
But why is the rum gone?
12:49 AM on 08/06/2013
go climb Mt. Everest naked...
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Klein bottle
My micro Bio is not empty.
02:01 PM on 08/05/2013
I was kinda hopin for an article on how to learn a new language in seven days, or something.
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Bethany Quartz
Liberty and Justice for All Humanity
03:07 PM on 08/05/2013
Now that would be really useful.
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jack abrahms
But why is the rum gone?
12:50 AM on 08/06/2013
or guess lottery numbers ...
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Laguna
Economist/Philosopher
01:45 PM on 08/05/2013
Short of becoming a Buddhist monk for the next twenty years, one wonders what methods could be used to achieve such results both quickly and safely?
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02:06 PM on 08/05/2013
I think the point is not about being a Buddhist monk but how he deep mediation practices they use acheive the results reported here. Meditation is the secret, apparently. I never gave much merit or the claims of mediation until I began to practive meditation during martial arts training as well as yoga. It does put the mind and body in a healthier state although, I am sure the reuslts here would require stronger meditation practices than what I have been doing.
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Laguna
Economist/Philosopher
02:12 PM on 08/05/2013
Fave.  Yes, I found Zen meditation practices helpful in my daily life.
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James Degenhardt
02:07 PM on 08/05/2013
Remembering the immortal words of the Great Muppet, "Do. Or do not. There is no 'try.'"
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Laguna
Economist/Philosopher
10:49 PM on 08/05/2013
You sound like a salesman for some real estate scheme.  LOL.
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
12:32 PM on 08/05/2013
These new intersections among neuroscience, consciousness, and emotion are fascinating both for the scientific underpinnings of the findings as well as the highlighting of certain elements of ancient forms of knowledge.
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Bethany Quartz
Liberty and Justice for All Humanity
03:09 PM on 08/05/2013
Agreed, although I hope for more useful applications later. Not that monks are useless, but if I were going to change my brain, I'd go for brilliance in math and science.
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
06:38 PM on 08/05/2013
Just start visualizing receiving the Nobel Prize in physics....
07:08 PM on 08/05/2013
Or you could buy a computer for that. If I look around, it's not a lack of science that's the problems I find most appalling.
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Pappa D
I survived Chemo! My brain did not !
11:34 PM on 08/05/2013
I-US :
You lost me at these ! Sorry .
I-US
Beware the monsters lurking in word swamps.
07:54 AM on 08/06/2013
I don't understand, Pappa D.
11:51 AM on 08/05/2013
Fascinating stuff. Have always loved Meditation.
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strangeways1
welcome to the jungle , every med just makes it be
11:30 AM on 08/05/2013
yeah i'd love to see people do these poses the day after getting out of back surgery
01:27 PM on 08/05/2013
you can meditate lying down.
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Klein bottle
My micro Bio is not empty.
02:01 PM on 08/05/2013
Ah yes, the ancient art of "sleeping". . .
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strangeways1
welcome to the jungle , every med just makes it be
03:21 PM on 08/05/2013
yeah but you cant do the back arch and all that. it would be like a guy getting out of quadruple bypass and they say, go run a marathon
04:15 AM on 08/06/2013
I meditate while walking down the street listening to Guns N Roses. One does not need to be in a specific pose in order to meditate.
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strangeways1
welcome to the jungle , every med just makes it be
09:48 AM on 08/06/2013
hmmm i listen to them