Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meditation & Mind Wandering

     "Human attention selectively focuses on aspects of experience that are threatening, pleasant, or novel. The physical threats of the ancient times have largely been replaced by chronic psychological worries and hurts. The mind gets drawn to these worries and hurts, mostly in the domain of the past and future, leading to mind wandering. In the brain, a network of neurons called the default mode network has been associated with mind wandering. Abnormal activity in the default mode network may predispose to depression, anxiety, attention deficit, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Several studies show that meditation can reverse some of these abnormalities, producing salutary functional and structural changes in the brain."

       Sood A, Jones DT. On mind wandering, attention, brain networks, and meditation. Explore 2013; 9(3):136-141. 
Sandeep Patil

1 comment:

  1. On Meditation and Mind wandering

    Meditation, from focal meditation to mindfulness entails the avoidance of all conscious discursive or unpredictable transitive (act-outcome) or ‘what if’ decision making or judgment that represents past, present and future judgments that can easily transition into perseverative thought (i.e. regret, distraction, and worry). In other words, meditation is reducing discursive thinking by being in the moment or ‘mindful’. The avoidance of discursive thinking or ‘mind wandering’ prevents the development of future perseverative conflicts and results in the covert musculature becoming inactive, or a pleasurable state of rest. Relaxation is achieved by avoiding discursive judgment rather than all judgment, while anticipated and subsequent non-discursive or meaningful behavior sustains and enhances the positive affect due to relaxation both during and after meditation sessions. (This is exemplified in cognitive strategies such as savoring, loving-kindness meditation, and flow experiences that couple positive ideation with relaxed states) Thus meditation, to be effective or most ‘affective’, must represent a dual cognitive strategy that couples the inhibition of discursive thinking with subsequent non-discursive or meaningful judgment or thought.

    A more formal explanation from a neurologically based learning theory is provided on pp. 47-52 in a little open-source book on the psychology of rest linked below. (The flow experience is discussed on pp. 81-86.)