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Friday, December 19, 2008

Andrew Newberg: Meditation helps, but - how many times do we have to say this - you must WORK at it ...

At Sharp Brains, Alvaro Fernandez interviews Andrew Newberg, author of Why God Won't Go Away and several other books, on recent studies in meditation. Newberg notes,
A variety of studies have already shown the stress management benefits of meditation, resulting in what is often called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. What we are researching now is what are the cognitive - attention, memory- benefits? It is clear that memory depends on attention and the ability to screen out distractions - so we want to measure the effect of meditation on the brain, both structurally and functionally.
Why don't more people meditate (or contemplate), despite a growing body of evidence that it helps them? From Newberg:
Well, the reality is that meditation requires practice and dedication. It is not an easy fix. And some of the best-researched meditation techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, are very intensive. You need a trained facilitator. You need to stick to the practice.
Yes indeed. As I have said elsewhere, and not as graciously as Dr. Newberg: "Real Buddhism scholar to "neural Buddhists": The real Buddha does not infinitely morph and would never drop two grand for meditation gear.

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