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Zen meditation, a Buddhist practice centered on attentional and postural self-regulation, has been speculated to bring about beneficial long-term effects for the individual, ranging from stress reduction to improvement of cognitive function. In this study, we examined how the regular practice of meditation may affect the normal age-related decline of cerebral gray matter volume and attentional performance observed in healthy individuals. Voxel-based morphometry for MRI anatomical brain images and a computerized sustained attention task were employed in 13 regular practitioners of Zen meditation and 13 matched controls. While control subjects displayed the expected negative correlation of both gray matter volume and attentional performance with age, meditators did not show a significant correlation of either measure with age. The effect of meditation on gray matter volume was most prominent in the putamen, a structure strongly implicated in attentional processing. These findings suggest that the regular practice of meditation may have neuroprotective effects and reduce the cognitive decline associated with normal aging.

Freedom from suffering is not only possible, but the means for achieving it are immediately within our grasp—literally as close to us as our own breath. This is the 2,500-year-old good news contained in the Anapanasati Sutra , the Buddha's teaching on cultivating both tranquility and deep insight through full awareness of breathing. In this book, Larry Rosenberg brings this timeless meditation method to life. Using the insights gained from his many years of practice and teaching, he makes insight meditation practice accessible to modern practitioners.
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Buddhist meditation practice is perceived as non-relational. Yet a serious meditator develops an intimacy with herself that is an asset to being in a healthy relationship. In this essay, using composite profiles of patients, I pursue my interest in relationships and family life as a path to mental health and a home to enlightened experience. The intimacy of a relationship with oneself, with another and within family provides a container that may enable us to let go of our fixed sense of self.

Information overload is one of the factors behind current alarming statistics on stress. Meditation helps the body-mind resist the deleterious effects of the information on-slaught. Though meditation is well known as a relaxation technique, its noetic value is often overlooked. Its benefits extend well beyond superficial soothing: it trains attention; it increases pattern recognition; and it reconnects us to the whole of our intelligence, enhancing coordination between its complementary poles. Meditation is a potent high-touch resource in a high-tech world.

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