Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer of scientific research on meditation, describes the benefits of meditation practice on the mind, brain and body. One of the main points he discusses is how meditation actually makes changes in the brain structurally, in a process that is known in neuroscience as neuroplasticity.
Here are some excerpts from the video:
“Meditation can transform your life and be profoundly healing. And it does that by working on the entire organism–from your chromosomes to your cells to your brain. And it affects all organ systems within the body. We’re beginning to understand that, including the immune system and how the brain activity functions under stress and under difficult situations, how we regulate emotions and so forth.
“And the brain, being an organ of experience, actually is continually changing its shape. This is that kind of discovery of neuroplasticity. And so how we decide to live our lives, and in the sense how we decide to keep our minds, actually changes not just our ideas and opinions and how caught we get in them, but actually changes our relationship to thought. And then when we look at the structure of the brain, not only is the brain functioning differently, but the actual structure of the brain, that what some pople call the real estate of the brain, is being recruited in the service of greater compassion, equanimity, clarity and wisdom. And you can see that in different regions of the brain that actually become thicker.”
More on Jon Kabat-Zinn:
“Jon Kabat-Zinn (né Kabat) (born June 5, 1944) is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn and a founding member of Cambridge Zen Center. His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with those of Western science. He teaches mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness. A stress reduction program created by Kabat-Zinn is offered at medical centers, hospitals, and health maintenance organizations.” (source: wikipedia)