Monks Shed Light on Meditation

News Note

By Darren Buford

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2005.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, practicing meditation may increase brain activity involved in attention, memory, learning, and happiness. Researchers studied eight Buddhist monks who had practicing at least 10,000 hours of compassion meditation (promoting kindness toward all beings) by tracing brain waves.

When compared to 10 novice meditators, the monks had higher gamma levels before beginning meditation, and these numbers increased during meditation. Though both groups showed positive results, researchers suggest the monks showed higher levels of activity because the health benefits associated with meditation accumulate over time.