Brain waves vibrate at different frequencies according to different states of mental alertness. Research has shown that at “Aha! moments” the brain is emitting Gamma waves.
We discussed this research and the various other frequencies of vibration in the article “Gamma Waves and Inspiration.” Now we’ll take a closer look at how meditation could help produce off-the-chart Gamma waves, and thus, perhaps, off-the-chart “Aha! moments.”
The general consensus of the benefits or reason for meditating is to “quiet the mind,” which leads to a de-stressing of the body. It’s interesting to note that, while many people report the generally relaxing effects of meditating on a consistent basis, some practitioners report transcendental states in which they experience deeply profound insights of a “spiritual” nature.
These experiences are currently not easily assimilated in terms of how traditional scientific minds tend to view measurable reality. However, it seems important to put these “transcendental states” into the context of what we currently can measure.
It seems important to put these ‘transcendental states’ into the context of what we currently can measure.
In 2004, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a paper outlining the electroencephalogram (EEG) states of long-term meditators during their meditative practices. The conclusions of the study were as follows: “
The ratio of gamma-band activity (25–42 hertz, Hz) … is initially higher in the resting baseline before meditation for the practitioners than the controls … This difference increases sharply during meditation over most of the scalp electrodes and remains higher than the initial baseline.”
In 2010, in the journal Cognitive Processes, a paper was published studying the EEG readings during long-term “Vipassana” meditators vs. non-meditators. The results were as follows: “Relative increase in frontal theta (4–8 Hz) power was observed during meditation, as well as significantly increased parieto-occipital gamma (35–45 Hz) power. … The findings suggest that long-term Vipassana meditation contributes to increased occipital gamma power related to long-term meditational expertise and enhanced sensory awareness.”
In 2004, neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson studied the EEG waves emitted by Tibetan meditating monks and found some of the monks produced Gamma wave activity more powerful and of higher amplitude than any documented case in history.
Some of the monks produced Gamma wave activity more powerful and of higher amplitude than any documented case in history.
In 2008, Dr. Davidson conducted another study with Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard nicknamed “The Happiest Man in the World.” The EEG waves that Richard produced were considered to be literally “off the charts” in terms of significant strength.
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