Despite the #OWS vibe, and the initial feeling of silliness when you close your eyes and hum, it's an established scientific fact: meditation makes your brain healthier. From the LATimes:
The brains of experienced meditators appear to be fitter, more disciplined and more "on task" than do the brains of those trying out meditation for the first time. And the differences between the two groups are evident not only during meditation, when brain scans detect a pattern of better control over the wandering mind among experienced meditators, but when the mind is allowed to wander freely.
Those insights emerge from a study to be published next week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which looked at two groups: highly experienced meditators and meditation novices, and compared the operations of the "Default Mode Network" -- a newly identified cluster of brain regions that go to work when our brains appear to be "offline."
"I think it's safe to say this is brain-training at work," says Yale University psychiatrist Judson Brewer, who conducted the study with psychologists from Yale, the University of Oregon and Columbia University. "It makes sense," adds Brewer. "Anything you train to do, you do better."
This makes sense to me. When I used to practice meditation more diligently -- and I'll pause here to allow you all to snicker uninterrupted for a moment....all done? Okay, to continue:
When I used to practice meditation more diligently, I found it easier to concentrate, easier to focus, and actually more enjoyable to sit for a while and write. Meditation has many definitions, of course. You don't have to sit cross-legged like a swami and burn incense. Monks chanting is a form of meditation. So is prayer for some people. Whatever it is, this is the goal:
During meditation and in the mental rest periods in between, a brain region known to be important in focusing and maintaining attention, the dorsolateral anterior cingulate cortex was more likely to activate in tandem with the posterior cingulate cortex in regular meditators than in those who are new to the practice: that, says Brewer, suggests that during meditation and in everyday life, meditators may have more skill in reining in their wandering thoughts and bringing the brain back "on task"-- than those who don't routinely meditate.
We conservatives have a lot of work to do. We have to scrap the current tax code, restore America's entrepreneurial greatness, fundamentally reform the school system, and prepare for a more competitive future. We're going to need dorsolateral anterior cingulate cortices in fighting shape.
So, take twenty minutes and meditate.