The Biology of Meditation. | elephant journal

The Biology of Meditation. | elephant journal.

Lisa Wimberger provides a Cliff’s Notes version of the book Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment, by David Perlmutter and Alberto Villoldo.


Stress, trauma and the health perils associated with those states all begin and get perpetuated in the limbic brain, which is comprised of the hippocampus, hypothalamus and amygdala. These are responsible for making our emotional connections outside of logic, taking snapshots of life, creating our dream state experiences, turning on our fight-or-flight response, and storing and delivering emotional information independent of time. The limbic system cannot discern past, present, or future — each “picture” it accesses is experienced by the body as though it’s current.

Fasting and/or a low-calorie diet, antioxidants, voluntary exercise, and meditation are key ways to turn down the limbic brain.

About meditation, she says…

…it is found that those who meditate or enter states of trance have increased blood flow to their pre-frontal cortex (PFC). This area of the brain is the executive decision maker, but is not quite the same as the neo-cortex “logic” mind. The PFC is activated on EKGs during states of compassion, inspiration, motivation and love. It has the ability to project and envision a future reward. It is the part of the brain responsible for motivating us to attain our goals and dreams. Blood flow to the PFC decreases when blood flow to the limbic brain increases.

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