Different forms of meditation impact the brain differently.

In this great 6 minute video Dr Fred Travis, leading brain researcher, answers the question how does meditation affect the brain? And how do different meditations differ in their effect on the brain.

He starts by pointing out that the brain is the interface between external and internal experience.

Then he reminds us that the brain is a river, not a rock. It is always changing.

The front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is the boss of the brain, the part that lets you put things together.

The amygdala, deep in the middle brain, is activated by traumatic experience. Once it is activated, you need the opposite experience to turn it back off again.

Post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, happens when the amygdala becomes chronically activated, thus colouring our experience to make things feel threatening, even when they may not be at all.

We need the opposite experience, a holistic experience, to turn the amygdala back off. Meditation does this.

So to turn off PTSD, you need to reset the amygdala – to turn off the fear signals which otherwise colour your experience so negatively.

But not all meditation techniques are the same.

Dr Travis then gives a fascinating insight into what the most popular forms of meditation deliver.

Science now recognises the three categories of meditation as being: Focussed Attention, Open Monitoring, and Automatic Self Transcending.

Watch the video for a simple but profound insight into the differences. Just 6 mins – well worth it.


Transcendental meditation is in the category of automatic self transcending – it gives access to the state in which you transcend thinking, allowing you to experience your essence.

Remember every experience changes the brain.

Trauma turns on the fear centre and turns off the prefrontal cortex or thinking centre.

Transcending during TM practice gives an experience of restful alertness and restores balanced function of mind and body. This relieves PTSD and supports happiness and success in life.


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