March 31, 2010 at 4:22 pm #33808
It’s nice to see that the science community is recognizing more subtle differences between the different forms of meditation. Not much is talked about inter alchemy here but I thought it interesting to post anyway.
I don’t currently have the source for this article but will post it when I find it.
New Study Outlines Differences Among Types of Meditation
A study to be published in April uses EEG characteristics to show that
different types of meditation show different types of activity in the brain.
Writing in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, MUM researcher Fred
Travis and former faculty Jonathan Shear discuss three categories of
meditation: focused attention — concentrating on an object or emotion; open
monitoring — being mindful of one’s breath or thoughts; and automatic
self-transcending — meditations that transcend their own activity.
The first two categories had been previously discussed, and to those the
authors added the third category of self-transcending.
The authors assigned EEG bands to each category based on reports in the
scientific literature of the characteristic EEG patterns for various mental
tasks. They then categorized the meditations based on the EEG patterns that
have been reported to be associated with them.
“The idea is that meditation is, in a sense, a ‘cognitive task,’ and EEG
frequencies are known for different tasks,” Dr. Travis said. The variations
among meditation are due to differences in focus, subject/object relation,
and procedures, leading to different EEG patterns, he said.
The authors found that a single type of meditation might fall into different
categories, depending in part on the length of time the subjects had
practiced meditation. The results showed that focused attention, which is
characterized by beta/gamma activity, can be seen in meditations from
Tibetan Buddhist (loving kindness and compassion), Buddhist (Zen and Diamond
Way), and Chinese (Qigong) traditions.
Open monitoring, which is characterized by theta activity, can be seen in
meditations from Buddhist (Mindfulness, and ZaZen), Chinese (Qigong), and
Vedic (Sahaja Yoga) traditions.
Automatic self-transcending, characterized by alpha1 activity, is seen in
meditations from Vedic (Transcendental Meditation) and Chinese (Qigong)
The authors explained that the EEG characteristics of self-transcending are
the result of the effortless nature of the technique and that brain wave
patterns in the Transcendental Meditation technique reach high levels after
just a few months. In contrast, the authors describe a case study in which a
practitioner of Qigong achieved effortless practice after 45 years, which
was hypothesized to be the result of “automaticity through extensive
rehearsal” — just as any activity becomes more automatic through repeated
The authors said that these findings shed light on the common mistake of
lumping meditations together.
“Meditations differ in both their ingredients and their effects, just as
medicines do, so lumping them all together as ‘essentially the same’ is
simply a mistake,’ Dr. Shear said.March 31, 2010 at 7:32 pm #33809
Yeah, their diversity of types of meditations is somewhat lacking here,
but did you notice how Chinese (Qigong) was the only thing listed in
all three categories? . . . SMarch 31, 2010 at 8:09 pm #33811
Yes, not too much depth here. But at least they are recognized some form of difference. As if Qigong covers all the Taoist forms of meditation, hardly.
It’s seems rare to see Qigong even listed when talking about different forms of meditation, often people talk about Buddhism and Indian (Hindu) forms but rarely do you see in depth talk regarding Chinese or Taoist forms.
I recently read “Meditation Works” by Livia Kohn. I enjoyed the read and was quite informative on the different styles. And much more depth in the Taoist traditions.
Meditation Works here meaning the inner workings of different meditation styles, not a phrase trying to convince you that Meditation really does work 🙂
DMarch 31, 2010 at 8:38 pm #33813
>>>Yes, not too much depth here. But at least they are
>>>recognized some form of difference. As if Qigong covers
>>>all the Taoist forms of meditation, hardly.
>>>It’s seems rare to see Qigong even listed when talking
>>>about different forms of meditation, often people talk
>>>about Buddhism and Indian (Hindu) forms but rarely do
>>>you see in depth talk regarding Chinese or Taoist forms.
One of the recent times that I went to the Zen temple “Sunday
services” (which I go to about once a month), during the
informal discussion period afterward the senior dharma student
who was running the session asked the people in attendance
what different forms of meditation they knew about
(the topic for that week’s discussion was meditation).
Many different types of meditation were suggested by the
people in attendance, all coming from different traditions, etc.
No one mentioned Daoist Alchemical Meditation. 🙂
Needless to say, I kept my mouth shut the whole time (as I usually
do when I go), and didn’t offer it as a suggestion.
[Reason: When you go to someone else’s home, you don’t show off and make
the host look bad; it’s inappropriate.]
>>>I recently read “Meditation Works” by Livia Kohn.
>>>I enjoyed the read and was quite informative on the
>>>different styles. And much more depth in the Taoist traditions.
Livia Kohn works tirelessly hard, and does a great service to the Daoist community.
We are all lucky to have her doing what she does so well.
>>>Meditation Works here meaning the inner workings of
>>>different meditation styles, not a phrase trying to
>>>convince you that Meditation really does work 🙂
Although the latter isn’t too far off the mark either 🙂
SMarch 31, 2010 at 9:13 pm #33815
Perhaps the reason qigong shows up on all three types is because it is simultaneously working on jing, qi, and shen levels. This was the conclusion of tests run on Mantak, that he had beta, alpha, theta and delta levels operating simultaneously from just the inner smile.
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