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Neurological processes underlying focused attention meditation


It is considered that focused attention meditation entails the activation of attention networks in the following manner:


1 - Initially the alerting network of attention is activated involving sustaining attention on a chosen object.

It is associated with the right parietal cortex, right frontal cortex and the thalamus


2 - When mind wandering occurs this relates to activation of the default mode network associated with the following brain areas: the posterior cingulate cortex, posterior lateral parietal/temporal cortices, the cingulate cortex, and the parahippocampal gyrus. This attention network is associated with certain attentional states as introspective thought and daydreaming. Conversely, when de-activated it relates to task-engagement.


3 - Distraction from the focus of attention is detected by the salience network, and is associated with the task of monitoring the focus of attention. The associated brain regions include the cingulate cortex and the anterior insula


4 - When a distracting thought grabs the focus of attention away from the chosen object, the executive function network is capable of inhibiting this from being further processed. This network reduces the distractibility of aspects of one’s environment, and is associated with the basal ganglia, lateral ventral cortex and the anterior cingulate cortex


5 - The orienting network of attention, which controls stimulus selection, involves shifting the focus of attention back to the original object. The superior colliculus and frontal eye fields as well as the temporal parietal junction and the superior parietal cortex are implicated.

Experience natural calm

By adding the calming experience of Transcendental Meditation to your daily routine, inner peace grows easily. The natural tendency of the mind is to go in the direction of more happiness and peace. When practising Transcendental Meditation, this process happens naturally and automatically.