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N C C A M Research Blog

Meditation and the Dalai Lama

March 17, 2014
Josephine P. Briggs, M.D.

Director
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

View Dr. Briggs' biographical sketch

The NIH community was delighted to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama on March 7 to present the annual NIH J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture, in which he discussed “The Role of Science in Human Flourishing.” Not surprisingly, the event—a conversation between the Dalai Lama and NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins—drew a large and engaged audience.

While the Dalai Lama was here, I was privileged to be among a small group to accompany him for a visit with a child enrolled in an NIH Clinical Center study on rehabilitation for childhood cerebral palsy. Researchers at NIH are interested in learning how physical exercise and training in rehabilitation affect the neuroplasticity of the childhood brain. The Dalai Lama’s warmth, infectious laugh, and curiosity about the research completely won over both patients and staff.

NCCAM grantee Richard Davidson, Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison accompanied him during the visit and has worked with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan monks to examine how the mental exercise of meditation might impact the brain in order to improve health and well-being. Here at NCCAM, we have held a long interest in the research of meditation for health purposes and have supported a number of studies. Past studies have established an association with changes in the electrical function of the brain; more recent studies indicate possible neuroanatomic changes associated with the practice of meditation.

It was fascinating to hear the Dalai Lama’s insights on the connection between science and the human condition—for example, the biological impacts of a mother’s loving touch on her newborn’s development. I am intrigued and look forward to continuing our research on how the brain is changed by varying emotional states and how that affects our physiology.

Dr. Briggs meets with the Dalai Lama, escorted by Dr. Collins.

Comments

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I am a practitioner of meditation (not very regular). But the meditation teaches the art of forgiving. So, there is no energy spending or spiking surges of emotion as and when we think of some bad issues which hurts and depletes our energy. There  also one more thing which I practice is constant remembrance which makes me learn that everything good or bad is because of Him and we are only channels for His acts, thoughts and deeds. With this there are less thought processes and less negative emotions and brain cleaning is happening on a continuous basis. The third thing is counting our blessings and be grateful to whatever we are today. This restricts us to feel bad or stuck at unwanted energy depleting, emotionally upsetting thoughts. Since our cells are continuously vibrating, we are a mass of vibrations and postive thoughts, love, affection etc vibrate and emits positivity around. A mother is prepared to give her life for her child. So her positive emotions, cuddling, skin contact, soothing words is understood by the child through the language of love. Meditation makes our mind congestion free roads where there is no scope for accidents. His Highness Dalailama is one such person who emits positivity and people who are worth receiving that are attracted like gravitational force. To get such a connectivity, there is no need of physical presence also, as ether works as the medium for our thoughts and we witness miracles happening everywhere. The clear mind not only is happy and contended from within, it also wishes to see it around wishing for universal peace. Though we can see only physical body, we are multi layered personality with pranic, mental, emotional, vijnanamaya and blissful sheaths beyond the physical sheath emitting vibrations. What happens to the gross physical body is felt in these subtle bodies much earlier but we are unable to know it. A child gets connected to mothers heart even though she is hundred’s of feet away form it. These are all the issues, we have been experiencing and enjoying but very difficult to prove scientifically. I am happy we are able to find out God particles, anadamide protien and are able to see the changes happening in our brain through FMRIs and other aids. I am sure if every person practices meditation, not only health even violences will come down drastically. I am an Indian enjoying the love and domain of God. So whatever I felt, I have written. Pages are not sufficient for me to pen down my experiences and happness.

We need him or other great thinkers such as he to talk to vital health agencies.   I want such resources  to speak especially to integrative and supplemental medical groups who need more funds for further research on practices which blend AMA strength with those good practices in the integrative health arena.  Some (not all) AMA practitioners and many pharmeaceutical companies don’t want to see use of healthful preventive practices.  It would hit them in the pocket which is already too deep and full of our money.  They already have too much power with our congress.   We must not allow them to hold the power they presently use as it narrows their medications to expensive options not to cure but to put some patients on permanent use of medications.  We take them for years on end; I am not sure if that is for the patients’ best benefit. They won’t allow healthful practices, holistic ones, because it would change medical practices  and move us into less costly natural resources along with necessariy and more limited pharmacuticals.  

Thank you for information