Meditation is a practice that has seen a significant boom in the West in recent decades. Appealing to the modern mind, body, and spirit, so often caught up in the fast pace and frequently stressful environment of everyday urban life, meditation offers a way to achieve calm, focus, and a decidedly lighter mood. As one recent study has suggested, meditation –or at least, specific kinds of meditation– may be highly advantageous in improving visual-spatial memory, as well. As more and more people become aware and concerned about the implications of memory loss and lack of focus, such a study offers a practical and potentially very powerful method for taking control, not to mention its possibilities within the realm of therapy.
The study, which was carried out by researchers affiliated with George Mason University, focused on two distinct kinds of meditation in an effort to isolate the specific mental process involved in boosting visual-spatial memory. These consisted of Deity Yoga, in which the subjects visualized a specific deity in their classical representation, and Open Presence, a type of meditation which focuses on a generalized nothingness, rather than incorporating mental images or ideas. Adding subjects both disciplined in these two techniques as well as those who had never practiced before, the researchers set to work supplying subjects with a battery of tests.
The tests involved mentally rotating a 3-D object as well as recalling visual images from a set of similar variations. Subjects were then directed to perform either Deity Yoga or Open Presence meditation, while some were allowed to simply rest. When the subjects were given the tests a second time, those who had practiced Deity Yoga showed a significant superiority in results compared to Open Presence and non-meditative subjects. As meditation becomes an increasingly popular technique employed by therapists, such studies may open doors to additional benefits for clients and professionals alike.
ANI. (2009, April 28). Buddhist meditation boosts visual memory. The Times of India. Retrieved from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2009-04-28/health/28029988_1_meditation-visual-memory-image
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