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Thread: "Prescribed" zazen

  1. #1

    "Prescribed" zazen


    This topic is probably covered somewhere, but I can't remember.

    I have a new neurologist. He doesn't believe in "there is nothing more we can do" which is why i was referred to him.

    He told me today, he wants a significant part of my treatment plan to be meditation, along with other modalities which he didn't explain yet. He said that numerous studies and scientific, evidence-based research show the changes and regenerative effects of meditation. I asked him where I can find this research. He mentioned a few resources and then suggested TEDtalks because it's free.

    I found this one, which i like because it shows brain scans of specific lobes and she explains what's happening. There are other ones but I haven't finished watching them yet.

    The neuro wasn't joking, he takes a scientific approach to this -- which i understand is not the purpose of zazen. But for myself, I will refresh my practice to work on healing and regeneration for my brain and central nervous system. It's not a cure-all but science seems to indicate that much is possible.

    He may have gone into greater depth because i indicated that i wanted to understand what was happening to me and why. My memory, speech, balance, and coordination are all being impacted for some time. So it fascinates me that meditation is among the first "prescriptions" in his arsenal to get me stabilized. And he didn't dismiss what I'm experiencing as irrelevant.

    Gassho, meian st lh

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    Not all who wander are lost. (Tolkien)
    everything, and everyone, changes.
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  2. #2
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    May 2019
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Nice one Meian.
    Neuro-plasticity has been around and accepted by Science for a while now. Is this different? I ask because just from what you've said and without watching the video yet it sounds like it would be a little different.
    Glad you've found a Neurologist that you have confidence in.

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    穏 On (Calm)
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    aka Anna Kissed
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  3. #3
    It is not well-known or discussed much with patients in the US. Outside of the US, yes, it is well-known and researched.

    Gassho, meian

    Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
    Not all who wander are lost. (Tolkien)
    everything, and everyone, changes.
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  4. #4
    Hi Meian,

    Yes, give it a sit.

    I also say that, whether or not Zazen or some kind of mindfulness meditation can improve symptoms or cure a disease, it can certainly allow us to better accept our symptoms and disease. Also, if we stop resisting, sometimes that improves symptoms as well. (I was just listening to a story about people who had covid who, unwittingly, may be magnifying their symptoms because they are so stressed about the symptoms. All becomes much bigger, and a greater burden, in their minds than when they don't pay as much attention to the symptoms).

    I was just talking to Kokuu and Onka about this book, although I have not read it yet. I heard an interview with the author which sounded very promising. We may do something here in the Sangha with a mini-course of some kind using this book.

    How to Be Sick (Second Edition): A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard

    Gassho, Jundo


  5. #5
    If you want the research, books by James Austin, such as Zen and the Brain, give it, in spades. It's pretty heavy going, but some of his other books are shorter and a bit less complex.

    That book is more than twenty years old, and a lot has changed in this research since then, and in neuroscience in general. His later books take a slightly different tack, being written more from a practitioner's point of view.

    This isn't shikantaza, but some people may want the reassurance that sitting actually does something to the brain (and the body).

    I, too, have a neurological condition, and you're lucky to have found a neurologist who has, as you say, gone into greater depth, because that's not always the case.



    I know nothing.

  6. #6
    I recently read the books by Norman Doidge. They are not about meditation but show miraculous healings of brain. Amazing. Gives one hope and understanding.
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Kyotaku; 07-03-2020 at 07:11 AM.
    Mountains are waters and waters are mountains ............

  7. #7
    Thank you for these recommendations.

    Yes, I am very interested in the research and the science -- and I have a special fondness for MIT, among others. Yes, I do like to know that what I'm doing (in this case) has a purpose, even when it doesn't have to, and I'm a bit of a science nerd. Thank you for the links, I appreciate this. And yes, I am very fortunate to have been referred to this neurologist.

    Jundo, you mentioned a tough one -- not resisting. But it's a good point. With a degenerative and CNS issue, the resistance itself also has some layers. The book and course sound interesting, I will look into it, thank you for the link.

    Norman Doidge -- I never heard of him but I looked him up and found his website. I want to learn more about his work and research. Thank you for this reference.

    meian st
    Not all who wander are lost. (Tolkien)
    everything, and everyone, changes.
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  8. #8

    Glad you have found someone who can keep fighting for your. Thanks too to those who posted the materials. Some fascinating reading.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  9. #9

    Another book on the subject of neuro-plasticity is Mindsight by Daniel Siegel M.D.

    He is with the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and co-founder of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. He's a practicing psychiatrist who prescribes meditation for his patients. This book is full of fascinating case studie from his own practice. He's written a number of books although this is the only one I've read. It's an entertaining and fascinating book. He's a fine writer and a compassionate healer..



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