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Patterns of EEG coherence, power, characterize the integration of transcendental and waking states.

14 Aug

Long-term meditating subjects as well as energy healers who work in the altered state have long reported that the mind state that initially produced spotty transcendental experiences at isolated moments during their beginning practice, evolved to subjectively co-exist in a steady, everyday way with normal waking and sleeping states. Researchers at the Maharishi University in Fairfield, IA investigated the neurophysiological correlates of this integrated state by recording EEG in experienced meditators who reported this integration to subjectively be the case. Investigators recorded EEG in these subjects and in two comparison groups (17 in each condition) during simple tasks and tasks requiring close attention (called contingent negative variation or CNV tasks).

In the 17 individuals reporting the integration of the transcendent with waking and sleeping, CNV was higher in simple but lower in choice trials, and 6-12 Hz EEG amplitude and broadband frontal EEG coherence were higher during choice trials. Increased EEG amplitude and coherence, characteristic of TM practice, appeared to become a stable EEG trait during CNV tasks in these subjects. These significant EEG differences may underlie the inverse patterns in CNV amplitude seen between groups. An ''Integration Scale,'' constructed from these cortical measures, may characterize the transformation in brain dynamics corresponding to increasing integration of the transcendent with waking and sleeping.


Citation: Travis F, Tecce J, Arenander A, Wallace RK. Patterns of EEG coherence, power, and contingent negative variation characterize the integration of transcendental and waking states. Biological Psychology 2002 Nov; 61 (3): pp. 293-319.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award