Meditation And The Brain: What Do We Know So Far?

Meditation And The Brain: What Do We Know So Far?

Meditation is a technique that’s been practiced for thousands of years, it can be dated as far back as 5000 BC. Ever since the growth of meditation’s popularity, a lot of research and studies have taken place. The very first piece of scientific research took place in 1936, and in 1955 with the first study to use an EEG (Electroencephalogram).

Numerous scientists have been looking into the impacts and the benefits of meditation on the brain, which left many scientists amazed. Therefore, additional studies in this particular area of practice are still being conducted.

What do we know (so far) about the brain and meditation? In this article we will go through how meditation affects the brain, how the brain changes from meditation and the many brain benefits meditation can have.

How Does Meditation Affect the Brain?

First, let’s dive into what actually happens in your brain when you meditate. Spoiler alert – it is a fascinating phenomenon!

If you’re new to meditation, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making scenarios (prefrontal cortex) is switched on during your first meditation session. This part of the brain filters experiences through a form of self-reflection. 

Did you know that meditation can also help you to focus your attention better? And when you are able to control your attention, the area of the brain in charge of planning and problem-solving becomes activated – which is the frontal lobe. During this state, your thoughts are more clear, more sensible, and more balanced, which helps you to see in a more neutral way. 

If you were to meditate for about 12 weeks, the areas of the brain responsible for generating and regulating emotions will turn on. During this phase, empathy can be developed and levels of compassion can increase. All these effects can become stronger, the more (and longer) you practice meditation. 

The brain itself is a complex organ, and this can get very scientific! If you want to know more about what exactly happens to your brain when you meditate, a great video from Beautiful Science further explains the brain changes from meditation. Or, if you want to read a more in-depth way be sure to check out the exact science of what happens to your brain when you meditate by Neurohacker.

Meditation and Brain Activity

Meditation can also affect and change parts of the brain’s activity. Studies have found that over time meditation may lead to an increase in gray matter density.

Gray matter starts to shrink with age and it contains most of the brain’s nerve-related cell bodies. Gray matter includes parts of the brain involved with muscle control, our senses, memory, and emotions.

Meditation can also physically change the brain’s neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize and change throughout your life. Your behavior and lifestyle are significant forces on the brain. Whatever you do in your life, your brain will create new and adjust cell connections. 

What else is interesting is meditation has also proven to have helped to increase the white matter. This white matter is responsible for helping us think and stay balanced. 

Our brain waves can also be altered and changed through meditation. There are five recognized brain waves that we have and they can change depending on what we are doing and how we are feeling. 

Research has shown that meditation can lead to an increase in the production of both alpha and theta waves.

When meditating for a longer period of time, research has found that the alpha frequencies can become the brain’s dominant brain wave. A 2020 article review of the various effects meditation has on patients found with a dominant alpha brain wave are have:

1) Improved quality of sleep

2) Decreased anxiety and depression

3) Improved memory and learning

4) Lower stress levels

Meditation can also impact our gamma brain waves. These are the fastest brain waves we have, which aid us in processing information, memory, and awareness. A particular study that measured the brainwaves of those advanced meditators showed that they had higher levels of gamma waves due to their dedication and long-term practice of meditation. 

Not only can meditation change parts of the brain. It can also affect how we handle stress, our emotions, and our thoughts – thereby creating clearer and calmer minds.

Benefits of Meditation on the Brain

The human brain is the most powerful organ, it controls and regulates our actions and reactions, but it also allows us to think and feel. That’s what makes us individual humans, and as we can get sick and wounded, so can the brain.

There are many different kinds of illnesses and disorders that affect the brain. Different forms of mental illness, migraines, and as well as Alzheimer’s – to name a few. These can all affect our quality of life, our relationships, as well as decline our health.

Today meditation has created a pathway to help and aid those in their everyday lives. Often advised by doctors and specialists to make it part of the patient’s daily routine.
So how can meditation help with brain health?

An article from the Dana Foundation, explains the four ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, which include yoga and meditation. Explaining that “stress has a detrimental effect on genes” and that even a 12-minute simple meditation or yoga benefits the brain.

The same goes for those suffering from mental illnesses. Setting some time to practice a form of meditation can help ease psychological stresses, and improve self-esteem and mood. 

In a 2013 research article, a 2-week meditation training was conducted. The results showed that those who were addicted to smoking tobacco had a 60% reduction in smoking. As well as scans showing increase of brain activity. Improving a person’s self-control and minimizing addictive habits.

What else is very interesting is the effect that meditation has on our brain chemicals. Meditation helps us to naturally release certain chemicals (or Key Neurotransmitters) and helps control the balance of hormones. There are over 40 of these neurotransmitters and practicing a form of meditation can positively impact their levels, such as:

1) Serotonin: Controls our attention, behavior, and body temperature

2) Melatonin: Helps with timing the 24-hour internal clock (circadian rhythms) and sleep

3) Cortisol: The main stress hormone. Restricts what would be non-essential or harmful in a “fight or flight” situation

4) Endorphins: Help to relieve pain, and stress and improve our mood

5) DHEA: Helps to produce other hormones (including testosterone and estrogen)

6) GABA: A chemical messenger in the brain, also produces a calming effect

7) Somatotropin: Replaces the growth hormones produced in the body (also known as the Growth Hormone hGH/HGH)

As we age, so does our brain. In our 20s our brains will naturally begin to deteriorate, then shrink in our 30s and 40s. A study of an 18-year analysis of the mind of a Buddhist monk, published in 2020, revealed that the monk’s intense meditation practice has slowed down the aging process of the brain by eight years. 

What we know so far about meditation and the brain are still being studied, with researchers finding out more amazing things about meditation and the brain, and the benefits of meditation on the brain.

As you see from the studies in this article how the brain changes from meditation and how we can all find time to use this amazing tool to benefit our mental health and overall wellbeing. 

You don’t need to be religious to start meditating and to gain all these brain benefits. It is a practice that needs time and dedication, like a lot of other things. There are many different meditation methods out there, you just need to find the one that works for you.

Would you like to continue exploring all these benefits of meditation in practice? Join our (free!) live guided Inner Peace Sessions!

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7 reasons why people meditate and why you should start today

7 reasons why people meditate and why you should start today

Do you also wonder why people meditate? In the words of the Dalai Lama, “We can think of meditation as a technique by which we diminish the force of old thought habits and develop new ones”. He provides a perspective that makes meditation powerful. When you think about meditation, a few words come to mind. You think of inner peace, calmness, balance, and well-being. It is a transformational practice. The benefits of meditation are many. Yet, there are a lot of questions about what it is and why people practice it.

Understanding meditation

Meditation is a range of practices that involve clearing your mind and focusing on the present using a combination of physical and mental techniques. It calms the mind and improves well-being. Some forms of meditation involve mentally focusing on a sensation, breathing, focusing on a visual image, or on a repeated word known as a mantra.

Overall, there are 4 main types of meditation, all with proven benefits. These benefits form the basis for why people meditate. We will look at a few of them in more depth in this article.

7 proven reasons why people meditate

1. Meditation helps improve concentration

One of the main benefits of meditation is that it improves concentration. Meditation trains the mind to live in the present and focus on one thing. By doing that, people can boost their mental focus. And this helps them in task completion and relaxation. 

A study evaluated the impact of meditation training on cognitive functions. It concluded that practitioners improved their self-reported mindfulness, rumination, and sustained attention (Chambers et al., 2008). Meditation helps people maintain calmness and emotional balance, resulting in better concentration.

2. Meditation improves mental health

Meditation is not a silver bullet for mental health issues. Yet, regular meditation reduces stress, anxiety levels, and depression symptoms. Meditation practitioners reported improvements in their self-esteem, mental focus, and mood.

A clinical trial evaluated the effect of a 12-week meditation course on participants. The study concluded that meditation improves the mental health of young adults. Another study found that daily meditation enhanced mood, emotional regulation, and attention.

3. Meditation improves physical health

Apart from the mental health benefits, physical health is also at the top of the list of why people meditate. To give you some examples: regular meditation introduces a lifestyle change that can trigger fatigue reduction and weight loss. Many studies also show that meditation stabilizes blood circulation, regulates blood pressure and improves metabolism.

Researchers at the American Heart Association Scientific stated that meditation increases mental and physical relaxation. And that would lead to better outcomes after a cardiovascular incident. They further analyzed the data of over 61,000 participants from the National Health Interview Survey and concluded that meditation also helped reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. 

Research also shows that meditation reduces the effects of dementia and improves cognitive health (Russell-Williams et al., 2018).

4. Meditation improves self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to look inwards and assess how your thoughts, emotions, or actions align with your purpose. Practicing meditation gives you clarity of thought. As a result, you can take stock of your feelings and actions. Meditation takes you to a place of inner peace and calmness. And when you get there, you connect with your inner self.

The world is fast-paced. Work and family. Distractions from social media. Then there is technology. Life serves us an endless stream of activities. With these distractions, losing track of your true self is easy. To become more self-aware, you need to stop doing, stop thinking, and focus on yourself. Meditation helps you do this. 

5. Meditation can help overcome addiction

In 2020, the United Nations reported that over 284 million people aged 15-64 struggle with drug addiction. And every year, 11.8 million people globally die from the effects of drug abuse. Drug use and addiction are soaring. 

People are turning to meditation to help them recover from substance addiction. People recovering from addiction usually complain of anxiety, stress, pain, and poor sleep. These complaints often become triggers that make them go back to substance use. Research has found that meditation reduces the effect of those trigger symptoms. 

Meditation also increases emotional stability and reduces post-acute withdrawal symptoms. This stabilizes recovering addicts. Studies show that mindfulness meditation helps in preventing relapse and treating addictive disorders. The benefits of meditation help manage symptoms of withdrawals, cravings, and triggers (Wani & Singh, 2019).

6. Meditation helps to reduce stress

According to a recent survey, 41% of adults reported some form of stress. It is an alarming number. Hence, it is no surprise that people turn to meditation for stress and anxiety relief. It is one of the main reasons why people meditate. 

Meditation gives the body the opposite of what stress does to it. Stress leaves the body in emotional, physical, or psychological discomfort. But meditation ushers a state of peace and tranquility. In that state, you can organize your thoughts and decide what to focus on. Meditation also trains your mind and increases your mental fortitude. That way, you control your internal feelings and reduce stress.

According to Gamaiunova et al. (2019), meditation practitioners adapt to stress through acceptance and positive reappraisal. In other words, when they find themselves in challenging situations, they are able to remain calm and adapt their minds to see the positives. These adaptive emotions amplify quicker recovery from stress.

7. Meditation improves sleep

Sleep is essential for good health and well-being. And like St. Thomas Aquinas once said, “a good sleep can ease sorrow”. But, how important is sleep? 

Insufficient sleep is an underlying cause of many negative social and health outcomes. In the United States, insufficient sleep accelerates 7 of the 15 major causes of death (Chattu et al., 2019).

Yet, 44% of people report worsening sleep quality, and 37% struggle with insomnia. Many adults are at risk of the adverse effects of poor sleep quality. Meditation improves sleep. It triggers the body to ramp up natural melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The more your body produces it, the better you can sleep.

Overall, meditating before sleep also helps. Researchers conducted a mixed-method study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The result supports the efficacy of meditation for better sleep (Desai et al., 2021). Several other studies also conclude that meditation promotes better sleep (Kanchibhotla et al., 2021; Amarnath et al., 2017).


You asked the question. Now you have the answer. Generally, people practice meditation for mindfulness, emotional balance, inner peace, better sleep, and well-being. The list of benefits is endless and backed by research. And the best part? It is accessible, easy to start, and anyone can practice it.

Samavira Community Survey 

We ran a survey amongst the students of our Samavira Meditation Training, to learn more about the reasons why they meditate, and hence the reasons why they signed up for our training!

50% of our students started their meditation practice to reduce stress and increase self-awareness. In addition, almost 40% of our students use meditation to let go of negative emotions, reduce overthinking, and reduce overwhelm. Others meditate because they want to feel more grateful, be more focused, and receive more inspirational ideas and insights!

As you can see – for us, meditation is more than just a stress-reducing tool. What is your main reason to start your practice? 🙂

Your Next Step

Want to start your meditation journey after reading about all these powerful benefits?

Join our free live-guided wellness sessions!

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Meditation, Mindfulness, and Focus – An Interview with A Monk Part 3

Meditation, Mindfulness, and Focus – An Interview with A Monk Part 3

We hosted an interview with a Buddhist Monk Pasura from Thailand. Monk Pasura is one of the Monks who trained Samavira’s founder Lauren when she lived in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand. We spoke about meditation, mindfulness, focus and more. Enjoy the read! 🙂
My question was really about our emotional regulation. So like when you are overly avoiding a particular emotional state or overly focusing on a particular emotional state, or you are in it rather than observing it, you can be quite dis-regulated. I think a lot of what you said already answered some of this with the filtering, process, and acceptance, but I wondered if you had any more wisdom to that and I wondered if you had any posture tips, I would like to sit for long there, I’ve tried all kinds of positions and my legs are always dead, so, yeah.
So, two questions. The first one, we usually let our emotions consume us and become victims of our own emotions. And then that’s actually not focusing on the emotions, we actually become sort of a victim of our own emotions. So every emotion needs to flow because that’s essentially the word emotion, which means it is movement.
So as long as you’re still part of that movement, you are still being consumed by the emotion. Which means in that movement, you have to be still. Whenever you are still, that movement slowly turns until it runs out until it no longer has that effect on you. But the moment you are part of that movement, of that motion, it continues to accelerate because you add a few, you are the guest.
So first thing first, whenever you notice that your emotions are starting to consume you, you’ll notice that your state of peace is changing. So then, take a break, a mental break, a step back because that stillness will help you to notice the emotions. And it’s not about trying to recollect it, because the moment you try to control it is the moment that you actually input more acceleration  into the emotion itself.
So instead you should watch it flow until you understand what is happening in that situation. And then when you resume the action, the action itself will not be a part of that emotion. But if you try to regulate the emotions, you’re gonna jump right back in and stir it up again.
Imagine this, you’re upset, and you know that you’re upset. And you try to recollect yourself by focusing on what you’re upset about. But the human mind doesn’t work that way because whatever we focus on, gets bigger. So if you focus on it more, you get more upset, not less upset. So instead I should take a step back to notice what is happening to me at that  moment. And identify it, for instance, it might be a problem at work. Maybe there are some people who keep acting like they don’t understand what I’m saying.
So, maybe the way I explain it doesn’t make sense to them. Let me lay it out differently to see if that will work out. Meaning, if I turn that into a different action, and step out of that motion, I can find a better resolution to the problem.
About the sitting posture, first of all, don’t get caught up with this perfect/ideal posture that we have seen, because it’s more about your body. Meditation is about finding that balance between awareness and comfort. With too much awareness, you’ll be tense. Too much comfort, you’ll be sleepy. So most of the time people tend to get lost in wanting to focus on keeping their mind still.
But you can’t force your mind to stop thinking. You can only slow it down by sitting back, waiting, and watching it until it slows down on its own. This means you need to sit the longest you can and that requires you to sit as comfortably as you can while you remain aware. So it doesn’t matter if you sit on the chair, couch, bed, floor, whichever style, legs up pointing forward, it’s up to you as long as you can sit there and feel like I don’t have to worry about my body anymore.
That’s the first part. Secondly, accept that your body has limits. It doesn’t require you to meditate by sitting still completely for three hours straight up because even I move. The human body has limitations, and that means we can’t be in the same position for too long. Human teachers will not be able to stand the pressure. So at a certain point, you will notice it, but there’s something about it.
Have you ever enjoyed reading books or watching a movie that was so fun and you stayed there for a few hours without noticing? The moment that you capture something, you tend to withdraw from perceiving the physical sensation.
So same thing with the mind, with meditation. If you really enjoy that entire time of meditation, you don’t really pay attention to the body. When you actually meditate longer, it’s not that you erase the pain, you don’t perceive the pain. So the thing is you just ignore it. If you tell yourself if I’m feeling some pain, gently adjust, or start again. Come back to where you sit back, relax, and enjoy the meditation.
Put it this way. When you go to the cinema, what do you do? You find the best seat where you can sit back, relax, and watch the movie. Here you are not an actress, director, or commentator. You just need to shut up and watch the movie while you sit back, relax, and enjoy it.
Whenever you feel that your seat is becoming uncomfortable, you adjust yourself and keep watching. Anytime you get wandering thoughts, it’s like you jump to the screen, come and access it then return to your seat where you can sit back, relax, and watch it.
A question regarding meditation and healing. How do you see, how can we heal ourselves and others and the world as a whole through the practice of meditation?
The process of healing depends on many aspects, but meditation allows us to reflect on what’s happening within ourselves. In the past, people thought mindfulness is about being in the present, but it also actually means being aware of what happened to you in the moment.
So that you can be aware when you are looking at the past and you can be aware of it as you look into the future as well. So that’s actually part of mindfulness. And when you do so, you create a next step, which is introspection or retrospection. Which means you are able to kind of review the whole thing. But what would happen is then you start to make sense of it, this is actually a lesson to learn, something that I understand happened to me, except if that’s on my part so I can move on from it.
So all of this is related to the process of healing because at the end of the day, we can’t erase anything in our life, even though we want to forget something, we won’t. The human brain doesn’t work that way. But we try to pretend that it doesn’t hurt anymore because we can’t forget about it. At the end of the day, you can’t! You can only learn to live with it and understand that it already happened so it’s something that you are not victimizing yourself anymore and you can move on from that.
And that is a process of healing that really comes, including other things that you have been, traumatized with different experiences in life. Those are things that we can reflect on and study to accept as who we are, and that’s when we can move on. Otherwise, we keep rejecting ourselves all the time and when everybody starts doing that to themselves it actually helps them to see other people from different perspectives too.
That everybody has this sad story of pain that they don’t even know about. And that sometimes becomes the behavior that people act in a certain way. And when you feel that sense of understanding that brings kindness and compassion in your actions towards others and that makes the whole world a lot easier.

How do you see trauma and meditation? Would you say that meditation can help or should it come in the healing process a little bit later on?

It actually comes automatically. The moment you’re meditating, you might settle down your memory that has been suppressed or slowly kind of unwinds it. And it will pop up. Sometimes we pop up just the feelings or kind of power like images, but it’s for you to deal with.
It’s like when you open the carpet and the dust comes out and you are like, ‘no, there’s the dust.’ And try to convince yourself it’s not there. So you sort of notice that now this is the dust and you can now put the dust aside. Now I’m just gonna put it in that corner or the dust bin where I no longer need to think about it anymore or at least you get to deal with it rather than just every time you look at the carpet, you know it’s under there, but you pretend it’s not there and it’s haunting you.
So those can really help you heal. But it takes time. It depends on how deep the scar is, the deeper the scar, the longer it takes. But eventually, it’s said that thinking about it and reliving those experiences will slowly transform you into living with those experiences. And that’s the big change and basically reintegrating it.
You stop judging and victimizing yourself from those experiences, and start to move on from it. It can take quite a while, but in the end, obviously, it’s worth it. I mean, that goes without saying, but also, Finding the support of practices like meditation or finding the support of meditation, finding support of, of course, also people around you.
What I wanted to ask was, introspection is beneficial but people still tend to avoid it or are afraid to go deeper within themselves. Why do you believe, or why do you think that people might be afraid of introspection, or why do people avoid it?
For a number of things though, people look for validation from others. So throughout a lifetime of that, means that the person is always feeling insecure to embrace themselves and accept how vulnerable and flawed they are.
Everybody has flaws, but it’s not everyone can accept that. They have a flaw to move on from that. And because of that, a lot of people are afraid of accepting who they are. And that’s why everyone creates this image that’s an illusion of liking themselves and everybody thinks of this image as you. Then you try to protect that image so hard instead of accepting who you are and that makes an introspection of realizing yourself and the other worlds very hard because they don’t want to embrace who they are. Yet life is not picture perfect as we tend to create it.
Secondly, there are two types of people in the world. Those that don’t know that they don’t know and those that know that they don’t know. The first one doesn’t know that they don’t know anything. So they don’t know that. They don’t even know themself. So that’s why they don’t bother taking time to look inside themselves or to introspect at all. They think they know what it is about themselves already. So that’s actually what makes it really, really hard, as are the people who know that they don’t know anything about themselves, so they want to know more about themselves.
And that is actually the second stage. That’s why, for them to open up to it, it takes a lot of time and moments for them to look inside until they start to see a glimpse of it because the moment they see within is not as scary as they believe it would be, they actually become more accustomed to it, as friendlier rather than being hostile to that and then they start to accept it.
Because in order for you to solve a problem, you have to admit that you have a problem, accept the problem, and realize that you have it in order to, to resolve it. But if we keep rejecting it, we never really face it. Meaning we are always in flight mode, running away. It’s very important to acknowledge the issue before you can learn to accept them.
What do you believe consciousness is? If you have an answer to that?
In our context, consciousness is the mind. And the mind is not the body, not the brain, and not the heart because the mind is different. For us, we explained it as this different element that has the ability to think, memorize, perceive, and know. So when you are conscious of something, the mind perceives and goes through everything, every thinking process until it becomes the realization of something.
That’s consciousness. It needs to work with the body because the brain is like an office for the mind. So it’s a kind of software and hardware. The mind, and the consciousness is software and brain is hardware. So they kind of connect to each other, but not exactly the same things.
That’s how we explain it. The key point is we can always upgrade the software, which is the consciousness of the mind, but the hardware tends to stick to the way it has been ever since we grew up. So it’s not easy to upgrade the hardware, but we can always focus on upgrading the software with the hope that it will stimulate, enhance or optimize the hardware.
For someone who wants to meditate and for some reason, their region does not allow/ holds them back from meditation, how can that person learn/practice meditation? Asking this because I intend to train/provoke others to at least start meditating to reap the benefits of that. Is there any kind/alternative method like walking meditation, or anything like that, that people or even children can start with?
That’s a very good question, but first of all, let’s go back to the meaning of the word meditation itself. Meditation is a skill that enhances the ability to stay conscious and be aware of the present moment, basically.
So now, the problem is that people have this perception and idea that meditation is a religious practice. Let me go back to the 1960s in the US, back then, people still thought of meditation as a religious practice. So they didn’t call it meditation, they referred to it as ‘attention enhancing techniques.
My point is that, for instance, ‘chicken’ is an English word. In Thai, we call it ‘gai’, in Chinese it’s called ‘iro’. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is that thing, that poetry meat that you eat anyway. It’s good when you fry it. That’s all.
So what matters now is that if you just say, ‘I’m gonna be gonna practice meditation together’, it’ll be an issue. But probably, if you paraphrase it and use other words, for example, say this is ‘we are gonna do a little workshop about enhancing our focus’. You don’t have to call it meditation because it’s just a name and you can create a name for it in different ways.
That doesn’t refer to the connotation because at the end of the day, if you ask someone to focus on their breathing, to visualize something bright within themselves, repeating the word that they come up with, there’s nothing religious about it at all. So whether you choose walking, meditation, sitting down, or breathing, it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t call it meditation.
That way, people won’t get that weird idea of it. You just have to explain it. For instance, we can say a workshop for reducing stress, enhancing attention, awareness, consciousness, or healing process. There are many ways that you can call it. I was just teaching kids meditation in Austria last week, and what I did was simple.
I told them, ‘Okay kids, I want you to sit down. Imagine that you’re sitting in the nighttime. Now I want you to pick a star, the brightest one in the sky. Just pick it. You got it. And then eat it like candy. Now let’s play a game. The game is very simple. The game is called Guardian. So I want you to keep looking at the star inside yourself.
Okay? As long as you can see it, you can guard it. If you lose sight of it, something will take it away. Don’t let the monster take it away. Okay? Now let’s look at it from the top. Now turn this time to a moon. Now let’s turn this time to the sun. Now imagine you are flying.’ And that’s it.
It’s more of the name that some people get caught up with, instead of what it is. Because they’re just hearing things without getting the experience that this is not about religion.
And it doesn’t matter what religion you practice. Meditation doesn’t change what you believe in. It actually helps you to understand what you believe in a lot better. So to go back to the core of what meditation actually is, without calling it a meditation so that people are more open to the practice.  

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Negative self beliefs, positive thinking and compassion – An Interview with A Monk

Negative self beliefs, positive thinking and compassion – An Interview with A Monk

We hosted an interview with a Buddhist Monk Pasura from Thailand. Monk Pasura is one of the Monks who trained Samavira’s founder Lauren when she lived in a Buddhist monastery in Thailand.

We spoke about negative self beliefs, positive thinking, compassion and more. Enjoy the read! 🙂

First of all, I’d like you to introduce yourself a little bit and say who you are, what you do in life, which is quite obvious, but nonetheless. And what should we know about you?

Well, my name is Monk Pasura and I’ve been a monk for 17 years. I became a monk at 28, but I also had the chance to practice meditation at a very young age and ongoing until I became a monk. But after I became a monk, I also got the chance to conduct meditation sessions in many countries across the world, more than 70 countries so far.

So generally, my part would be to introduce and also explain how meditation really works so that everyone can benefit from the practice of meditation, regardless of their race, religion or belief. Because it emphasizes how to develop the state of mind for being conscious and more aware.

The mind versus the body. Some people say that our minds are more tired than our bodies are. Would you agree or how do you see this? And what do you say about this?

Actually, I totally agree with that statement because you use your mind and when you feel tired, you just sit down and rest. You just watch Netflix, YouTube, and you think you’re resting, but your mind doesn’t rest at all. In this case, you’re actually still using your mind.

Not to mention, when you have a lot of stuff in your mind and you go to sleep, you actually have this crazy dream that makes you feel even more excited because your mind keeps on working all night long taking all of those thoughts into account, into working all night. So basically your mind doesn’t learn to rest or to slow down at all. So that makes your mind even more tired.

But our bodies when we feel exhausted, you can decide to take a deep breath to kind of settle it out a bit, take a shower, take a hot bath and that’s a lot easier. But as for the mind, we tend to forget it. The thing is that we don’t see the mind, so it’s easy for us to neglect taking care of our mind because we don’t see it. Then you forget we have it.

The body is kind of easy to feel, but the mind, the hard part of that is we don’t see it and it becomes a habit to have an exhausted mind. When you have a lot of troubles and you just keep adding them up without resolving them, it’s kind of like suppressing and pressing them in a can. 

So it keeps adding up until you become unhappy. Some people think it is normal for us to be stressed out, depressed, or unhappy. While it’s actually not. We are supposed to be happy. This becomes easier when we establish a mind-body connection.

So would you say that the actual natural state of the mind is to be calm, content, happy, peaceful, right?

Yeah, exactly. That is the spiritual state of mind when there’s nothing involved or interrupting. It’s just like when you stay still, you don’t really do anything. You feel relaxed, at ease. That should be the normal state of the mind. Whenever the mind gets tense, that means that the mind has woken up.

Then the mind starts to jump around, catching stuff and grip on things without letting go. So that’s what happens with the mind. It now acts like an octopus rubbing all these tentacles, and holding on to things and never letting go. So it becomes tense the whole time.

Whenever you meditate, you start to feel like everything’s kind of unwinding. You notice that you’re feeling like your insides are loosening up, feel kind of hollow and kind of broaden it within yourself, that is actually the sign that your mind is already sort of like releasing the grip.

But we can’t do it consciously at first, and as days go by, we have more responsibilities and more things to do, and whenever you let go of one thing, there’s still something else to grab on anyway. So you, you kind of need those kinds of practices in order to tell the mind, ‘hey, this is the time. I just want to lay it down, let it go’, so that you can place them all up front and then see whatever needs to be worked on later.

When you face a challenge, what do you do? How do you go about finding a solution for that?

Pause first. A lot of the time we like to react. You know, reaction is like when you throw a ball against the wall it just bounces right back. So the harder you throw it, the harder it bounces back. So that’s the reaction. And it tends to come back with a lot of strength, a lot of emotions, a lot of energy going right back at the problem.

And that doesn’t really solve it, it’s more like you’re just pointing an arrow straight into the problems. So what I really do when things really get rough is to sort of pause and step back a bit. So, just instead of it becoming a wall, it’s like you have a perforated wall, something that’s softer and it really softened the impacts.

Then things tend to bounce back a bit softer. When you’re no longer part of the puzzle, you start to see things in a different perspective. That way your thoughts become more logical. You start to see the answer in different ways. Things become more responsive rather than reactive. And that for me, is really helpful.When things get really, really rough.

Sometimes, some problems actually don’t need to be solved much at all. We just need to wait a bit more for things to resolve themselves. A lot of times, we want to take control of every little aspect and want everything to turn out the way we expect it to be.

And that’s tough because we end up being overworked unnecessarily and sometimes we make it  even worse.

In other words, if you want to have a better idea, you have to think outside of the box. But as long as you’re in the box, you can’t think ‘outside of the box’. So if you want to think outside of the box, you’ve got to step out of the box first.

You know, as long as you’re part of the things in the box, you won’t see anything else. You’ll still see the frame, so you have to step away and look at it from the top. And be like ‘I’m not in the box now. I see all the players in the box’.

And it’s also like sometimes we try to really convince someone of our viewpoints, but we talk to them while they are still in their box as well. So it’s the same principle.

Would you say that meditation is, for most people, the most powerful modality that can help with this? Or would you say meditation and other modalities, or does it depend on the type of person that you are? How do you see that?

I know that meditation sounds kind of like a serious practice. I want us to think a little bit back to the days when there wasn’t much technology. Every culture around the world had these kind of silent moments to yourself. In every culture, in every civilization, you’d pray, chant, meditate and have some silent moment before you go to bed.

You know, like when you tuck your kid in bed, you read a nice story for them to focus on something positive. That should be the time that we have for ourselves. Basically, in the old days that was what we had. But these days, we are bombarding ourselves with a lot of media, from the phones or the tablets, televisions, until we don’t really have a silent moment for us to reflect.

And when we don’t reflect on what happened to us or what we should do in future, or what am I standing for right now at the moment, we can’t let go. So we can just keep adding it up and it never gets resolved because we have to reflect on what we have been putting out.

And we think that by just putting it in the back of our own mind, just like under a carpet,  we pretend it doesn’t exist and everything will be just fine. But it’s not! Because I know that it’s right there in the back of my head.

Whenever I’m down, whenever I’m vulnerable, that’s when it comes back and that’s when it hurts me the most. So if we get that chance to have that silent moment to look inside to, just to make a little reflection of things that need to be let go, things that need to be resolved, that need to be dealt with later on.

We categorize them. Now I’m settled. I know where I stand. I know where I need to go next. And that makes life more stable and peaceful.

What do you believe are the biggest causes of negative self-beliefs? Where do you believe it comes from, that negativity? 

It’s just like when you were born, there’s already a lot of bacteria in your stomach. There’s a lot of fungus, bacteria on your skin. If you put it into a microscope, you can see them. So it has always been something that we accumulate over a lifetime and it’s there waiting for when we are weak.

Whenever we are weak, it means that our immune system is low, which affects us. It makes us sick. Same as our mind. It has this for a long time throughout our lifetime, we keep adding up and each time we let our mind wander, be affected by people, situations, circumstances, until our anger, our frustration, our jealousy, egos start to stir up, we’re adding up more and the more that we make a stir up, the more we cash on them, we are adding up more. It leads to having low compassion for oneself.

So that’s how we accumulate and carry it to the next life. That’s the thing. Whenever our mind is negative and we have negative self-beliefs, let’s say if the water is blue, everything I see will be blue, right? Which means I perceive the world in a blue color, instead of seeing the world according to reality.

So basically if the blue color is anger, that means I will see the world based on my anger. So my thoughts, my words and actions will be based on my anger, which is going to be a bit more violent, more hurtful, more spiteful.

And that will of course create a negative effort on me. When they say something bad to me, like they don’t like me, instead that will stir up my mind even more. Then it can generate more negative actions. So it’s kind of a vicious cycle, it keeps going on and on.

That’s why we focus on going back to the source. How can we actually keep our minds all steady and become more aware so that we can keep ‘the ink’ intact. And then when that ink is intact, it starts getting clearer. Now I can have clear thoughts and that leads to better words and better actions, which means it leads to more positive thinking, more positive consequences and a more positive self-image, so I kind of reverse the cycle with that.

Basically meaning that it doesn’t really matter as much where it comes from, because we are actually born with it. What matters more is what you do with it. It’s like you try to complain that you have fungus on your body and be like, ‘who put it in my body?’

It doesn’t help you if you know who put it in there, but it matters if you know a way to kill it.

So how should we deal with it mind-wise? 

Technically, each time you’re meditating those things (the ink) get filtered out. We call it the purification process. You actually get to filter out each time you’re meditating. But the problem is that the moment you open your eyes after meditation, the mind tends to go out and capture more. So this leads to the next part, which is the lifestyle I was talking about. Because a disciplined lifestyle will help you keep your mind more mindful, by becoming more aware and at least making it less distracted.

Which means, let’s say you have a hundred percent of ink and you filter out, let’s say 5%, so when you go on the day, that 5% is already added back. But if you become more mindful, you probably add back like 2%. So when you meditate again, you reduce under the five and then you add more tools.

So it’s kind of reducing overtime. But if we don’t do this, we’ll keep adding up just like before, or even more. But if you keep meditating, eventually you’ll eventually win. That’s actually what it is. And of course it is going back to the way your lifestyle is. That’s why meditation is one part.

It helps you get deeper and become more aware. And then if you carry that awareness outside, your interaction with others will be from a place of peace, kindness and compassion. And eventually, there will be no more ink added as you continuously clean out the ink.

What about negative habits, like bad habits, impulse, all those things? How should we deal with those? Is it a similar process? Is it different?

Similar, but a bit more action oriented because all habits come from repetitive actions. Everything that we say, do or think repeatedly becomes a habit, and the moment it becomes a habit, it’s kind of an automatic program that we already install.

So the moment it is triggered by the stimuli it’s activated. Just like when you see someone that you don’t like, you just get irritated automatically. Even if that person doesn’t do anything, they’re just sitting right there. Their breathing is enough to make you irritated, which doesn’t make sense at all. Right? And that’s because it’s the habit of the mind that we have already developed.

Which means I have to consciously change the cause of the action when I have been in contact with that trigger. And if I keep changing that direction repeatedly, it will create a new part of the habits or a new part of the program that will be activated the moment I see the triggers. So that will change.

Actually, there’s a science behind that. Habit is basically created by two neurons in our brain. So whenever this neuron is triggered, it will send some sort of connection to the other neuron for action, so they become a path. And the more often you trigger, the more often you will create the path and they become more liquidated.

And this moment that we created in our brain is there for a lifetime. It doesn’t get erased, that’s the thing. So, you can never erase your old habit. You can only create a new path. And you just need to make this new path become more liquidated than the first one until the neuron’s signal will automatically jump to some other one instead of this initial one.

Which is quite interesting because some people say that you can weaken that path but you have to replace it instead so that it still weakens, but more because the new one becomes stronger than the initial path.

That’s actually research from people with alcoholic associations, shows that even people who are sober for like 10 years, when they hit a really big bomb that they can’t solve, they can go back to drinking because that old path is still there. So basically it means we have to be really careful with which bad habits or negative habits we fall into because they may bite you in the ass.

They can come back anytime and certainly when the trigger is very strong. But it doesn’t go away. It means that if you become more mindful about what’s going on, you can always stick to the new path.

Why do you think that people these days mostly seek quick fixes? To improve, get better, get rid of things. Why is that?

Generally, humans love to have quick fixes because that’s easy. But what my master explains is that now we live in the world of everything industrialized.

So it’s not like in the old days where you lived in an agricultural society and you didn’t have a lot of facilities, where you just had to learn how to wait. You learn to wait for the season to come, for the rain to fall, for the crops to grow. So you cannot speed up the process. But these days we tend to rely so much on everything around us that we want the outcome to happen immediately, and life’s getting more comfortable and we create a new habit as well.

Like I remember back then, I had to use the old telephone which, unlike today, took quite some time to dial in the numbers to make a call. So, I learned to be patient. But now when I see a text loading as the circle is running, I get frustrated, because of all these advanced  technology around us that slowly developed into a habit of wanting the result immediately.

So that means we just have to reverse the habit in order to learn to wait, because everything in life does not happen spontaneously. There are things that we have to plant the seed and wait for it to grow.

Everything around us is speeding up, so we are trying to speed up as well, including when it comes to wellness and introspection, reflection.Which is tough because people confuse information, knowledge, skills, and wisdom.

They’re not the same. People tend to believe that information they search on the internet is everything. As long as it does not transfer into who you are, it will never become your wisdom. If you cannot practice it, it will never be your skill. So information is something that anyone can get, but wisdom and skills are individual.

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How To Control Your Inner Voice

How To Control Your Inner Voice

The mind is an incredible phenomenon. It has the power to innovate and make new paths in life for us to follow. But the mind can be as frightening as it is creative. There is one factor of the mind that displays this dichotomy of scary and interesting. This factor drives all of the mind’s decisions and influences your thoughts and actions. It can promote people’s ambitions, or keep you stuck in limiting beliefs.

But the good news is – you can control this one factor and establish a robust and stable mindset. You can maintain a positive attitude towards life and change your perspective on the nature of the world. The more you understand this one concept, the more self-control you can build.

Today, we are going to be talking about the inner voice – also known as self-talk – and how it can affect the mind if not controlled. We’ll also discuss how to control the inner voice and use it to your advantage to prevent harmful things such as mind viruses, which we will explain later on.

The Inner Voice

What is the Inner voice?

The inner voice is a constant stream of thoughts that we carry throughout our minds that influences how we think. We listen to our inner thoughts more than anything else. 

Your inner voice acts as a bridge to connect the mind and body. It’s the mind’s way of communicating with you through your thoughts. And those thoughts usually reflect how you feel about your life at the current moment.

What Causes Inner Voices?

Our inner voices are the loudest during positive or negative events that happen throughout our lives. 

Let’s take a job as an example. You walk into your job and ask for a promotion – in one scenario, you get fired, and in the other, you get promoted. The time you get fired may bring out some negative self-talk. Your inner voice may tell you things such as “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never be successful”. 

When you get promoted, it may inspire some positive self-talk. Your inner voice may instead sound like “I’m great at my job” or “I am a huge success”. 

The experiences we have and have had dictate the way our inner voice speaks to us. If we incorporate positivity and seek goodness, we can develop a helpful inner voice that guides us in the right direction. Research from Mayo Clinic has shown that incorporating positive self-talk can help reduce stress and improve your health. 

If you spread negativity and disregard the truth, you can create a harmful inner voice that distracts you. A negative inner voice endorses chaos for you and everyone around you. It builds an illusion by deceiving you into accepting limiting beliefs that keep you from being your best self. Studies from Very well mind have found that constant negative self-talk can lead to feelings of depression, increased anxiety, and lower motivation.

Why Controlling Your Inner Voice Is Important

Most people tend to ignore the inner voice which allows it to become wild and impulsive. We must understand and manage our inner voice so it does not get out of hand. A lack of control can generate all sorts of harmful things such as internal conflict, limiting beliefs, faulty perceptions, and mind viruses. 

Mind viruses can build a foundation for bad habits. We all know how tough it is to eliminate a bad habit. 

Mind viruses also disrupt the natural state of the mind – peace. Peace and tranquility are our natural states of being because humans make the most progress when they are aware and relaxed. Anything that gets in the way of these states can lead to a loss of focus, stress, and a clouded mind.

One effective way to control your inner voice and bring it over to the good side is to identify and remove the viruses of the mind. Our favorite method to clean the mind is a consistent meditation practice. But before we get into any of that, we have to know what these viruses are.

The Viruses Of The Mind

1) Craving

Craving is the most influential virus of the mind. This craving feeling awakens your impulses, temptations, and desires. It also leaves you unsatisfied with life, always wanting more. 

“What I have is never enough”.

Craving comes from the constant unfulfillment and lack of contentment that someone feels from everyday things or events. The unfulfilled feeling provokes an urge to try to fill that void with more of whatever the mind wants. 

They desire more and more until there is either no more to give – or no more of them to ask. 

The mind of a craving person is detached from reality and is extremely clouded with their temptation. All they see is what they want – and they will do whatever it takes to get it. It could be money, items, power, sex, or whatever else can distract them from real life. They feel the need to attach themselves to unimportant things to continue the facade that these distractions promote. Research from Medical News today shows that more materialistic people are more likely to be miserable, depressed, and unsatisfied with life.

2) Anger

Anger is a very forceful virus of the mind. When we are clouded by anger, we are blinded by our emotions – especially frustration. Frustration causes us to act in irrational ways if we are not careful. You become upset with the world around you as you blame everything else for your faults. The Harvard Business Review also supports these findings by mentioning how angry people impair their decision-making by relying on cognitive shortcuts. 


“I want a solution now, the world owes me one”.

The virus of anger stems from impatience. We want the world to cater to us as we are, so we do not have to change. 

People living with anger in their hearts walk this world with unrealistic expectations. That is why they become so upset with the world. They create false expectations of how everyone should be under their worldview. An angry person assumes that the world owes them something – while the world owes them nothing. 

We all create our paths and earn the lives we live. The world does not owe anyone anything – but YOU owe yourself the best possible life YOU can reach. 

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3) Ignorance

Ignorance is the most subtle virus of the mind. Ignorance occurs when we misunderstand the difference between truth and falsehood. This causes a strand mentality shift. This new mentality is arrogant and clouds the mind to believe that you are always right and everyone else is always wrong. The line that separates fact and fiction begins to disappear in the mind of someone that grows in ignorance.

“I know everything and you know nothing”. 

There are two types of people in this world: 

People who know that they don’t know – and people who don’t know that they don’t know. 

Ignorance usually arises when someone avoids or misunderstands the truth. There are always three sides to a story: your side, the other person’s side, and the truth. A person that shows ignorance tends to only view the world through their subjective lens rather than an objective one. They ignore facts and logic – resorting to personal biases and judgments for every decision. 

Ignorance is stronger than we realize. This is because ignorance can affect your moral foundation. Not only do we misunderstand the world around us, but the world within us becomes confusing as well. We lose a sense of right and wrong and create shaky morals. These morals can be unstable because they are made from ignorance and false perception. A study from Carnegie Mellon University has shown that information avoidance and will-full ignorance can lead to selfish or immoral actions.

Your morals can remain resilient to ignorance by engaging your mind, learning, and seeking truth. The more we learn, the more we can understand and put lessons into practice. 

Awareness Can Cure The Viruses Of The Mind

All of the viruses of the mind have one thing in common. They can all be cured with one simple thing that you can practice daily. 


When you develop awareness, you can easily notice the things that damage your mind and eventually your body. In this sense, you can identify the viruses before they become too overwhelming and clear them for good. 

Remember, our original mental state is peace. When our harmony is disrupted, it leaves room for psychological or physical troubles. Awareness helps us maintain that state of serenity and relaxation for the mind to stay balanced. 

So, how can you increase your awareness? Well, the most common way to do so is through meditation. 

Why Is Meditation Helpful?

Meditation is a self-reflective practice that allows you to focus on whatever aspect of life you choose. A proven benefit of meditation is that it helps you to stay present. Research from the EOC Institute also supports this – they show that meditation helps improve awareness, boost sensory perception, and contributes to other things that positively impact your consciousness. Sometimes we can have trouble staying present when we are constantly distracted by everyday events and have no time for ourselves. We love meditation because it helps you relax, slow down, and establish a starting point for harmony within the mind. The inner peace we develop through meditation practice can lead to a clear mind. It’s important to recognize the difference between a clear mind and a clouded mind and what comes along with each one. They can both affect your life in interesting ways. Let’s explain these with a simple analogy.

Clear Mind vs. Clouded Mind

Imagine your mind as a glass of water.

Initially, the water should be clear and we can see everything that is going on in the water. The water is transparent, as our minds should be. With a clear mind, we see our problems, goals, challenges, and dreams. We also see the solutions and best directions to follow for a fulfilling life. This is where meditation comes in – it is the key to maintaining the clearness of our mind. 

Now, envision your mind as a glass of cloudy water.

This glass of water has been injected with ink. The ink clutters the water and makes it cloudy. When the water is clouded, nothing is visible but the dirty surface that blocks everything out. We cannot see anything so we assume everything is okay underneath. We have to rely on assumptions to guide us in decision-making, which can lead to faulty perceptions. In this instance, the ink is made from the negative experiences that alter your perception of the world. The link is your biases, judgments, stereotypes, and negative beliefs.

Meditation Purifies The Mind

A good meditation practice can help clear the mind of the black ink that stains our perspective. Think of meditation as a life dye that cleanses the mind. This is because meditation can build curiosity and creativity these things can encourage you to ask questions about your life and what you believe. A clear mind is one full of curiosity and drive.

So, how does one incorporate meditation into their life? With some help of course! And Samavira Meditation is here to help you. 

Meditate with Samavira

Samavira is a global community of people just like you. People are interested in meditation and want to learn more or start practicing. Samavira hosts beginner-friendly training that is built around the style you desire. Yes, you create your meditation style. At Samavira, we promote creativity and flexibility. Meditation doesn’t have to be boring or difficult – it should be fun and relaxing!

We want to help you maintain calmness and clear your mind of its defilements. You do not have to go through hardship alone – join an uplifting group of other individuals who love wellness! Samavira has been an effective starting point for so many people looking to start mediation. It can be for you too! 

If you’d like to know more about Samavira and how we can help you get started with your meditation practice, visit our website. Also check out our Instagram: @samavira.meditation, for daily inspiration and wisdom.

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