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2005年NPR美国国家公共电台八月-Science Explores Meditation's Effect on t

时间:2007-07-18 01:06来源:互联网 提供网友:atm009e   字体: [ ]
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This is Morning Edition from NPR news.I am Steven Skip and I am Renee Montagne .Time now for our consumer health segment.

Lots of people turn to physical exercise to get their bodies in shape. The concept of reshaping the mind is more elusive1. Some neuroscientists have begun investigating meditation2 as a way to achieve that goal. People who meditate3 say it induces well-being4 and emotional balance. Scientists hypothesize that meditation does that by changing the way the brain works. NPR's Allison Aubrey reports.

A few weeks ago, a bunch of brain scientists gathered in an old monastery5 for an unusual meeting. They rose at five AM, ate breakfast in silence, and then got down to business, discussing meditation. The conference was organized and bankrolled by the Mind and Life Institute. It’s run by a guy named Adam Angle.

What we are trying to do is to establish, if you will, a new sub-field of science that will ask and answer the question how do you create and maintain a healthy mind.

Unger is a Harvard-trained lawyer who's spent much of his life as both an entrepreneur and a Buddhist6 meditator7. It's an unusual profile but it helps explain what he is doing now which is supporting the work of scientists who are using sophisticated tools to evaluate the brains of meditators.

It seems absolutely clear that meditation is doing something that can be measured with standard, you know, cognitive8 tests.

Brend Field is a neuroscientist at Princeton University. He's one of 200 or so scientists at the monastery for the week. His research is focused on figuring out what happens inside the minds of the most experienced meditators. It's a work that he never imagined doing five years ago. Back then he was working for Microsoft where he was applying his knowledge of neuroscience to computer technology. But as his personal practice of meditation grew stronger, he began to think of the mind as mental technology and meditation a sort of software or tool for upgrading.

People who have spent a lot of time in their head have figureed out that there are ways to start controlling the mind in ways that, in a very chaotic9 world that we live in we don’t really appreciate that. So they’ve developed this mental technology if you excuse the metaphor,which allows them to use meditation to encourage positive emotions and diminish negative ones. This is what some people are calling “mindfulness”. In order to nail down what happens to the brain as the result of this practice, Field has been studying Tibetan monks11. These are contemplatives who've logged thousands of hours in complete introspection. What Field's team does is to fly the monks over to their lab in Princeton and give them dozens of tests designed to measure mental clarity. In one task, for instance, they showed the monks a bunch of words which also happened to be colors. The monks' job is to call out the word and the color. The trick is not to be thrown off, when the word, say, green but happens to be written in brown. The researchers measure how the monks respond and use visual imaging machines MRIs to snap pictures of their brain activity.

In pretty much every task when monks are in the state of meditation they perform differently than when they are not. Frequently enough they perform better buteven if only by a little bit. But across this gist12 of experiments we've done I think at this point we really don’t have a map that we can put them on and that’s why I think this is gonna be a 20-year project.

So the results are slow in coming but two published studies by researchers at the University of Wisconsin have nailed down a few connections between the brain and meditation. The Wisconsin scientists have demonstrated that meditators do have increased activity in one part of the brain, the left prefrontal cortex which is associated with emotional well-being. The response is strongest with long-time adept13 meditators. But the researchers see the same pattern of brain activity in people who are just being taught to meditate. It’s this kind of novice14 meditators that interest Imishi Jo. She is a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania. And a few years ago she wanted to know if meditation could benefit the everyday Joe. She started looking into existing meditation research where psychologist asked people to report how meditation made them feel.

Over and over again people say it does change the way they feel and my part of it is understanding if it is true that people are reporting they feel better, what might be the mechanism15 by which that change happens? And the hypothesis that I’m testing coz I’m an attention researcher is to look to see if it really is particular aspects of attention that are getting strengthened.

Meaning is the brain sort of rewiring itself to be more attentive16. In her lab at Penn she recruited medical and nursing students who were participating in a two-month class called “Mindfulness-based stress reduction”. Here they got basic instruction in meditation. Throughout the course Jo put the students in front of computer screens and gave them a series of concentration test to establish which aspects of attention were being engaged. One test, for instance, had the students stare at blank screens, wait for instructions about images that were about to appear, and then respond by analyzing17 some quality of the picture. She's still coming through her preliminary data, but she says there does seem to be a strong relationship between meditation and attention.

There's a development on a practice-related trajectory18 of what seems to get better and initially19 it seems to start out as really the ability to focus your attention in a specific way. And as you practice more and more, the ability to flexibly allocate20 attention in a more open way may actually improve. Now I’m saying this and when I came to it from our result, I was shocked. I was like very surprised. Wow, this is great, Mindfulness is not a single end point but actually a whole path.


Jo discussed her findings with the scientists gathered at the Mind and Life conference. Also on the speaker’s platform were some of the Olympians of meditation. In particular, a French born Zen Monk10 named Netune Ricar. He gave a talk to the scientists about a concept called “the open mind”, and afterwards Imishi Jo wanted to pick his brain a little more

And something that you said really struck me coz I don’t really understand it

Ricar was trying to shed light on one mindfulness technique. It’s the idea that you open your mind or your consciousness to everything yet you are distracted by nothing, something that sounds contradictory21.

So when it’s really open you’re not focusing at all.

Yes, I'm not focusing at all, that’s right

That’s what I don’t understand, we don’t have a mind for that.

Jo uses the language of neuroscience. She speaks in terms of the taxonomy of attention and the neurobases of attentional systems. So translating the Zen concept of the open mind into science is going to take some time.

The concept is not weird22 at all ,I mean it can be understood

If I think about what that means, I mean, it doesn’t follow the logic23 that we use in how we think attention is.

You can make an example. You say, ok, now instead of focusing on right there in front of your nose, lay back, relax, and try to make you mind like a big space , a vast space. So I mean this people can understand, it's very vivid relaxation24, but no tension.

It’s the sort of thing that makes no sense to people who’ve never meditated25, that’s why first timers are often taught on mindfulness one-to-one approach, the technique focuses on breathing and Imishi Jo says it’s pretty straightforward26.

Put all of your attention to your breathe. Don’t think about other things. Don’t think about other sensations or thoughts. If your attention wanders from your breath, gently return it. That’s really that complexity27 instruction I mean that’s what it boils down to.

The intent is to shut off all the chatter28 in the brain to stop endless rumination29 and anxiety

Mindfulness is just a tool.

A shovel30 in the labor31 of training the mind, that's the way Adam Unger sees it.

We can actually learn how to become happier and healthier people.

His goal at the Mind and Life Institute is to keep the research going, staging conferences and supporting more young researchers who want to join the investigation32.

Allison Aubrey, NPR news.


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 elusive d8vyH     
adj.难以表达(捉摸)的;令人困惑的;逃避的
参考例句:
  • Try to catch the elusive charm of the original in translation.翻译时设法把握住原文中难以捉摸的风韵。
  • Interpol have searched all the corners of the earth for the elusive hijackers.国际刑警组织已在世界各地搜查在逃的飞机劫持者。
2 meditation yjXyr     
n.熟虑,(尤指宗教的)默想,沉思,(pl.)冥想录
参考例句:
  • This peaceful garden lends itself to meditation.这个恬静的花园适于冥想。
  • I'm sorry to interrupt your meditation.很抱歉,我打断了你的沉思。
3 meditate 4jOys     
v.想,考虑,(尤指宗教上的)沉思,冥想
参考例句:
  • It is important to meditate on the meaning of life.思考人生的意义很重要。
  • I was meditating,and reached a higher state of consciousness.我在冥想,并进入了一个更高的意识境界。
4 well-being Fe3zbn     
n.安康,安乐,幸福
参考例句:
  • He always has the well-being of the masses at heart.他总是把群众的疾苦挂在心上。
  • My concern for their well-being was misunderstood as interference.我关心他们的幸福,却被误解为多管闲事。
5 monastery 2EOxe     
n.修道院,僧院,寺院
参考例句:
  • They found an icon in the monastery.他们在修道院中发现了一个圣像。
  • She was appointed the superior of the monastery two years ago.两年前她被任命为这个修道院的院长。
6 Buddhist USLy6     
adj./n.佛教的,佛教徒
参考例句:
  • The old lady fell down in adoration before Buddhist images.那老太太在佛像面前顶礼膜拜。
  • In the eye of the Buddhist,every worldly affair is vain.在佛教徒的眼里,人世上一切事情都是空的。
7 meditator 5c2ea96e5dafe355861c4ee593758532     
沉思者,冥想者
参考例句:
  • The meditator who realises this also realises death and birth. 了悟这些的行者也了悟死与生。
  • At that time, the meditator will generally experience many different painful feelings arising in his body. 这时候,禅者通常会经历很多不同的苦受,它们不断在身中生起。
8 cognitive Uqwz0     
adj.认知的,认识的,有感知的
参考例句:
  • As children grow older,their cognitive processes become sharper.孩子们越长越大,他们的认知过程变得更为敏锐。
  • The cognitive psychologist is like the tinker who wants to know how a clock works.认知心理学者倒很像一个需要通晓钟表如何运转的钟表修理匠。
9 chaotic rUTyD     
adj.混沌的,一片混乱的,一团糟的
参考例句:
  • Things have been getting chaotic in the office recently.最近办公室的情况越来越乱了。
  • The traffic in the city was chaotic.这城市的交通糟透了。
10 monk 5EDx8     
n.和尚,僧侣,修道士
参考例句:
  • The man was a monk from Emei Mountain.那人是峨眉山下来的和尚。
  • Buddhist monk sat with folded palms.和尚合掌打坐。
11 monks 218362e2c5f963a82756748713baf661     
n.修道士,僧侣( monk的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The monks lived a very ascetic life. 僧侣过着很清苦的生活。
  • He had been trained rigorously by the monks. 他接受过修道士的严格训练。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 gist y6ayC     
n.要旨;梗概
参考例句:
  • Can you give me the gist of this report?你能告诉我这个报告的要点吗?
  • He is quick in grasping the gist of a book.他敏于了解书的要点。
13 adept EJIyO     
adj.老练的,精通的
参考例句:
  • When it comes to photography,I'm not an adept.要说照相,我不是内行。
  • He was highly adept at avoiding trouble.他十分善于避开麻烦。
14 novice 1H4x1     
adj.新手的,生手的
参考例句:
  • As a novice writer,this is something I'm interested in.作为初涉写作的人,我对此很感兴趣。
  • She realized that she was a novice.她知道自己初出茅庐。
15 mechanism zCWxr     
n.机械装置;机构,结构
参考例句:
  • The bones and muscles are parts of the mechanism of the body.骨骼和肌肉是人体的组成部件。
  • The mechanism of the machine is very complicated.这台机器的结构是非常复杂的。
16 attentive pOKyB     
adj.注意的,专心的;关心(别人)的,殷勤的
参考例句:
  • She was very attentive to her guests.她对客人招待得十分周到。
  • The speaker likes to have an attentive audience.演讲者喜欢注意力集中的听众。
17 analyzing be408cc8d92ec310bb6260bc127c162b     
v.分析;分析( analyze的现在分词 );分解;解释;对…进行心理分析n.分析
参考例句:
  • Analyzing the date of some socialist countries presents even greater problem s. 分析某些社会主义国家的统计数据,暴露出的问题甚至更大。 来自辞典例句
  • He undoubtedly was not far off the mark in analyzing its predictions. 当然,他对其预测所作的分析倒也八九不离十。 来自辞典例句
18 trajectory fJ1z1     
n.弹道,轨道
参考例句:
  • It is not difficult to sketch the subsequent trajectory.很容易描绘出它们最终的轨迹。
  • The path followed by a projectile is called its trajectory.抛物体所循的路径称为它的轨道。
19 initially 273xZ     
adv.最初,开始
参考例句:
  • The ban was initially opposed by the US.这一禁令首先遭到美国的反对。
  • Feathers initially developed from insect scales.羽毛最初由昆虫的翅瓣演化而来。
20 allocate ILnys     
vt.分配,分派;把…拨给;把…划归
参考例句:
  • You must allocate the money carefully.你们必须谨慎地分配钱。
  • They will allocate fund for housing.他们将拨出经费建房。
21 contradictory VpazV     
adj.反驳的,反对的,抗辩的;n.正反对,矛盾对立
参考例句:
  • The argument is internally contradictory.论据本身自相矛盾。
  • What he said was self-contradictory.他讲话前后不符。
22 weird bghw8     
adj.古怪的,离奇的;怪诞的,神秘而可怕的
参考例句:
  • From his weird behaviour,he seems a bit of an oddity.从他不寻常的行为看来,他好像有点怪。
  • His weird clothes really gas me.他的怪衣裳简直笑死人。
23 logic j0HxI     
n.逻辑(学);逻辑性
参考例句:
  • What sort of logic is that?这是什么逻辑?
  • I don't follow the logic of your argument.我不明白你的论点逻辑性何在。
24 relaxation MVmxj     
n.松弛,放松;休息;消遣;娱乐
参考例句:
  • The minister has consistently opposed any relaxation in the law.部长一向反对法律上的任何放宽。
  • She listens to classical music for relaxation.她听古典音乐放松。
25 meditated b9ec4fbda181d662ff4d16ad25198422     
深思,沉思,冥想( meditate的过去式和过去分词 ); 内心策划,考虑
参考例句:
  • He meditated for two days before giving his answer. 他在作出答复之前考虑了两天。
  • She meditated for 2 days before giving her answer. 她考虑了两天才答复。
26 straightforward fFfyA     
adj.正直的,坦率的;易懂的,简单的
参考例句:
  • A straightforward talk is better than a flowery speech.巧言不如直说。
  • I must insist on your giving me a straightforward answer.我一定要你给我一个直截了当的回答。
27 complexity KO9z3     
n.复杂(性),复杂的事物
参考例句:
  • Only now did he understand the full complexity of the problem.直到现在他才明白这一问题的全部复杂性。
  • The complexity of the road map puzzled me.错综复杂的公路图把我搞糊涂了。
28 chatter BUfyN     
vi./n.喋喋不休;短促尖叫;(牙齿)打战
参考例句:
  • Her continuous chatter vexes me.她的喋喋不休使我烦透了。
  • I've had enough of their continual chatter.我已厌烦了他们喋喋不休的闲谈。
29 rumination 24f6e2f9ef911fa311fa96206523fde1     
n.反刍,沉思
参考例句:
  • EA is the theory of rumination about human EA conception. 生态美学是对人类生态审美观念反思的理论。 来自互联网
  • The rumination and distress catalyze the growth process, Dr. 这种反复思考和哀伤反而促进了成长的过程。 来自互联网
30 shovel cELzg     
n.铁锨,铲子,一铲之量;v.铲,铲出
参考例句:
  • He was working with a pick and shovel.他在用镐和铲干活。
  • He seized a shovel and set to.他拿起一把铲就干上了。
31 labor P9Tzs     
n.劳动,努力,工作,劳工;分娩;vi.劳动,努力,苦干;vt.详细分析;麻烦
参考例句:
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
32 investigation MRKzq     
n.调查,调查研究
参考例句:
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
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TAG标签:   npr  公共电台  science  explore  effec
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