This article‘s information regarding neuroscientists testing the EEG function of Buddhist monks has been around for some time. What strikes me as interesting about it is not so much that meditation alters the brain, but rather that the scientists need to see the changes graphically before believing anything.
There is a well known split between mind and brain that has pervaded the scientific culture of mind-brain. In fact, it seems to pervade much of society. The question of whether there is a “biological” reason or a “psychological” reason for a certain type of distress often appears. Why and how these two have separated is something upon which I do not have historical perspective.
But, why not consider the two as part of the same thing? Rather, an object such as a table, for example, has length, width, and height. There may be “more” of one than the other, of course. But being without one makes no sense. Interestingly, most of the recent psychiatric literature suggests treatment with both therapy and medication. To demonstrate how intertwined mind and brain are, one can note that medications have meaning as well.
Brains are part of the fabric of Nature as are the rest of our bodies. They change just like all things. How they change may be up for debate.
So, I wonder, why is it that we should be surprised to notice change in the brain functioning of someone who meditates? Is it that meditation is still pejoratively viewed as just sitting there, rather than the intense focus that it is?
The concept of “seeing is believing” seems to hold true. If we see a weightlifter lift several hundred pounds, we can express awe. But, the act of drawing massive focus to a task is more difficult to perceive. When we see someone playing chess, the depth of a certain move may only be appreciated by those who have experience with the game. Those with more experience can see more.