Cognitive effects of meditation

Paul Smith, modified 6 Years ago.

Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 109 Join Date: 5/9/15 Recent Posts
I'm very interested of cognitive effects of meditation. I'm a beginner, but I'm already noticing interesting mental phenomena arising.
For example, I'm able to have complex nonverbal thoughts -- they are very short in duration, but ripe with meaning. I catch myself with reactive urge to translate them to verbal versions, but it seems unnecessary and tiresome. 
If I watch a video, I'm noticing cuts -- places where two pieces of footage are glued together.
My nonverbals (body language, voice tonality) improves. I'm able to better express myself with niuances like tone of voice, or gestures.

I'm curious what effects others are noticing. Please share how meditation is affecting you, your mind, communication, thoughts, etc.
C P M, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 219 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
Hi Paul

Interesting that you are noticing such things as cuts in movies and how they are put together. A lot of work and artistry goes into creating that. I've noticed an improvement in my “mental horsepower” since meditating over a number of years. I've been a software developer for a number of decades, so I can compare working prior to daily mediation, and working after years of daily meditation.

Lately, I've completed some very complex and difficult projects. The final work is probably the best I've done. A big difference from before is the quality of my experience while actually working. Software development is typically high pressure with lots of deadlines, expectations and unforeseen difficulties. A big part for me is being able to face all of these difficulties without getting ruffled. I was able to have the attitude that “it going to get done when it gets done”, and then fully and joyously engaging in the work.

In the past, often a large part of my cognitive capacity would be engaged in fear/anxiety and story telling. But that is dramatically reduced. I still have some bad days and catch myself it some negative thought loops, but overall a big improvement.

A somewhat odd thing that happens if I go through a period of upping my daily formal meditation time for a few months. Then I will experience periods of bliss during the day while working. The thing is that these periods of bliss are strong enough that I am unable to concentrate on my work very well. I've been calling this wallowing in bliss.  In the past I would go through periods of being distracted by anxiety and rumination. So, I think that these periods of distracting bliss are somewhat of an equivalent distraction time wise, but a fair trade.

There is also the sense of knowing that it is counterproductive to force things. Work wise, for me, it seems most of the complex processing is being done below conscious awareness, and ideas are presented to conscious awareness when some difficulties have been sorted out. There is a certain sweet spot of having the intention of focusing on the problems at hand, and letting the solutions unfold as they do.
Paul Smith, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 109 Join Date: 5/9/15 Recent Posts
I'm a software dev too emoticon. With regard to professional work, I noticed solutions to problems related to what I'm working on often just pop up during my mindfullness breaks. I've an app on my phone - [url=]Mindfullness bell - that emits a sound every X minutes. When it does, I stop what I'm doing and take three mindful breaths. It's an excellent tool to get back to the present moment.

I'm yet to experience a prolonged sense of bliss during meditation. It must feel nice to be blissful without doing anything ;)
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Noah S, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 1532 Join Date: 7/6/13 Recent Posts
I'm noticing after a lot of effort that things which would usually trigger agitation, even to the point of stuttering or having difficulty communicating, simply do not anymore.  So, to the extent that my mind is balancing itself out as a natural side effect to insight, my cognitive functioning is improving.  Meaning, I do not know my baseline cognitive functioning without agitation is improving, but I definitely feel more clear in general.

I don't necessarily prefer this clarity, I just feel like the process is causing me to drop preferences in general.  I'm not sure if this helping me be smarter in any way.  Just more aware of 'me' as I already am.
Paul Smith, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 109 Join Date: 5/9/15 Recent Posts
I'm noticing a significant increase in the number of people that stop me on the street and ask for directions. Before I started to meditate, that number was equal to zero. Now it's very noticeable. I guess my demeanour and body language changed and I seem more approachable.
C P M, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 219 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
This is something my wife pointed out that has changed for me.  She recently said that there has been a dramatic improvement due to meditation.  She said that before, I was never really "here" in the present moment, but now I am present with her in whatever we are doing. 

In the past I was always obsessing over problems, work or other issues. I was usually "spinning" about something.  Not so much of that anymore.
Scott Kinney, modified 6 Years ago.

RE: Cognitive effects of meditation

Posts: 112 Join Date: 4/7/15 Recent Posts
Both in work and playing bridge, I am more deliberate, in that I'm paying attention to what's actually happening, what I'm actually reading or hearing instead of my mind racing ahead to interpretation and response. I can sometimes go into my meditative 'concentration' state volitionally and work in a concentrated, but calm way. It hasn't made me into a 'bridge savant' by any means, but the quality of my bidding and play has improved.

I'm more pleasant with co-workers, and more pleasant at home (more willing to go on "spur of the moment" excursions). The interesting thing I find is that I'm much more willing to ask for things. (nearly shocked my wife, asking for a specific item for Father's Day)

I'm also much more aware that while I'm extremely nice to other people, I'm not that nice or understanding about myself. I have a hack for that, learned from my first meditation teacher. Where I can't find compassion for myself, I visualize people who would have compassion for me if I asked, and "borrow" their compassion.)

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