Dr. Fred Travis visits the Sydney Transcendental Meditation Centre

Fred Travis, passed through town the other day. Sorry, Dr Fred Travis, renowned neurologist, specialising in research into the neurology of meditation. We saw learned diagrams of meditating brains and non-meditating brains and non-meditating brains of meditators both long and short-term. One girl put the cap on and we saw live what happened to her brain as she began and continued and stopped meditating. The terms alpha, gamma and coherence were floated around, and it all sounded very interesting.

But the best bit was towards the end. He showed us a diagram of a new meditator, four months, and an old one; 8 years. They both looked the same, coherence in alpha, if I remember it right. He then showed us the same people, not meditating. The old one had nearly the same level of coherence when not meditating, the new one went back to normal. He said that explained why a long term meditator says their meditation was good, and a new one goes into raptures more often. But the best thing was that their experience of actual meditation was the same. In other words, a new meditator is just as good at meditating as an experienced one.

He said that was rather hard for him to accept, as a long term meditator. Surely we are better at it than someone who has just begun? He tried to turn the data inside out, looked at it every way he could think of. And his ego finally had to accept it.

It does make sense. You’re just doing nothing, after all. Which should be no different for a beginner than` for someone experienced’. But many of us in the room understood where he was coming from.

It was rather funny. And very good for the new meditators.