Skip to main content
Top

Open Access 04-05-2024 | Electroencephalography | Original Paper

Neurophenomenological Investigation of Mindfulness Meditation “Cessation” Experiences Using EEG Network Analysis in an Intensively Sampled Adept Meditator

Authors: Remko van Lutterveld, Avijit Chowdhury, Daniel M. Ingram, Matthew D. Sacchet

Published in: Brain Topography

Login to get access

Abstract

Mindfulness meditation is a contemplative practice that is informed by Buddhism. It has been proven effective for improving mental and physical health in clinical and non-clinical contexts. To date, mainstream dialogue and scientific research on mindfulness has focused primarily on short-term mindfulness training and applications of mindfulness for reducing stress. Understanding advanced mindfulness practice has important implications for mental health and general wellbeing. According to Theravada Buddhist meditation, a “cessation” event is a dramatic experience of profound clarity and equanimity that involves a complete discontinuation in experience, and is evidence of mastery of mindfulness meditation. Thirty-seven cessation events were captured in a single intensively sampled advanced meditator (over 6,000 h of retreat mindfulness meditation training) while recording electroencephalography (EEG) in 29 sessions between November 12, 2019 and March 11, 2020. Functional connectivity and network integration were assessed from 40 s prior to cessations to 40 s after cessations. From 21 s prior to cessations there was a linear decrease in large-scale functional interactions at the whole-brain level in the alpha band. In the 40 s following cessations these interactions linearly returned to prior levels. No modulation of network integration was observed. The decrease in whole-brain functional connectivity was underlain by frontal to left temporal and to more posterior decreases in connectivity, while the increase was underlain by wide-spread increases in connectivity. These results provide neuroscientific evidence of large-scale modulation of brain activity related to cessation events that provides a foundation for future studies of advanced meditation.
Appendix
Available only for authorised users
Literature
go back to reference Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc Ser B 57:289–300CrossRef Benjamini Y, Hochberg Y (1995) Controlling the false discovery rate: a practical and powerful approach to multiple testing. J R Stat Soc Ser B 57:289–300CrossRef
go back to reference Chowdhury A, van Lutterveld R, Laukkonen RE, Slagter HA, Ingram DM, Sacchet MD (2023) Investigation of advanced mindfulness meditation cessation experiences using EEG spectral analysis in an intensively sampled case study. Neuropsychologia 190:108694CrossRefPubMed Chowdhury A, van Lutterveld R, Laukkonen RE, Slagter HA, Ingram DM, Sacchet MD (2023) Investigation of advanced mindfulness meditation cessation experiences using EEG spectral analysis in an intensively sampled case study. Neuropsychologia 190:108694CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Daws R, Timmerman C, Sexton J et al. (Under review) Decreased brain modularity after psilocybin therapy for depression. 1–19 Daws R, Timmerman C, Sexton J et al. (Under review) Decreased brain modularity after psilocybin therapy for depression. 1–19
go back to reference Girn M, Roseman L, Bernhardt B et al (2021) Serotonergic psychedelic drugs LSD and psilocybin reduce the hierarchical differentiation of unimodal and transmodal cortex. bioRxiv 2020.05.01.072314 Girn M, Roseman L, Bernhardt B et al (2021) Serotonergic psychedelic drugs LSD and psilocybin reduce the hierarchical differentiation of unimodal and transmodal cortex. bioRxiv 2020.05.01.072314
go back to reference He W, Sowman PF, Brock J et al (2019) Increased segregation of functional networks in developing brains. NeuroImage 200:607–620CrossRefPubMed He W, Sowman PF, Brock J et al (2019) Increased segregation of functional networks in developing brains. NeuroImage 200:607–620CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference López ME, Engels M, Van Straaten ECW et al (2017) MEG beamformer-based reconstructions of functional networks in mild cognitive impairment. Front Aging Neurosci 9:107CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral López ME, Engels M, Van Straaten ECW et al (2017) MEG beamformer-based reconstructions of functional networks in mild cognitive impairment. Front Aging Neurosci 9:107CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral
go back to reference Lutz A, Thompson E (2003) Neurophenomenology integrating subjective experience and brain dynamics in the neuroscience of consciousness. J Conscious Stud 10:31–52 Lutz A, Thompson E (2003) Neurophenomenology integrating subjective experience and brain dynamics in the neuroscience of consciousness. J Conscious Stud 10:31–52
go back to reference Lutz A, Dunne JD, Davidson RJ (2007) Meditation and the neuroscience of consciousness: An introduction Lutz A, Dunne JD, Davidson RJ (2007) Meditation and the neuroscience of consciousness: An introduction
go back to reference Ñāṇamoli B (2010) Visuddhimagga, The Path of Purification, Translated from the Pāli Ñāṇamoli B (2010) Visuddhimagga, The Path of Purification, Translated from the Pāli
go back to reference Porz S, Kiel M, Lehnertz K (2014) Can spurious indications for phase synchronization due to superimposed signals be avoided? Chaos Interdiscip J Nonlinear Sci 24:33112CrossRef Porz S, Kiel M, Lehnertz K (2014) Can spurious indications for phase synchronization due to superimposed signals be avoided? Chaos Interdiscip J Nonlinear Sci 24:33112CrossRef
go back to reference Riba J, Anderer P, Jané F et al (2004) Effects of the South American psychoactive beverage Ayahuasca on regional brain electrical activity in humans: a functional neuroimaging study using low-resolution electromagnetic tomography. Neuropsychobiology 50:89–101. https://doi.org/10.1159/000077946CrossRefPubMed Riba J, Anderer P, Jané F et al (2004) Effects of the South American psychoactive beverage Ayahuasca on regional brain electrical activity in humans: a functional neuroimaging study using low-resolution electromagnetic tomography. Neuropsychobiology 50:89–101. https://​doi.​org/​10.​1159/​000077946CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Sayadaw M (1994) The progress of insight: a treatise on satipatthana meditation. Buddhist Publication Society Sayadaw M (1994) The progress of insight: a treatise on satipatthana meditation. Buddhist Publication Society
go back to reference Stam CJ, Tewarie P, Van Dellen E et al (2014) The trees and the forest: characterization of complex brain networks with minimum spanning trees. Int J Psychophysiol 92:129–138CrossRefPubMed Stam CJ, Tewarie P, Van Dellen E et al (2014) The trees and the forest: characterization of complex brain networks with minimum spanning trees. Int J Psychophysiol 92:129–138CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Tewarie P, van Dellen E, Hillebrand A, Stam CJ (2015) The minimum spanning tree: an unbiased method for brain network analysis. NeuroImage 104:177–188CrossRefPubMed Tewarie P, van Dellen E, Hillebrand A, Stam CJ (2015) The minimum spanning tree: an unbiased method for brain network analysis. NeuroImage 104:177–188CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Tóth B, Urbán G, Haden GP et al (2017) Large-scale network organization of Eeg functional connectivity in newborn infants. Hum Brain Mapp 38:4019–4033CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral Tóth B, Urbán G, Haden GP et al (2017) Large-scale network organization of Eeg functional connectivity in newborn infants. Hum Brain Mapp 38:4019–4033CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral
go back to reference van Dellen E, Bohlken MM, Draaisma L et al (2016) Structural brain network disturbances in the psychosis spectrum. Schizophr Bull 42:782–789CrossRefPubMed van Dellen E, Bohlken MM, Draaisma L et al (2016) Structural brain network disturbances in the psychosis spectrum. Schizophr Bull 42:782–789CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Van Lutterveld R, Diederen K, Schutte M et al (2013) Brain correlates of auditory hallucinations: stimulus detection is a potential confounder. Schizophr Res 150:319–320CrossRefPubMed Van Lutterveld R, Diederen K, Schutte M et al (2013) Brain correlates of auditory hallucinations: stimulus detection is a potential confounder. Schizophr Res 150:319–320CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Van Montfort SJT, Van Dellen E, Wattel LL et al (2020) Predisposition for delirium and EEG characteristics. Clin Neurophysiol 131:1051–1058CrossRefPubMed Van Montfort SJT, Van Dellen E, Wattel LL et al (2020) Predisposition for delirium and EEG characteristics. Clin Neurophysiol 131:1051–1058CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Van Wijk BCM, Stam CJ, Daffertshofer A (2010) Comparing brain networks of different size and connectivity density using graph theory. PLoS ONE 5:e13701CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral Van Wijk BCM, Stam CJ, Daffertshofer A (2010) Comparing brain networks of different size and connectivity density using graph theory. PLoS ONE 5:e13701CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentral
go back to reference Whitham EM, Pope KJ, Fitzgibbon SP et al (2007) Scalp electrical recording during paralysis: quantitative evidence that EEG frequencies above 20 hz are contaminated by EMG. Clin Neurophysiol 118:1877–1888CrossRefPubMed Whitham EM, Pope KJ, Fitzgibbon SP et al (2007) Scalp electrical recording during paralysis: quantitative evidence that EEG frequencies above 20 hz are contaminated by EMG. Clin Neurophysiol 118:1877–1888CrossRefPubMed
go back to reference Wickham H (2009) Elegant graphics for data analysis. Media 35:10–1007 Wickham H (2009) Elegant graphics for data analysis. Media 35:10–1007
go back to reference Yuval-Greenberg S, Tomer O, Keren AS et al (2008) Transient induced gamma-band response in EEG as a manifestation of miniature saccades. Neuron 58:429–441CrossRefPubMed Yuval-Greenberg S, Tomer O, Keren AS et al (2008) Transient induced gamma-band response in EEG as a manifestation of miniature saccades. Neuron 58:429–441CrossRefPubMed
Metadata
Title
Neurophenomenological Investigation of Mindfulness Meditation “Cessation” Experiences Using EEG Network Analysis in an Intensively Sampled Adept Meditator
Authors
Remko van Lutterveld
Avijit Chowdhury
Daniel M. Ingram
Matthew D. Sacchet
Publication date
04-05-2024
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Brain Topography
Print ISSN: 0896-0267
Electronic ISSN: 1573-6792
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10548-024-01052-4