On my flight back from the East coast Sunday evening I picked up a magazine called Pacific Standard with the picture of this solider in meditation. The article talked about how the military is employing age old mind focus techniques to help marines and navy SEALs cultivate a sharper mind, calm anxiety, and make more life enhancing decisions while in the midst of stressful missions.
Whats even neater is the armed forces as well as other Universities are investing more in concrete research of how meditation has impact.
"Compared with a control group of healthy males, the SEALs show more activation in the insula—prune-size areas on the right and left sides of the brain that play a role in self-awareness, pain sensation, and emotion. The insula also anticipate stress and prepare the body for dangerous situations; higher activity here helps explain why SEALs are better at threat detection and can think faster, more clearly, and more deliberately in complex or chaotic moments." http://www.psmag.com/health/a-state-military-mind-42839/
Guess what else creates more activation in the insula? Meditation.
A large scale study known as the Shamatha Project from UC Davis is still being fully analyzed but initial results "offer powerful evidence that a regular meditation practice can sharpen our perception, promote a greater sense of well-being, and encourage a more empathic response to others. And, through alleviating stress, meditation may even play a role in countering the effects of aging." http://www.psmag.com/health/just-breathe-42763/
Its probably just the beginning of the road for research into the effects of meditation practices and over the next few years we are sure to see more and more data and concrete brain science that demonstrates how these modalities can shift us from the inside out.