Meditation-induced bliss viewed as release from conditioned neural (thought) patterns that block reward signals in the brain pleasure center

Religion, Brain and Behavior 3 (4):202-229 (2013)
Authors
Abstract
The nucleus accumbens orchestrates processes related to reward and pleasure, including the addictive consequences of repeated reward (e.g., drug addiction and compulsive gambling) and the accompanying feelings of craving and anhedonia. The neurotransmitters dopamine and endogenous opiates play interactive roles in these processes. They are released by natural rewards (i.e., food, water, sex, money, play, etc.) and are released or mimicked by drugs of abuse. Repeated drug use induces conditioned down-regulation of these neurotransmitters, thus causing painful suppression of everyday pleasure. As with many spiritual traditions, Buddhism provides strong advice against the pursuit of worldly pleasures to attain the ‘‘good life.’’ In contrast, many forms of meditation give rise to an immense and abiding joy. Most of these practices involve ‘‘stilling the mind,’’ whereby all content-laden thought (e.g., fantasies, daydreams, plans) ceases, and the mind enters a state of openness, formlessness, clarity, and bliss. This can be explained by the Buddhist suggestion that almost all of our everyday thoughts are a form of addiction. It follows that if we turn off this internal ‘‘gossip of ego,’’ we will find relief from the biochemical dopamine/opiate down-regulation, which is, perhaps, the perpetual concomitant of our daily rumination.
Keywords Buddhism  Meditation  Default Mode Network  Nucleus Accumbens  Bliss  Dopamine
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Précis of the Brain and Emotion.Edmund T. Rolls - 2000 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (2):177-191.
The Integration of Motivation.Alan H. Bond & Michael Raleigh - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):518-519.
Explaining Addiction.Eric Matthews - 2010 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 17 (1):23-26.
The Biochemical Bases of the Placebo Effect.Raúl de la Fuente-Fernández & A. Jon Stoessl - 2004 - Science and Engineering Ethics 10 (1):143-150.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-11-04

Total views
446 ( #8,353 of 2,313,599 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
165 ( #1,958 of 2,313,599 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature