Who created BRM and why it is important?
Welcome to the Brain Renewal Meditation (BRM) website, my name is Stephen I am the developer and lead teacher of BRM.
I am an experienced meditator with thousands of hours of personal meditation practice and extensive training in traditional and contemporary meditation methods. I am also a cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist with a specialism in the effects of meditation on wellbeing and brain health.
BRM is a compassionate mindfulness method based on the Buddhist Lojong system of mind training long associated with improved health and wellbeing. The latest research from psychology and neuroimaging enabled the development of BRM as a method for modern secular students. As well as the traditional health benefits associated with meditation and mindfulness BRM is also designed to boost brain health, limiting the effects of cognitive decline.
My academic work has included a number of scientific studies investigating the relationship between different forms of meditation and their effect on wellbeing and cognitive performance. In addition to teaching I am currently researching the Scientific History of Mindfulness with a view to undertaking a a PhD project next year. I write, blog and podcast on meditation related issues and am involved in independent research.
My main field of expertise is an understanding of the considerable effects of nondual compassion training on the brain, in this area I can claim some significant knowledge. But this particular page isn’t so much about me, rather what I know about the effect that meditation can have on cognitive decline and brain aging. This is of course a particularly timely issues. The latest data suggests the total of people with dementia is going to triple in the next thirty years. Most governments are wholly unprepared for the human and economic costs of the coming dementia crisis. In addition we also expect the number of people living with mild cognitive impairment to increase significantly.
Many years of study and practice have led me to some important conclusions upon which BRM is based.
- By their own efforts meditators can exercise control over positive functional and structural changes in the brain.
- Improved function and structure is possible throughout the life cycle. As long as you can meditate you can influence your brain’s health.
- The implications of these positive changes have been understood and used by meditators for thousands of years.
- Not all meditation influences the brain in the same way, different approaches have different effects, it is a mistake to think that all meditation is the same.
- Compassionate nondual meditation methods are among the most enduring practices, long associated with mind training and brain health.
- The benefits of meditation are linked to the motivation of the meditator, passively practicing a method without engaging appears to bring less benefit.
- The frequency and intensity of the meditation practice appears to produce different results. For example the benefits from regular weekly practice is not the same as short term more intense retreat type meditation training.
- Dementia is a complex syndrome that is sub-divided into a number of different conditions. The ability of meditation to reduce the risks of developing diverse forms of dementia needs to be considered on a case by case basis.
There’s much more I could add, but the key message I want to get across is that declining brain health is not inevitable and there are known systems that can maintain or augment mental functions at all ages. A second point is that the processes of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s dementia generally start decades before their symptoms manifest; it is never too early to think about your brain health. Follow these links if you’d like to attend a class, or participate in online Brain Renewal Meditation.
If you have any questions take a look at the main meditation science page in the first instance, there are a number of important resources to be found there. If all else fails get in touch and we’ll try to help, please remember we cannot address individual health issues.
Stephen Gene Morris is a Neuroscientist and Cognitive Psychologist. He holds a BSc in psychology and a MSc in neuroscience and cognitive psychology and is a graduate member of the BPS. He has also received extensive instruction in the science of Tsema (mind and perception) and has been investigating the benefits of meditation on brain health for over a decade.
As a meditation practitioner Stephen has been trained in both traditional and contemporary methods. He has travelled extensively in Asia and Europe gaining knowledge and experience from leading meditation masters. His main area of interest is nondual compassion meditation and its links to brain health. His current research is focused on the relationship between compassion, nondual meditation, mindfulness and wellbeing.
Stephen describes himself as a meditation teacher first and a scientist second. He has been teaching meditation since 2008 and he trains his own brain every day with traditional Buddhist meditation methods. He estimates that he has completed over 10,000 hours in meditation during the last 20 years.