Who created BRM and why it is important?
Welcome to the Brain Renewal Meditation (BRM) website, my name is Stephen, I developed and teach BRM. I use the term developed because I based this system on a traditional method that is over 800 years old. My role in this process is simply to apply knowledge from neuroscience and cognitive psychology to the principles already established by true masters of meditation over centuries. For my part 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 neuropsychologist with a specialism in nondual and compassionate training. I teach BRM face to face and to online practioners from around the world. Over the last ten years I have shared modern and traditional meditation practices with hundreds of students.
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 I am currently researching the Scientific History of Mindfulness, and I write, blog and podcast on meditation related issues. 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.
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.