Group Meditation Increases Coherence

In July 2018, twelve Thai boys and their soccer coach were trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave during a trip intended to last just an afternoon. Their rescue attracted global attention and an international team of experts. When divers finally discovered the victims, they were amazed to find that the boys and their coach were sitting in the dark, meditating. All of them came out alive. According to journalists, the coach had spent a decade as a Buddhist monk. This is a modern-day example in a life or death situation where individuals used their collective mental state to preserve their physical lives. The quality of their collective meditative state of mind – or coherence, could have been an important life saving variable. 

So, what exactly does coherence have to do with meditation? Coherence or the quality of being consistent, meaningful and the formation of a unified whole, is a common neuro metric term associated with healthy brain function. Coherence is measured by averaging the time two brainwaves share the same phase. Functionally, the measurement corresponds to the amount of time and information communicated across the brain. Research on individuals’ brainwaves shows that as interhemispheric brain coherence increases so does conflict monitoring, empathy and equanimity. Synchronous alpha brainwaves (that are symmetrical as well as in-phase) are associated with improved mental processing, better mood, clarity and feelings of contentment.

Experienced meditators have notably high interhemispheric brainwave coherence. Research on groups meditating together shows increases in the groups’ collective brainwave coherence coefficient. It’s likely that the combined effort of the boys meditating together and maintaining like minded intention…increased their group brainwave coherence and aided their safe passage. 

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of different forms of meditation out there, each with its specific tradition, practice and protocol. Transcendental meditators are guided to allow the mind to sink into a space of restful awareness. Concentration meditation practices guide meditators to focus attention on the breath or on an image such as a deity or Buddha, or on a specific word or phrase. Other meditation practices such as Taiji Chuan involve a pattern of choreographed movements and a focus on continually “sinking the energy”. The Brazilian martial art adopted by the ancient Japanese Samurai, known as Jiu-Jitsu, focuses its methods on water-like movements. The many styles and traditions of meditation may make it challenging for someone to know where to begin or which meditation practices might be best suited for their specific needs. Based on the way attention is directed, your intention during meditation practice, and on the way meditation impacts your brain, meditation generally falls into these categories : Focus, Mindfulness, Quiet Mind, Loving Kindness and Open Heart. Group meditation with a common goal is also an increasingly popular and non-threatening introduction to the consciousness-building experience. Any style of meditation that monitors the brain’s electrical activity or blood flow can be considered neuro meditation.

Meditation Challenge Goal
Loving Kindness
Depression, Anger, Conflict
Lift Energy, Self Regulate, Deepen Sensitivity & Empathy
Attention Deficit, Brain Fog, Impulsivity
Freedom From Distraction, Voluntarily Control Attention, Improve Thought Processing
Anxiety, Stress, Letting Go, Reduce Judgment & Blocks
Deepen Relaxation, Increase Physical and Mental Calm
Quiet Mind
Rumination, Negative Self Talk, Mental Chatter, Addiction, Perfectionism
Improve Mental Calm, Clarity and Deepen Relaxation.
Group Guided
Health Or Professional Obstacle, Confusion
Clarity, Insight, Mental Expansion, Consciousness, Spiritual Development

There is a neuro meditation style that fits many of the emotional and cognitive challenges people face today. Neuro focus meditation can provide enhanced skills to help you isolate the reality of where your problems begin and end – with you. Group guided neuro meditation provides an opportunity to get personal insight to prevailing challenges and at the same time build the foundation for coherent interpersonal and group dynamics. Who knows; a healthy group meditation experience could make all the difference during your untimely rescue.