SHAMATA MEDITATION or FA (Attentional Focus )
Shamata meditation or FA, is the first practice in the Buddhist meditation path. It literally means to "die in peace" or "meditate in tranquility". For Buddhists, meditation consists of the act of concentration in an object in particular or in an idea, through focusing and developing the attention span in a voluntary manner and maintain it without effort. (Saggar, King et al. 2012).
The domain of the Shamata practice has been able through a high level of attention and liveliness, to attain a mental state of tranquility and serenity (Wallace. and Goleman. 2006). Other studies (Desbordes, Negi et al. 2012) mention that this type of meditation results in an increase of selective attention favoring the processes of the memory, of analysis, etc...These authors have found that meditation causes a decrease in certain hormones such as cortisol. The reduction of cortisol levels favors on both the short and long terms an improvement in the cognitive processes. Cortisol is produced by the Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis that is the main system responsible for the response generated by an organism due to stress. In normal conditions, cortisol is generated according to a cycle. Cortisol levels are low during the night and increase a few hours before waking up, a spike appears within 30 or 45 minutes after waking up followed by a decrease later during the day.
This practice is based in the selection of a an subject for the meditation process, this object can be an image or respiration. In the case of respiration, meditation is initiated by observing the light respiration flow and later deepening this sensation. When an image is used, without conceptualizing its details, meditation is based simply in observing this image. As a consequence, the practice of Shamata consists in making the mind go back again and again to the subject of meditation, in a way that even when one is distracted, one is able to pinpoint the distracting factors and gradually restore attention. This process can be faster as one improves his training levels and practice. (Lamrimpa 1996).
Extract obtained from the doctoral thesis "STUDY OF THE MODIFICATION OF THE FREQUENCY OF ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPHIC ACTIVITY THROUGH A PROCESS OF NEUROFEEDBACK AND MEDITATION TECHNIQUES OF SHAMATA MEDITATION”, author: ANDRES HUMBERTO SALDAÑA RAMOS