Meditators can switch off their consciousness on demand, new study reveals

"Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream," The Beatles sang. Turns out, experienced meditators can do just that according to a new scientific study. Researchers used EEG to measure brain activity of experienced Tibetan Buddhist meditators and determined that they could "voluntarily induce unconscious states, known as cessations."

From Neuroscience News:

By correlating the meditator's first-person experience with neuroimaging data, researchers have gained insights into the profound modulation of consciousness achievable through advanced meditation practices[…]

In the event known as cessation (or nirodha, according to Tibetan Buddhist terminology), the meditators briefly lose consciousness, but upon re-awakening, they are said to experience significant changes in the way their mind works, including a sudden sense of profound mental and perceptual clarity.

Matthew Sacchet, together with researchers from Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States, realized that the idea that a meditator has the ability to "turn off" consciousness could have broad implications for our understanding of how cognition works…

Here's the scientific paper in the journal Neuropsychologia: "Investigation of advanced mindfulness meditation "cessation" experiences using EEG spectral analysis in an intensively sampled case study"