TL;DR: meditation is a process for altering the harmonics of brainwaves to produce good brain states.
Pulling together a few threads:
- The theory of connectome-specific harmonic waves suggests one thing that happens in the brain is that oscillations in neuron activity (brainwaves) interact to form harmonics (correlated brainwaves that form patterns) that may explain certain aspects of brain and thereby mental activity.
- We can of course look at what happens with these harmonics in people on LSD.
- Probably related: people "hallucinating" all the time
- Meditation and psychedelics do similar things to the brain.
- Psychedelics can cause people to perform a process we might call "annealing" by analogy to the metallurgical process ("normalizing" would also work as a metaphor, as would "quenching + tempering" in the case of bad trips/trauma with after care). I've also been using the annealing metaphor talk about what happens during meditation (no links, all in person), as have others.
- "Good" is grounded as "minimization of prediction error". Explanation:
- Neurons form hierarchical control systems.
- cf. a grounding of phenomenological idealism using control systems, and its implications
- cf. the hierarchy is recursive and reasserts itself at higher levels of organization
- Those control systems aim to minimize prediction error via negative feedback (homeostatic) loops.
- The positive signal ("good") of the control system occurs when prediction error is minimized.
- By extension "bad" is when prediction error is maximized and "neutral" is when the threshold for signaling good or bad is not crossed (having a neutral signal reduces jitter).
- One way to reduce prediction error is with symmetry. This means that we usually think symmetry is good.
- Meditation, and anything that sets up harmonic neuronal oscillation, makes brain activity more symmetric, hence better or good.
I think we can infer a lot from these observations, but I'll leave those for another post.