The Thalamus is the large mass of gray matter in the dorsal part of the diencephalon of the brain with several functions such as relaying of sensory signals, including motor signals, to the cerebral cortex, and the regulation of consciousness, sleep, and alertness. The Thalamus has a right lobe and a left lobe.
The connection made between the Thalamus with the Fornix nerve fibers and Limbic system, are directly related to our emotional experiences, and the way we experience our emotions begins to open our heart intelligence and is the key to developing our higher sensory perception. Without the Thalamus functioning properly, the Brain cannot diagnose or detect the sensory information that is being transmitted to it.
One of the key structures in the Brain that is physically changed through long-term Meditation is the Thalamus. It acts as the relay station for all of the sensory information that flows throughout the brain and recognizes the different signal input. So, whether the information comes in through our optic nerves, our ears, through tactile sensation, through smell, or through taste, every bit of data travels to be detected through the thalamus. The thalamus mediates to us our sense of what is and isn’t real in the perception of reality. The Thalamus gives emotional meaning not only to what we take in through our basic senses, but also is key in developing our higher senses which further expands our concepts of God and spirituality.
The physical correlates of all sensations, thoughts, and emotions first cascade through the thalamus before being communicated to the other parts of the brain. Even the smallest degree of damage to this crucial part of the brain can negatively affect the functioning of other brain areas.