BBC report here on 'mindfulness meditation' and scientific research into the parts of the brain affected by it. Results include a reduction in pain, and a reduction in activity in the 'ego' part of the brain.
I keep coming across 'mindfulness' in literature on anxiety, OCD and mental health, as a non-chemical strategy for calming your thoughts and improving mental health. I'm still not sure if it's just the 'latest thing', or a proven and effective practice. Having said that, it shouldn't be surprising that an ancient spiritual practice turns out to be good for us.