What comes to mind when you see the word “meditation”? Special breathing or chanting? Sitting like a pretzel or laying down? Do you feel panicky about the mystery of it all? Are you afraid to look silly because you don’t know what they know?
Scientists usually classify meditation based on the way they focus attention, into two categories: Focused Attention and Open Monitoring. We’d like to think a third:Effortless Awareness of Inner Silence.
Over 100 studies were analyzed (some of which are in themselves analysis of other hundreds of studies), and categorized the findings into 76 benefits (divided into 46 subheadings).You will be surprised in reading some of these.
First, let us take a look at the shorten version of history…
The earliest written records of 1500 BCE show meditation come from the Hindu traditions of the Vedas and discuss the meditative traditions of ancient India. Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India (Wikipedia)
By the 18th century, new schools of yoga developed in Hindu revivalism from the 1890s. Some of these schools were introduced to the west and other schools were developed other variants of yoga traditions for use by non-Hindus, e.g. the system of Transcendental Meditation popular in the 1960s, and numerous forms where then derived from ancient traditional practices which became known simply as "Yoga" in western terminology.
Rather than focusing on spiritual growth, secular meditation emphasizes stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement. Both spiritual and secular forms of meditation have been subjects of scientific analyses and research. However, after 60 years of scientific study, the exact mechanism at work in meditation remains unclear but many would agree that it does work for one’s health and wellbeing.
Some of the most (western) popular types of meditation include:
- Transcendental Meditation (TM) Maharishi, an advocate of Transcendental
Meditation defines the purpose, “The goal of Transcendental Meditation is the
state of enlightenment.
- Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM) ...
- Guided Healing and Visualization
- Qi Gong & Tai Chi, meditative exercise
What are the benefits to meditation?
Meditation is like a steroid multivitamin for your brain and moods; it is for all ages.Long-term meditation practices enhances the ability to generate gamma waves in the brain.
Mindfulness practices decreases depression, helps treat depression in mothers to be, helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder, reduces stress and anxiety in general.Mindfulness meditation fosters creativity.
Meditation practices help regulate mood and anxiety disorders, acutely improves
psychomotor vigilance, and may decrease sleep need but helps reduce alcohol and
substance abuse. It prepares you to deal with stressful event(s), situations or
Meditation improves your focus, attention, and ability to work under stress; improves information processing and decision-making; gives you mental strength, resilience and emotional intelligence; makes you stronger against pain and relieves pain better than morphine. It helps us allocate limited brain resources, improves visuospatial
processing and working memory.
Meditation helps manage ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), increases the ability to keep focus in spite of distractions, improves learning, memory and self-awareness, increase rapid memory recall, improves your mood and psychological well-being.
Meditation prevents you from falling in the trap of multitasking too often. Multitasking is not only a dangerous productivity myth, but it’s also a source of stress. “Changing gears” between activities is costly for the brain, and induces feelings of distraction and dissatisfaction from the work being done.
In a research conducted by the University of Washington and University of Arizona,Human Resource personnel were given 8 weeks of training in either mindfulness meditation or body relaxation techniques, and were given a stressful multitasking test both before and after training. The group of staff that had practiced meditation reported lower levels of stress and showed better memory for the tasks they had performed; they also switched tasks less often and remained focused on tasks longer.
In a nutshell, science confirms the experience of millions of practitioners: meditation will keep you healthy, help prevent multiple diseases, make you happier, and improve your performance in basically any task, physical or mental. However, in order to experience most of these benefits you need to practice meditation consistently (daily). If you need help creating the habit . Join us, PURE conducts weekly every Wednesday evenings from 7-8pm a Healing and Visualization Meditation. We are located at 526 S Conkling Street, Baltimore, Maryland. Call us at 410-235-3993 and let us know your coming bring your mat, blanket and pillow. Space is limited.