Monday, May 12, 2008

Interesting article:

from Psychology Today on the Psychology of Meditation is an oldie but a goodie. It should be pointed out that, yes as the article says, you should do what makes you feel better in the end, but not all meditation is equal in terms of the benefits affirmed by scientific review. From my reading, it seems that most research shows that fantasy-based meditation methods that utilize wrote rehearsal, memory or most imagination techniques enhance relaxation (or performance in the case of imagined rehearsal) and can lead some people to feel they've imagined a "spiritual" experience. The many benefits cited in the article involve types of meditation that seek to do the exact opposite, in a sense, clearing out the fantasies and experiencing reality without them.

The article begins with a description of Tibetan life: "...When villagers cook, sew or plow the fields, they do so in a tranquil state. As an approach to life, weaving meditation seamlessly into almost every action throughout the day seems unfamiliar to Western cultures."

So, great, all I have to do is give up all my possessions and move to Tibet, right? Well... "You don't need to quit your job, give up your possessions and spend 30 years chanting. Recent research indicates that meditating brings about dramatic effects in as little as a 10-minute session."

The article goes on to cite a vast swath of benefits from healing heart problems, digestive disorders, infertility, blood pressure and chronic pain, and it enhances the immune system, reverses thickening of the arteries, reduces stress and leads to better acceptance of conditions like cancer. To explain these benefits, the article points out that "(researchers) found that (meditation) activates the sections of the brain in charge of the autonomic nervous system, which governs the functions in our bodies that we can't control, such as digestion and blood pressure. These are also the functions that are often compromised by stress...."

1 comment:

Confusion Say said...

I've been talking a lot lately about a previous experience meditating where I was afraid. I felt like I was "traveling away" from myself and if I kept going I couldn't get back. I had the thought I may die if I went any "further".

Sorry, hopefully this makes sense.

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