Meditation is an active and effortful process that literally changes the way the brain works. It enhances performance; improving focus; cognitive ability and quality of sleep. It produces the relaxation response; reducing stress; the recurrence of depression, biological aging; pain symptoms and the sensation of pain itself.
Time, like flowing water, never comes back. The same is true of life. That is why ‘today’ and ‘now’ are so important. What is important is how one lives in the now.”
Hozumi Gensho Roshi
Mastery of thoughts and emotions is attained through meditation.
Without a shadow of a doubt, meditation is the best way to still the mind. The benefits of meditation have been known to man for thousands of years. Initiates to the priesthood in ancient Egypt, and Yogis in India could survive being shut in boxes and initiation chambers for long periods due to the strength of their practice. That very same practice can equip us for the stresses and strains of modern living. It will reduce stress, strengthen the immune system and help the bodies’ natural healing process, it will actually change our blood chemistry. Brain waves and the breath will slow, blood pressure and heart rate decrease, detoxification and circulation of blood increase, lactic acid fall and skin resistance rise – all measurements of stress.
So meditation not only leads to mastery of the mind, but also to mastery of the chemical factory that is our body. By mastering these things, we are able to control our emotions and inner nature. This is true for all of us, not just the gurus amongst us.
What Meditation and Mindfulness can do for you!
Improvements are shown in just one day.
While improvements are shown in just one day, the longer you have practiced the better you will become. Research shows that positive personality growth and psychological benefits increase with meditative experience: improving overall self-esteem, feelings of worthiness, benevolence, and self-acceptance. EEG studies have shown that during meditation the brain will rapidly enter a continuous state of Alpha then Theta Waves which is associated with drowsiness, sleep. That state is known as “restful alertness” and within meditation one stays there, accessing dream-like images. Initially the right and left sides of the brain align themselves and then the back and front of the brain. That means it is really good for you.
Meditating even makes you younger!!!
Even short time meditators test as physiologically five years younger, how good is that! Tests of blood pressure, vision and hearing show those practicing for five years were physiologically twelve years younger than their non-meditating counterparts, with some subjects having a biological age twenty seven years younger than their chronological age! When meditation was introduced to elderly people they showed numerous beneficial changes including on average ultimately living longer. Those benefits endured when tested more than ten years later! So there is a reason why experienced meditators live so long and look so young!
Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones” and researcher into longevity hotspots around the world, suggests small lifestyle changes can add up to ten years to most people’s lives. He says aging is ten percent genetic and ninety percent lifestyle and that having mechanisms to shed stress, like prayer and meditation, is of high importance in the longevity hotspots he studied and a major factor in long-term health and aging.
Meditation is the Treatment of Choice for Chronic Pain.
Meditation is also becoming the treatment of choice for chronic pain. Participants of a ten week mindfulness programme experienced significant reduction in pain symptoms including mood disturbance. The sensation of pain itself is improved: Zen meditators have lower pain sensitivity both in and out of a meditative state and experience an eighteen percent reduction in pain intensity which has fantastic implications for pain medication. Depression, which is currently the fourth most debilitating human condition (behind heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents) according to the World Health Organisation, WHO. WHO predict that by the year 2020 depression will have risen to be the second most debilitating condition, and it occurs in up to fifty percent of people with chronic pain. Meditation trains the brain to be more focussed on the present and therefore to spend less time anticipating future negative events.
Meditation Reduces the Recurrence of Depression.
This may be why meditation is effective at reducing the recurrence of depression, which makes chronic pain considerably worse”. In fact: “A study, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology showed that mindfulness and meditation proved as effective as maintenance anti-depressants in preventing a relapse, and was even more effective in enhancing peoples’ quality of life”.
Current research shows that even weekly meditation lessons backed short daily practice improves quality of sleep and lowers feelings of stress AND having facilitated meditation and relaxation classes since 2001 I have seen this for myself. If there is one piece of feedback from my classes and recordings that is almost universal it is “what a great night’s sleep I had”, and that’s after just one time!
Practicing meditation and mindfulness in our daily lives also raises our self-awareness, and self-knowledge to the level where we can truly master ourselves. Helping us choose how we spend our moments and our days, being aware of everything, waking up. Giving us is an openness that allows us to observe ourselves and the flow of life. The more we connect with that energy the better able we are to make the right decision at the right time, and it’ll often be in in divine right timing.
Now I’m not normally one to bleat on but I can’t help it with meditation, it’s so great. It makes you younger!!! It enhances performance, positive personality growth, improves overall self-esteem, feelings of worthiness and self-acceptance. It helps proactive health producing the relaxation response which in turn induces changes in metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, brain chemistry and all the signs of biological aging. It reduces stress; the recurrence of depression, pain symptoms and the sensation of pain itself. Even negative programming from the past can be offset by taking the time every day to go into silence. Indeed improvement is shown in just ONE day. Its effects extend beyond those of ordinary rest and regular practice of meditation will also bring that comfort of knowing you are a child of nature, secure, permanent and loved. It connects us with the still voice within and leads us to the wisdom of our heart and soul. Away from the past and into the now.