Your chosen subject: Meditation“If we know the divine art of concentration, if we know the divine art of meditation, if we know the divine art of contemplation, easily and consciously we can unite the inner world and the outer world”. Sri Chinmoy
Do any of us truly know the power behind meditation?
Scientific studies have shown that Meditation has been linked to a variety of health benefits, these include physiological benefits (healthy functioning of cells and organs) by changing neurological processes (how the brain receives and processes information). The practice of Meditation has also been linked with various favourable outcomes that include ‘effective functioning, including academic performance, concentration, perceptual sensitivity, reaction time, memory, self control, empathy and self esteem.’ These findings are supported by an expert panel at the National Institutes Of Health, a study conducted by Oman et al,(2008). In their evaluation of the effects of two meditation-based programs they were able to conclude that meditating had stress reducing effects, improved reflective thinking and increased the ability to forgive.
There are many methods and types of Meditation practices, not to mention the various religious links to Meditation, an area we should perhaps explore on another occasion because that is a minefield in itself. Instead, let us explore one of the types of Meditation practices, ‘Mindfulness Meditation’. I want to focus on this particular practice because it seems the more common practice in overcoming today’s unbalanced healthstyle.
Mindfulness definition: conscious or aware of something
So, what is the draw with ‘Mindfulness Meditation’?
Is ‘Mindfulness‘ just the latest ‘buzz’ word to be attached to the practice or can we truly benefit from it?
Mindfulness practice, inherited from the Buddhist tradition, is being employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and the prevention of relapse in depression and drug addiction.
According to Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch, 2011, Mindfulness Meditation has entered the healthcare domain because of findings suggesting a positive correlation between the practice and emotional & physical health. Evidence has shown that there was a reduction in stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, pain and increased blood pressure after completing the practice.
If you enter ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ into Google’s search engine a list of sites come up, one of which includes ‘Mindful-Therapy North London’. The founder of this site Simon Osborne focuses on the core process of Psychotherapy and claims that:“Mindfulness can be described as bringing attention to what is happening in the present moment. It can be the basis of an enquiry into one’s immediate experience that has the quality of a non-judgemental and gentle curiosity. Noticing what one is with in this moment can become a gateway to exploring oneself more deeply, below the level of habitual thoughts and judgement Coming back to one’s actual present-time experience is a way of breaking free from repetitive thoughts and emotions.”
Are anti-depressants and beta-blockers a thing of the past now that ‘Mindfulness’ therapy is readily available on the NHS or are we running a little ahead of ourselves?
The only way to decide for yourself if Meditation aids in relieving stress or any other negative emotions is to Meditate.