Meditation traditionally in the past has been associated with personal spiritual expansion and fulfilment, but now is increasingly being used as a self-help method for promoting good health and managing stress.
Meditation has evolved out of numerous approaches to life, religions and philosophies, which means there are many different techniques to choose from. The practice generally involves deliberately holding one’s attention on a subject, object or process. It may also involve clearing the mind. Outcomes can include feeling more 'alive', enhanced feelings of calm and heightened awareness.
During meditation, your brain’s activity alters significantly, relaxing the entire nervous system and body. Some people experience various altered states of consciousness.
Scientific studies show that the regular practice of meditation can be a powerful healing tool. In fact, there is now clear evidence from studies of long-term meditators that meditation produces profound changes in the brain, and that recovery from some physical and emotional illnesses is assisted by the practice of meditation.
There are a large number of physical, emotional and psychological conditions that are shown by research to be favourably influenced by meditation.
Some disorders that meditation can be used to help include:
When people close their eyes and focus, something extraordinary happens to both the brain and the mind. The rigid boundaries of perception that have held the person in place begin to soften. “Reality” becomes less real and more negotiable. People discover through direct subjective experience that their perceptions – of time, space, the body, the meanings ascribed to life experiences, self-awareness, and so on – are malleable.
What the neuroscience shows us is that perceptions of the mind also have consequences in the brain. Self-suggestion and realisations in states of focused attention can alter the brain.
Meditation enables people to access and enlist more of their own resources which can be used for therapeutic purposes. When a person is encouraged to focus and discover, and mobilise internal resources either forgotten or never known, great possibilities emerge. Hidden, untapped resources surface which can create greater self-awareness and self-efficacy.
Meditation and Healing
The Malleability of
MInd and Brain
||High blood pressure|
||Life-threatening physical illness|
||Recovery from accident
||A sense of lack of belonging or purpose|
Resting your mind has a dramatic effect on brain activity. When your brain moves into an alpha wave state, many physiological changes occur, starting with the autonomic nervous system. One of the main roles of the autonomic nervous system is to regulate glands and organs without any effort from our conscious minds.
The autonomic nervous system is made up of two parts, called the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. These systems act in opposite yet complementary ways: the sympathetic nervous system ‘revs up’ the body, while the parasympathetic calms it down. Chronic stress or burnout can occur when the sympathetic nervous system dominates for too long.
During an alpha wave state, the parasympathetic half of the autonomic nervous system comes to the fore. This results in lowered blood pressure and heart rate, a reduction in stress hormones and slowed metabolism. If meditation is practised regularly, these beneficial changes become relatively permanent.
Research combining relatively new technology (magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI) and the talents of long-term meditators has revealed marked changes in both brain function and structure. Finding evidence of these types of changes adds Western scientific validation to many of the claims made by advanced meditators for centuries.
The direct benefits of meditation can include:
- The Buddha
Meditation brings wisdom,
lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back,
and choose the path that leads to wisdom.
Benefits of Meditation
||Improved physical, emotional and mental health|
||Focused and clear thinking|
||Enhanced sense of self and personal presence|
||Greater relaxation and ease|
||More equanimity in the face of challenges|
||Satisfaction in life|
||An improved sense of spiritual
fulfilment and awakening|
At beHEALTHi we can help you learn more about the benefits of meditation, the different types of meditation, introduce the practice into your personalised therapy plan, or help you incorporate meditation as part of your health and wellbeing program.
Meditation is listening to the Divine within.
- Edgar Cayce