“The mind is definitely something that can be transformed, and meditation is means to transform it.”Dalai Lama
We have heard so many reasons to meditate: that love blossoms, you attain enlightenment, you are in heavenly bliss, you de-stress, sleep better, or even get super powers. But are any of these really true?
In today’s intellectual world we want data, we want analysis, we want science. And the science is in! With its whole lot of research study and reports on the real results of meditation.
But before we go further into why meditate, we must clarify one thing first:
What is Meditation?
You have always been meditating without being aware of it – even if it has been meditating on sadness.
Have you ever done an activity that required your complete presence? Perhaps photography, sailing, cooking – you were so absorbed in it that you experienced a complete present moment awareness, a meditative state.
Meditation is a state and not an action. To be, and not to do. A state that connects you with something much bigger- Higher Intelligence, Higher Self however may you call it. And in the process you learn more about yourself.
What Is NOT Meditation?
These are some techniques that can lead you to meditation but are not meditation:
Why MUST You Meditate?
If you know about the many wonderful benefits of meditation, it will inspire you to take up the practice.
Meditation is just good for your overall health in all levels – just like good diet or exercise. Nothing else, single handedly, brings so many benefits the way meditation does.
- Keeps Your Mind Young – Regular meditation can knock seven and a half years off the middle-aged brain. A research study at Jena University Hospital in Germany showed that a 55 year old non-meditator’s brain looked like it was 55. But the meditators’ brains were younger than their years, with the average 50-year-old having a brain that belonged in a 42 or 43 year-old.
- Keeps Your Body Young – Meditators show higher telomerase activity than non-meditators. Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes that shortens with age. Meditators have longer telomeres contributing to anti-ageing of the body.
- Beat Stress & Anxiety – According to a news release, anxiety and excessive worrying affects about 7 million Americans annually. Researchers in St. Louis University examined anxiety in 40 and stress in 34 participants. After regular practice of meditation, 33 of 40 and 25 of 34 studies showed significant decrease in anxiety and stress respectively.
- Separates Emotion From Reaction – Meditation helps you to carve that space between your trigger, emotion and your reaction. You see situations as they really are without magnifying or minimizing them. You get better clarity and fresh perspective on your inside and outside issues.
- Calm and Peace – When your life is hectic, overwhelmed with tireless duties and obligations meditation is most effective to clear out your mind of rubble and give you the sense of calm and peace. Studies show that the amygdala in brain responsible for fear, anxiety in general shrinks in size with regular meditation.
- Be In Flow – Science says flow as optimal state of consciousness when you feel and perform the best. Magic happens in this state. Every action smoothly flows into the next. Meditation allows the mind to enter the magical state of flow, when your mind experiences perfect harmony.
- Inner critic Turns Off – Your dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex known as your inner critic — goes off during meditation. This is that voice that says, “Why did I do that? I am Stupid!” “This dress makes me look fat.” Meditation shuts that inner voice and connects to your unlimited potential. You feel invincible.
- Enhances Empathy & Compassion – Meditation lights up the insula which is the key player in self-awareness and empathy. It makes you mindful of your own emotional reactions and compassionate towards others emotions.
- Promotes Emotional Health – When you meditate, the brain activates and releases neurochemicals like norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin, and endorphins all together. If you would buy a drug version of all those neurochemicals and combine them, you’d end up dead or in a coma. The brain combines these neurochemicals spontaneously during meditation and lifts up your emotions and mood beautifully.
- Yogic and Psychic Powers: We use on an average of only about 10% of our brain capacity. Meditation simply awakens the regions of the brain that otherwise remain dormant and by doing so, activate the powers they hold.
So there you have it. Maybe you want to relieve your stress and anxiety, maybe you want to gain clarity and make better decisions. Why not try meditation?
Personally I don’t give so much importance to scientific data because the only data that truly matters comes from: You! Your experience…meditation is after all an experiential practice. The more you commit to regular practice, the more your body, mind, and spirit will experience its many blessings and benefits.