Meditation Benefits: Vipassana Meditation Brings Peace of Mind

Vipassana meditation brings peace of mind to the youth of India, at least around Mumbai, according to the Hindustan Times. Vipassana means “insight” in Pali, an ancient language of India. Vipassana is described as the essence of the teachings of Buddha, the experience of his teachings, because he attained the experience of the truth in meditation, so meditation is truly the essence of the teaching.

Vipassana Meditation Brings Peace of Mind

Vipassana Meditation Brings Peace of Mind

   

Vipassana is taught as a living practice of the Buddha’s teaching and it has been passed on for millennia. Vipassana as a technique is simplicity, is universally applicable and non-secular.

Vipassana is taught over a ten day period (though there are longer retreats) and is open to anyone that wants to practice this type of meditation. During this time the practitioner stays at the center, cutting all ties with the outside world. They are given instruction and told that refrain from all other activities such as reading, writing and, of course, any electronic devices are ‘turned off.’

While there is an open duologue with the meditation teacher, silence is observed between the participants. During the first three plus days the focus of practice is, appropriately enough, mental concentration, which is in preparation for formal meditation. Each day thereafter new practices or steps are introduced, until day ten when the silence ends. The tenth day is preparation for reentry into the everyday world, and the course end on the morning of the eleventh day.

The idea of meditating ten to twelve hours a day for days on end may seem a bit extreme to the uninitiated. In fact at the Vipassana centers around Mumbai, India, (as with all Vipassana centers) there is an evaluation process, like a doctors certificate, required to determine the fitness of the practitioner.

(For a detailed schedule of a ‘typical’ Vipassana retreat check out my post “The Benefits of Vipassana meditation.”)

But according to the Hindustan Times young people around Mumbai are embracing Vipassana meditation in order to relieve stress.

“Sujata Khanna, registrar, Pattana Vipassana Centre, Goregaon says that the number of people below the age of 30 who opt for Vipassana has increased noticeably in the past year. “While Vipassana was considered to be popular among the older crowd, we now find that the number of people below the age of 30 outnumber the senior crowd.”

She adds that during the vacation season, the ratio of women to men is higher: “Most come because they cannot handle the stress in their daily lives.”

Another reason for the youth to attend the intense retreat is to develop concentration skills that will help them in their studies and career.

“We always ask for a doctor’s certificate before they come, because Vipassana isn’t physically easy,” Khanna explains. “You have to sit for long hours and wake up very early, which is a big change from your usual routine. Some people do break down and cry, but a teacher is there to help them with the right techniques to deal with their situation. In fact, we’ve noticed almost 50 per cent of our young students come back.”

Advertising executive Labony Kaushal, 25, admits the only reason she thought of giving Vipassana a shot was to alleviate her boredom. “I was just tired of doing the same thing, and having nothing new in life to look forward to. I thought that 10 days of not talking to anyone would be good for me, since I’m not a very talkative person anyway.” Kaushal didn’t do any research before signing up, which she recommends for anyone who’s rolling the idea around in their head. “It’s not about religion; it’s an intense physical and mental experience because you’re just sitting and observing yourself. So, everybody’s experience is different.”

The first day, called Zero Day, is where an audio-visual explains the techniques of meditation to the new arrivals… and little else. “You expect someone to come up to you and tell you something, but you’re just sitting in one place, meditating. I got a headache on the first day, which is something they warn you of because your body is not used to it,” she recalls.

By the second day, Kaushal experienced a surge of energy, but admits the days dragged on. “I was doing a mental countdown to the end. And every day, it felt like I was running a never-ending race,” she says, adding, “But by the final day, I didn’t want to come back to Mumbai. And I definitely want to go back there soon.”

Ask Kaushal whether she’s noticed any permanent changes and she says, “ I was an angry person who’d react without thinking of the consequences, but I’ve become more patient now. I can feel a balance, though I would need to be in an extreme situation to test how powerful it is.”

Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Seema Hingorrany admits she’s seen a substantial rise in the number of young patients opting for Vipassana, and cites stress as the main reason. “Patients between the ages of 22 to 30, who find that they cannot cope with the stress in their lives and the constant need to be in touch with people, take this step because Vipassana teaches you to detach yourself,” she says, adding, “Many of them are going through a break-up in their relationships, or have parents who are getting divorced. They listen to recommendations from friends or their spiritual guru, or have read up on the subject.”

Hingorrany says that she gets emails and calls from patients asking what the right age for Vipassana is, but she opines, “It’s not about being the right age, but having the right reason. If someone is emotionally disturbed or unbalanced, I wouldn’t recommend this intensive introspection because it might further upset the mental balance and cause you to crumble.”

For those who return from their retreat successfully, Hingorrany notices a change in their composition. “I’ve seen patients achieve a balance in body and mind.  Many reveal that their stress-related migraines and allergies disappear. And of course, they become emotionally stronger because they have enhanced their coping methods.” Read more…

The experience of Labony Kaushal is actually a common one. In the beginning most students find the meditation practice to seem more like torture instead of the deep inner peace they are seeking. They feel themselves very resistant to the forced timetable (like getting up at four or four thirty in the morning), the sparse facilities, instructions of the teacher, all the discipline and even the technique itself.

The big surprise for most of the students is, as it was for Kaushal, by the tenth day there’s the realization that Vipassana meditation brings peace of mind, that at some point the meditators slip into effortless effort, discover detached involvement and maintain a peaceful alertness.

My favorite books on Vipassana meditation are, “The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation by William Hart” and “Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate by Sharon Salzberg.”

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The Benefits of Meditation for College Students

 

The Benefit of Meditation for College Students

The Benefit of Meditation for College Students

You can hardly get through a day without hearing something about the negative effects of stress. And college students must find a way to deal with multiple stressors, such as finance problems, balancing work with study and simply trying to find their way in a time in their lives of intense personal and academic growth; all in addition to the everyday stresses of the modern world.

 

The good news is that benefit of meditation for college students is that it’s an antidote to all that stress, and even better it can help prevent the health problems caused by chronic stress.

 

In a study, published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Psychophysiology, a number of encouraging results were found. This study on a group of students practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) for 20 minutes, twice a day, for a period of ten weeks (as opposed to a control group), showed a number of positive benefits.

 

The “Brain Integration Scale” scores of the meditating students was higher than the non-meditators, this means that there was more alpha activity in the brain, better match of brain activation and task demands and greater frontal coherence in the brain. As Fred Travis, director of the MUM brain research center, put it, “From pretest to posttest, Brain Integration Scale scores increased significantly, indicating greater breadth of planning, thinking and perception of the environment”

 

Less sleepiness, even during the last week before final exams, was reported by students practicing Transcendental Meditation. One student reported that she could feel, “my whole body releasing the stress of the day.”

 

This study also found that meditating students recovered faster from loud tones, which was measured by galvanic skin response (GSR). The sympathetic nervous system will respond to loud new tones, and the study found the meditators sympathetic nervous system stopped responding quickly as compared to the non-meditators, whose system and a prolonged response.

 

In an article by Mario Orsatti on college students, stress and “perfectionistic thinking,” the benefits of Transcendental Meditation are discussed, so I’ll let Mario take over for a while…

“College students are trying to deal with unprecedented levels of stress,” said lead researcher, Dr. Jaimie Burns, Assistant Director of the Trinity Counseling Center. “They are going through a transitional time in life and are trying to navigate through intense academic and personal growth challenges. The lack of sleep students get is astounding and alarming. More students are graduating without jobs or are getting jobs that they don’t really want, and they know that they are going to go out into a world of rapid change and upheaval.”

“We are always evaluating tools to find out what works and how well they work. Our question was, will a tool like Transcendental Meditation really work? Our goal was to carefully, objectively, assess how effective TM would be, and we were impressed with the results, especially in the areas of trait anxiety and perfectionistic thinking,” she said.

Anxiety can be either a short term “state” or a long term “trait.” Trait anxiety reflects a stable tendency to respond with state anxiety in the anticipation of threatening situations. It is closely related to the personality trait of neuroticism.

“Mental health professionals often have difficulty helping people with this kind of dispositional anxiety,” said Dr. Burns. “To find something that helps these people is a significant problem because it’s entrenched in them. Therapy generally does not help. This is why the effect of TM practice in this study was impressive.”

Another important variable studied by the researchers at Trinity was a specific anxiety-related disorder referred to by the term “perfectionistic thinking.”

“Perfectionistic thinking refers to the extreme end of the striving spectrum,” said Dr. Burns. “When people exhibit a high degree of perfectionistic thinking, it puts them at risk for a variety of problems. Striving toward achievement is obviously good and a motivator, but when people get into what we call perfectionistic thinking, they feel that they have to be perfect all the time and it puts them at risk for developing a variety of psychological problems.”

“Perfectionism,” as it is often referred to by modern psychology, makes people set unrealistically high standards for themselves. Such individuals can feel that their self-worth depends on a consistently spotless performance. Researchers are finding that perfectionism can be a factor in those suffering from depression, eating disorders, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

“Seeing the significant, positive impact that TM practice had on this variable was also quite impressive,” Dr. Burns concluded. “What made the findings even more impressive was that our post-testing took place at the end of a semester around the time of the students’ final exams when one would expect stress levels to be heightened. Further research is needed, but we are clearly enthusiastic about the potential of this tool for student health and well-being.”Click here to visit the original source of this post

In another study showing the benefit of meditation for college students is one conducted by American University, and published in the “American Journal of Hypertension,” showed that students that practiced meditation improved their mental health and lowered their blood pressure.

 

Stress is an inevitable in our culture, and as a student they best way to handle it is to prepare your mind and body to handle it. Of course the right diet and exercise are important and key to reducing the effects of stress, but with so many mental stressors in our lives that to maintain balance meditation has become crucial, for all of us but especially for students.

 

To preview this study you can check out the “Journal of College Student psychotherapy at:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87568225.2011.556947

 

Self-acceptance and Meditation

 

Self-acceptance and Meditation

Self-acceptance and Meditation

Self-acceptance means freedom from self-criticism. Self-criticism is that little voice in your head that seems to be consistently engaging you in negative and repetitive patterns of thought and feelings. The question is, how do you let go of these negative patterns that are the main causes stress? The practice and it is a practice, of letting go, starts with acceptance of what is. This is where self-acceptance and meditation meet.

Meditation teaches you how to cultivate certain qualities, such as non-judgment which is the flip-side of acceptance. You may not like what you see when you first begin to suspend judgment, but if you want to learn to accept things as they are you need to experience them and understand them clearly, without denial. As your observations become clearer in meditation you begin to create more space inside yourself and in that space you can begin the process of getting go.

The letting go process begins by recognizing that you do not have unlimited control of your life. Meditation offers you the opportunity to drop your struggles by allowing the present moment to be as it is and opens you to the experience of pure being. Understanding this process may be easier to grasp with an example, and Ed and Deb Shapiro have story of acceptance that suits…

“We were just with Deb’s mother, Anne, in England. On the third day we were invited for tea at the House of Lord’s (more on that below) and were preparing to catch a train to London. In a bit of a rush we were quickly downing breakfast when the toast got burnt. We watched in amusement as Anne took a deep breath and simply said, “Oh dear, burnt toast,” calmly tossed it in the trash and put a fresh slice of bread in the toaster.

Few of us usually have such a reaction to burnt toast, especially when we are in a hurry. But Deb’s mom displayed the same attitude of calm acceptance later that day when we were having tea in London. Now, being invited to the House of Lords does not happen every day, but we were there to discuss a meditation project with one of the younger Lords. It is a stunningly beautiful old building, seeped in history and tradition and was a real treat for Ed, who grew up in the Bronx. We sat in the chambers and listened to the debate; we walked through the Queen’s robbing room where her throne sits; and then we went for tea.

Tea in the regal Tea Rooms sounds quintessentially English and we fully expected it to be of good English quality. The room was spectacular, the service was everything we could have wanted, but the cakes were not—they were boring, dry, commercial and cheap—not good Brit fare at all. All we could do was swallow distastefully and continue our conversation.

Accepting and simply being with what is, is a quality that Deb’s mother has perfected. It showed itself as she delicately ate her most unappetizing chocolate éclair. It is a quality that we can continue to learn in every moment that does not go our way. But, instead, we usually spend most of our time wishing that things were different – whether it is the big things like our partner or job, or the smaller things like the weather, burnt toast, or chocolate éclairs.

When we resist what is then we create more suffering for ourselves, as there is a constant, underlying dissatisfaction, otherwise known as the “If Only…” syndrome: if only this, that or the other happened, then I could be happy. If only so-and-so would change his or her behavior / lose weight / find a job, then I could be happy. If only I had more money / a bigger house / went traveling / had a good lover, then I could be happy. We were teaching a workshop and a participant, Mary, said she could only be happy when her children were happy. The list is endless. You can fill in the blank spaces for yourself.

Accepting what is, as it is, does not mean that we are like doormats and get passively walked over by all and sundry. Rather, it means recognizing that what happened even just a second ago can never be changed, it is letting the past be where it is so it does not take over the future. We make friends with ourselves and our world. At the same time we can also make changes wherever necessary, working toward a saner and more caring present. We can either make a song and dance about burnt toast and get even more stressed, or we can take a deep breath and put a fresh slice of bread in the toaster.” Click here to visit the original source of this post

There are three afflictions that meditation seeks to relieve, which are attachment, aversion and indifference. The antidotes, to these three afflictions, meditation provides are acceptance and letting go.

Try this little meditation exercise as a way to receive the benefits of practicing letting go and of acceptance.

1. Sit comfortably and begin following your breath. Place your attention on the natural in flow and out flow of your breath, without trying to control it.

2. As you begin to feel relaxed move your awareness to your thoughts and feelings. Allow whatever arises to come into your experience without judgment.

3. Notice that when thoughts that arise that are uncomfortable or are unpleasant, your tendency to avoid or judge them and then accept your judgment of those thoughts. Continue for a few minutes with this process of acceptance.

4. Now bring your awareness to your desire to follow different trains of thought that seem important or pleasant, and no matter how compelling they are, begin letting go of them each time they come up. Continue the process of letting go for a few minutes.

5. When you have become comfortable with accepting and letting go, allow your perspective to shift and see this practice as one continual process of accepting and letting go. When a thought arises, pleasant or unpleasant, acknowledge it and then release it, accept it and let it go.

You can learn more in ED and Deb Shapiro’s book, Be The Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman.

A Benefit of Meditation is Survival in the 21st Century

 

The Benefits of Meditation in a Fast Paced World

The Benefits of Meditation in a Fast Paced World

Of the many benefits of meditation, you would think that survival in today’s world might be at or near the top of the list. And how, you may ask, can meditation help me survive in the 21st century? Because meditation is an antidote to stress, the kind of stress that comes as the result of isolation, loneliness, alienation and creates related illnesses and depression.

Meditation provides a way of transforming stress and anxiety into balance and ease. During meditation the body shifts into a state of restful awareness, which is a counterbalance to all the negative effects on the body-mind cause by chronic stress.

But in order to enjoy the benefits of meditation you will first need to carve out a few minutes a day, and it’s right at this point that you may discover your first “resistance” to meditation, in the form of thoughts, all of which are giving you good reasons not to meditate or why you just don’t have time to do it.

The real difference in getting past the resistance come in how you approach meditation to begin with. If you approach meditation as an obligation, something you need or should do, the chances are, you will meet with a great deal of push back, if on the other hand, your approach is one of curiosity and joy, you will get to taste the richness of the meditative experience and enjoy the commiserate benefits,

In the post I’m sharing with you here, the author informs us about “the benefits of meditation in a fast paced world” from his perspective. So here it is…

“In today’s world, very few of us have the time to stop and properly rest and relax. Most of us spend our time going from one activity to the other as if we’re nothing more than a busy bee in a giant hive. The problem with this lifestyle is that we’re all slowly wearing ourselves down to nothing. Our bodies need the rest that we deny them so often in order to properly recharge and heal. There are, however, quick forms of rest that can help to rejuvenate us and give us some much needed energy. One form of this is meditation.

Many people view meditation as only a spiritual and religious activity. While it is used by many religious and spiritual people, anybody else can gain the benefits of meditating. Meditation itself is only the act of using controlled breathing techniques to relax the body and clear the mind. Anything that would make meditation spiritual or religious is the individual, not the practice. In order to properly meditate, you need to be breathing properly. If you chest rises when you breath in, then you are breathing shallowly and improperly. If your abdomen rises when you are breathing, then you are filling your lungs completely and breathing properly.

Take a deep breath, inhale slowly and fill your lungs to capacity. When you lungs are full, hold the breath for a second, then exhale slowly. During meditation, you are focused on your breathing. Keep breathing like this until you feel relaxed. In order to focus yourself more on your breathing; inhale, hold, and exhale to a count. For example: Inhale for a count of 5, hold for a count of 2, exhale for a count of 5, hold for another count of 2 and repeat. If a count of 5 is not long enough to fill your lungs, make the count longer (but don’t hold the breath for longer than a count of 4). Keeping a count during deep breathing helps to focus you more on just that activity while clearing everything else out of your mind.

While you can use the breathing exercise at just about anytime in any place, it’s better to have a quiet place to relax in order to reap the full benefits of meditation. Any place that offers you at least a few minutes of privacy is ideal. Whether it be at home, in your car, in the break room at work or even in the bathroom, a few private minutes during the aforementioned breathing exercise will help you to relax. Sit, stand or lay in a comfortable position and initiate the breathing exercise. Relax with every inhale and let tension leave your body with every exhale. Even if you only have the time to do this for a minute, you should feel more relaxed and ready to face the challenge(s) that lie ahead of you.

One of the major upsides to meditation is that you can take as little or as much time as you want with it. Obviously the longer you meditate, the better you’ll feel, but you can still relax yourself even if you only have a minute or two. Another upside is that meditation can help you take your mind off of stress, or even pain (like getting a shot, piercing, tattoo, etc.) or can just help you to bring your mind to focus on a task that you deem to be important (like homework, housework, or a business project).

If you want to meditate to focus, just bring the task to the front of your mind after you use the breathing exercise to clear everything else out. Keep breathing and think about the task at hand. Tell yourself that you want to get the task done in a specific time frame, that you will keep your focus on the task and block out distractions until it is done. Keep this up until you feel ready, then get started with your task. This may be hard at first, but the longer you do it, the shorter the time it takes to keep your focus until you don’t even have to meditate to focus on a task.

Remember that you can meditate just about anywhere at any time and you can use the breathing exercises to simply relax yourself when you need to.”

Meditation is surrounded by paradox and developing a practice is one of them. Because, first of all, the ‘act’ of meditating is not an ‘act,’ it’s a state of being, and secondly, we tend to think of freedom as escape from routine and discipline, and yet, in meditation, it’s the creation of a regular practice that liberates us by creating space within as we discover our true nature.

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Reducing the Risk of Heart Attack a Transcendental Meditation Benefit

 

Transcendental Meditation Benefits and the Beatles

Transcendental Meditation Benefits and the Beatles

The Transcendental meditation benefit is that the body shifts into a state of restful awareness, which is important because it counterbalances the fight-or-flight response.

We know from our own experience that if we are awake then our minds are rarely at rest, in fact very often it’s in the fight-or-flight mode. Fight-or-flight is the body-minds natural stress response that occurs when we feel threatened in any way, which can be as simple as not getting what we want.

The stress response creates physiological damage when it is chronic. This occurs because some of these changes, that accompany the response, are a rise in blood pressure, increase in heart rate, breathing becomes shallower and faster, the release of stress hormones, a lower immune response and it goes on.

The research on the benefit of meditation on the stress response have been ongoing for many years and the more we learn about this relationship the more we discover how powerful a tool meditation is in reducing heart attack and stroke. In this article in the “Daily Mail Reporter,” introduces us to, “…the strongest documented effects yet produced by mind-body intervention on cardiovascular disease.” Here’s some of what was reported…

Transcendental Meditation, made popular by the Beatles during the flower power era of the 1960s, could cut heart attack rates by half, researchers claim.

The mantra meditation, which involves repeating a sound repeatedly twice daily for up to 20 minutes, lowers death rates from heart attack and strokes.

The relaxation technique was used by patients with heart disease during a nine year £2.25million trial at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Professor of Medicine Theodore Kotchen said: ‘These findings are the strongest documented effects yet produced by a mind-body intervention on cardiovascular disease.

‘The effect is as large or larger than major categories of drug treatment for cardiovascular disease.

‘However, subjects were already taking standard medications and this effect was on top of that.’

It followed 201 African-American men and women with an average age of 59 who suffered from the narrowing of arteries in their hearts.

They were selected to do the Transcendental Meditation technique or to participate in a control group which received health education classes in traditional risk factors, including dietary modification and exercise.

Professor Kotchen said: ‘In African American men and women with heart disease, Transcendental Meditation, a technique for stress reduction, decreased the likelihood of mortality, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and non-fatal stroke by 47 per cent.

‘At the same time, study participants remained on their usual medications for cardiovascular disease risk factors, including anti-hypertensive agents and lipid-lowering medications.

‘Consequently, meditation should be considered an adjunct, not a substitute, for usual medical care. Although provocative, these observations should be confirmed in other patient populations.’

The researchers did further analysis of two subgroups, those participants who had high compliance with the meditation program, and a high stress group, and found even greater reductions in death, infarction and stroke in those groups.

The high compliance subgroup showed a 66 per cent reduction, while the high stress subgroup showed a 64 per cent reduction.

Co-author Dr Robert Schneider claimed the results are the strongest documented effects yet produced by a mind-body intervention on cardiovascular disease.

The findings were published in the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

At a press conference two years ago before a concert to promote Transcendental Meditation, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney recalled their 1968 trip to India to learn meditation from the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

‘Over 40 years ago, we ended up in Rishikesh,’ Starr said. ‘That is where we hung out with Maharishi. We had met him a few months before in Wales. Since then, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little, I have meditated. It’s a gift he gave me.’

McCartney added: ‘It’s one of the few things anyone has ever given to me that means so much to me. For us, it came at a time when we were looking for something to stabilize us at the end of the crazy Sixties.’

The Transcendental meditation benefit is that the physiological changes are almost the exact opposite of the flight-or-fight response. The fascinating thing about the physiological changes is that even as the body is resting in meditation the mind is awake.

Studies show that the changes that take place in the brain are different during meditation that those that take place during sleep. In transcendental meditation and in “Primordial Sound Meditation,” there’s improved brain wave coherence.

One last thing to keep in mind, studies have shown that the longer a person has been meditating the younger they score on tests of biological age. Click here to visit the original source of this post

Entering the Ground State of Creation: A Meditation Benefit

Entering the Ground State of Creation: A Meditation Benefit

Entering the Ground State of Creation

As human beings dealing with everyday situations, relationships and events, we have grown accustom to living life within limitations and reacting to life based our socialized conditioning. There’s a meditation benefit that’s not discussed as often, as say, stress reduction, and yet this deeper benefit opens powerful new possibilities.

In meditation we slip into the space between thoughts, the field of non-local awareness and pure silence where we gain access to energy, creativity and new possibilities for personal growth and wellbeing.

While our physical experience in space-time, meaning they have a beginning and an end, and our thoughts, while they don’t exist in space, do exist in time. In meditation we step beyond space-time into the infinite, outside of space-time, and discover the real us, the one who is experiencing the space-time events.

Andrew Cohen, founder and Editor of “EnlightenNext” magazine, always expresses this experience so beautifully. So here’s Andrew Cohen from his, “Aol Healthy Living” blog post…

“When you go deeply into the meditative state, your awareness detaches itself from the thought-stream. Then your identification with emotion, memory, time and body begins to fall away. You become aware of something very mysterious. Imagine that you had been fast asleep in a small dark chamber and then you suddenly awakened to find yourself floating in the infinite depth of a vast, peaceful ocean. You literally become aware of a new dimension, when moments before you had experienced yourself as being trapped, a prisoner of your body, mind and emotions. When you awaken to this new dimension, all sense of confinement disappears. You feel that you have access to the whole universe and also to that which the universe exists within. You’re aware of body, mind, time, and space, but there’s another dimension that extends in all directions, unlimited by any of it. Meditation is the portal to this dimension, a door to the realization of limitlessness.

Why is this experience significant? Because the infinite context you awaken to is not just a quiet place inside your own head. It’s a deeper dimension of reality itself. Life, death and everything in between, reality as a whole — the seen and the unseen, the known and the unknown, all that ever was and ever could be — is made up of both the manifest and the unmanifest. But most of the time, all we are aware of is the manifest dimension, the domain of time and space and becoming. Meditation will give you the direct, conscious experience of the unmanifest dimension, which is the ground of being itself.

The “ground of being” is empty. It is an objectless, timeless, spaceless, thoughtless void. But everything that exists has come from this no-place, including you and me. Paradoxically, while empty, this no-place is pregnant with infinite, unborn potential. It is the ground we all emerge from, the womb of the entire universe. When something came from nothing, 14 billion years ago, the nothing didn’t disappear. That unmanifest, unborn dimension is the ever-present ground out of which everything is arising in every moment. And meditation allows you to know this ground within your own experience. Even in the awareness of the body and the movement of thought, beneath it all, in the state of meditation, you become conscious of a current of stillness that is the echo and the reflection of the ground of being. There is a great mystery there. In the infinite depth of that emptiness, there arises a knowing, a pure knowing itself that seems to answer all our questions and relieve us of all our existential doubts.

Whenever we journey far enough beyond the conditioned mind — beyond thought, beyond form, beyond time — we will always discover this same mystery. That is why we meditate, so we can awaken to the instantaneously liberating nature of the ground of being. The more profound is our experience of the ground of being, the more we begin to emanate that mysterious knowing which is enlightened consciousness itself.”

Through the meditation benefit of quieting the mind of all your inner turbulence, you begin to reflect your deeper connection to peace, joy and wellbeing in your actions, thoughts, words and deeds, into your everyday world, transcending your unconscious socialized conditioning, allowing your desires and intentions for happiness, health, peace and love to be fulfilled.Click here to visit the original source of this post

SAD Meditation Benefits

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, which is when a person has an unreasonable or excessive fear of social situations and symptom relief, according to researchers at Stanford University, may be a meditation benefit. ᅠᅠ

For those suffering with SAD’s intense nervousness or anxiety can potentially lead to panic attacks. Additionally, there is anticipatory anxiety, which is a fear of a social situation before it happens. Meditation is being shown to have beneficial effects in helping with anticipatory anxiety as well.

But let me have Arlin Cuncic tell you in her own words about the benefits of meditation and SAD’S…

Meditation is a practice that dates back thousands of years and draws on Buddhist principles. During meditation you learn to focus your breathing, reduce negative thinking and live in the present. The practice of meditation has been shown to have a positive impact on many medical and mental health conditions, including social anxiety disorder (SAD).

How does meditation help? In a study at Manchester University, Chris Brown and colleagues found that people who practiced meditation had less negative reactions to pain. As part of the study, participants were administered pin pricks on their arms with a laser; brain scans showed that areas involved in anticipation were much less active in those who meditated.

Anticipatory anxiety plays a large role in SAD; worry about upcoming social or performance situations can cause significant impairment in daily functioning. If meditation helps to reduce anticipation of pain, it follows that it would also help to reduce anticipation of feared events.

Indeed, when researchers at Stanford University looked at brain scans of participants with SAD during meditation, they found changes in brain activity that suggested the potential for a reduction in social anxiety symptoms and reactions to negative self-beliefs.

Finally, meditation is believed to have some direct impact on the body’s nervous system. Breathing, heart rate, and other physiological mechanisms respond to this form of relaxation. Given the role of the fight-or-flight response in SAD, it is easy to see how meditation may also have a direct posit

Social anxiety disorder is, according to research, the most common anxiety disorder and the third most common mental disorder in the U.S. and it’s estimated that 19.2 million Americans suffer from it. Is it any wonder, given the meditation benefits regarding the fight-flight response, which researchers are seriously looking at meditation for relief in dealing with SAD’s. ᅠClick here to visit the original source of this post

Helping Women Cope with Hot Flashes a Meditation Benefit?

Mindfulness meditation provides a plethora of benefits many of which can reduce the reaction, if not the intensity, of menopausal symptoms. Here are some of the ways in which meditation could benefit those who are distressed by hot flashes.

Helping Women Cope with Hot Flashes a Meditation Benefit

Helping Women Cope with Hot Flashes a Meditation Benefit

 

Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation does change the brain, and the more regular the practice the greater the changes in the brain. And those practicing loving kindness meditations report feeling greater love for themselves, reducing stress and anxiety. ᅠ

Numerous studies show that relationships tend to improve as people begin to practice mindfulness meditation. The benefit here is that you become more understanding, less reactive and judgmental and experience higher levels of compassion and empathy. Again this reduces stress and increases a tolerant attitude, not only of others but towards yourself.

Here’s some highlighted information from a blog on just this topic.

“The University of Massachusetts research showed that mindfulness training, based on a Buddhist meditation concept, reduced the distress associated with hot flashes and improved physical, psychosocial and sexual functioning.

“The findings are important because hormone replacement therapy, used to treat menopause symptoms in the past, has been associated with health risks,” said study author James Carmody, an associate professor of medicine in the division of preventive and behavioral medicine.

Mindfulness therapy helps focus on the present. Practitioners avoid making judgments and simply accept whatever is passing through their mind while focusing on each breath. The technique is not difficult to learn, but requires some discipline in the beginning, experts noted.

The researchers aimed to influence women’s reaction to their symptoms, “including psychological distress, social embarrassment and anxiety.”

“We wanted to see if we could affect women’s resilience in response to these symptoms,” Carmody explained. “We were not trying to affect the symptoms themselves, although there was some effect on those as well.”

About 40 percent of menopausal women suffer from hot flashes and night sweats, which undermine their quality of life, the researchers noted. But since hormone replacement therapy has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer and stroke, Carmody observed that “not only are women looking for alternative treatments, it is an NIH (National Institutes of Health) priority to find behavioral treatments.”

No other treatment has been found to substitute for hormone therapy, according to the study, but mindfulness training appears to allow women to be “less reactive” to menopausal symptoms.

ᅠAnother expert praised the study for using the “mind-body connection” to help women with serious menopause symptoms with “no side effects.”

“We’ve known about the mind-body connection,” said Dr. Jill M. Rabin. “We’re just beginning to unlock the power of the mind to have an impact on our physiological selves.”

The study authors were “self-critical regarding the limitations of the study,” said Rabin, chief of the division of ambulatory care and head of urogynecology at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Among other things, the study lacked an active control group program, they wrote.

Noting that the women were mostly white and had a high level of education, Rabin said more study was needed to see if the results apply to the general population.

It’s not that the results don’t apply, or will be different for a different population,” she said. “We just don’t know.” ᅠᅠ

Mindfulness meditation can actually reduce chronic pain. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) studies have shown the benefits of meditation for those dealing with chronic pain. These benefits may be partially due to the way that mindfulness meditation trains you to accept, and not resist, challenging bodily sensations, which of course, holds true for the chronic symptoms of menopause.

There are a number of other meditation benefits that can have a positive effect on menopausal symptoms, like helping to regulate eating habits, reducing anxiety and stress and generally increasing your set point for happiness.

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Could a Meditation Benefit be helping Vets Suffering with PTSD?

In this study, conducted by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, and will appear in the June 1st issue of “Military Medicine,” a great deal of promise in treating the symptoms of PTSD using Transcendental Meditation.

Meditation is known to lower blood pressure, reduce the heart rate in other words reduce the stress response. It’s the ‘fight-or-flight’ response that is hyper-active in those suffering with PTSD.ᅠ

If even a small percentage of people with PTSD were to obtain the kind of benefits Joe reports, then teaching our wounded warriors to meditate promises an abundant return on our investment. Norman E. Rosenthal, MD is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at

Being able to even provide treatment programs for all those suffering from PTSD, based on the standard of treatment, has been sorely lacking, because the facilities that can provide aversive deconditioning are limited.

If, as the preliminary studies suggest, meditation can help control or alleviate the symptoms of PTSD, then a very accessible and inexpensive treatment will be available to all those who suffer from the syndrome, including earthquake, tornado or any other victims of devastating natural disasters.

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Can Depression Be Treated with Meditation?

There’s a big caveat when talking about depression and meditation. Yes, I believe that meditation can be a powerful and useful tool that can be successfully used to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. However, in cases of clinical depression, meditation should be used as a complementary tool and under professional supervision.

Basically there are two approaches to treatment, psychiatric and psychological; in the psychiatry the focus is primarily on medication to treat chemical imbalances, while in psychology the modality preferred now is cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s in psychotherapy that meditation is most often used as a tool during treatment.

The way I work with my clients is with imagery and meditation or simple breathing exercises. In eastern parts of the world, the symptoms of depression are more physical than psychological. A person may not be able to express themselves verbally because

For those who are not suffering from clinical depression, but who are suffering from the kind of depression that life inevitably presents us with, meditation can help us by creating the space to hold and express our emotions.

The benefit of meditation is, by becoming aware we can let go of, and stop recycling, the negative emotions at are associated with mild depression.

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