With a better understanding developing around the many life enhancing benefits of meditation, science and research has been able to play an important role in uncovering some of the mysteries of the mind and body.
Aside from being an effective way to find peace and inner stability, there are many more facts about meditation that may come as a surprise. Who would have thought that meditation actually cultivates strong will power and boosts the immune system?
To dive a little deeper and take a closer look at some of these fascinating benefits, here are some fun and interesting mediation facts.
What Is Meditation?
The practice of meditation can take form in many ways, such as visualization, mindfulness, contemplation or silent observation. But the root essence of meditation remains the same regardless of the approach or technique. This can only be described as a state of conscious awareness.
The goal here is not to eliminate thoughts, but to become aware and eventually transcend the mind as you slip into an altered state of conscioiusness. You become much more in tuned with the sensations of the moment. It is from this state that you can assume the position of the observer. Imagine the observer as the one who is doing the mediation, not the one occupied with the activities of a busy mind.
With practice, you can experience a thoughtless state of mind where a deep inner peace, vibrant energy flow, and an extreme level of calmness can be experienced while you are completely awake and alert.
Meditation is a channel through which you are able to communicate with your inner self on a much more intimate level.
Origins and History
Meditation can be traced back to an ancient period where it is thought to have been practiced by a group of hunters and gatherers. Scriptures called “tantras” from The Vedas tribes of ancient India, dating back 5000 years, describe different meditation techniques.
Researchers believe that this community of hunters and gatherers are among the first to discover meditation as a gateway to altered states of consciousness. According to research, these people came to discover meditation while staring at the flames of burning fire.
Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.
Buddhism is largely credited in the expansion of mediation. Buddha (The Awakened One), was an ancient sage viewed as a mediation icon all over the world. Buddha teachings, which largely incorporate meditation practices, became very popular in Asia and were later adopted by other cultures and countries.
- Thousands of years had elapsed before mediation spread into the Western world. Cases of meditation practice in the west were recorded as late as mid-20th Century. Once researchers and philosophers of the time began taking a closer look at meditation from a scientific perspective – revealing many life enhancing benefits – its popularity spread like wildfire.
Physical benefits of meditation
Meditation has scientifically been proven to have numerous physical benefits on the human body. The body is extremely capable of recovering from tension and is always in the process of trying to repair back into a perfectly healthy organism.
But through stress, negative thinking, and even minimal amounts of anxiety, we are blocking these processes from effectively taking place. By calming the mind and creating balance within the body, meditation provides the perfect environment for our bodies natural relaxation response to be accessed.
This is the reason some physicians may recommend meditation as a reprieve for common ailments and the promotion of natural healing. Mind-Body medicine pioneer Deepak Chopra estimates that people who Meditate for many years often have a biological age that is between 5 and 10 years lower than their chronological age. These benefits include:
- Increased production of serotonin. A low serotonin level in the body has been known to be the cause of depression and insomnia in many people.
- Increased blood flow hence slowing of the heart. This reduces exposure to heart-related complications.
- Lower blood pressures for individuals suffering from High Blood pressure.
- Increased tolerance to exercise.
- Helps in combating chronic diseases such as arthritis and even allergies.
- Slows down the rate of oxygen consumption hence reduces the effects of oxidation on the blood vessels.
- Enhanced immune system by promoting powerful and healthy energy flow.
Psychological Benefits of Meditation
Besides physical benefits, meditation also comes with a quite a number of psychological benefits. In fact, meditation has always been thought to be an exercise of the mind so it is only logical that it benefits our mental capacities.
The current revelation in brain science is the understanding of ‘neuroplasticity’. This means that the brain can change structure and function through exposure to challenge and brain training.
What is very fascinating is the finding that meditation can accomplish positive changes to the brain, and does so in ways that are tremendously beneficial for health and well being. These benefits include:
- Improved self-esteem and confidence.
- Improved focus and concentration of an individual, by strengthening the prefrontal cortex.
- Decreased symptoms of depression.
- Enhanced levels of creativity.
- Decreased anxiety, fear, and phobia.
- Improved memory retention and learning curve rate.
- Helps in developing emotional maturity.
- Assists in developing intuition.
Meditation and Hypnosis
The two practices are closely related. In fact, hypnosis is believed to be a product of meditation. They both involve the transcendance of thought in order to communicate internally with a more intuitive side of our psyche. This state of mind is where we are most open to suggestion, which is why meditation is the ideal place for us to practice affirmation or plant our intentions.
Hypnotherapy largely involves retraining the unconscious mind through impacting suggestions that help in changing the mindset. In a way, this is a kind of meditation. As such, meditation can be viewed as being scientific since hypnotherapy is viewed as scientific approach and is practiced by specialists in order to treat some conditions such as addiction.
Never Stop Exploring!
There are many other fascinating meditation facts that we cannot fully detail in one sitting. We will never fully comprehend how many ways meditation can benefit our physical and mental health as well as how we experience life.
This is a never ending pursuit and exploration of mediation techniques, philosophies, and practice. Meditation has a lot to offer and if you have not yet began to incorporate this ritual into your lifestyle, it is never too late to start.
Dr Juan Acost-Urquidi, PhD, QEEGT reports back to the iAwake team about his QEEG findings. He tested 4 subjects who listen to Profound Meditation 3.0 Tier 2, Track 2:
PROFOUND MEDITATION PROGRAM 3.0
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You don't need to be a Himalayan monk to experience the profound benefits of meditation. Simply put on your headphones, press play, sit quietly, breathe, and listen.