“If we can make just 1% of the population meditative, this World will be a different place.” – Sadhguru
Throughout the centuries, the great sages and yogis of India,would practice and perfect the art of meditation for the sole reason of reaching enlightenment, Self-realization, Union with Creation/Life/God/Consciousness, (whatever label resonates more with you) as a spiritual aspiration. For me, this was the reason why i began meditating. I had heard about the term consciousness and its role in life and that there are practices that i could take up that increased this conscious connection..
I started taking local yoga classes i also began meditating, at first to guided videos online and later with group workshops. It was clear to me, from taking on a lot of conscious information, that there were considerable benefits to cultivating these practices..
As i followed my heart and continued a deepening of my meditation practice, i studied this art, completing a 500+meditation and yoga teacher training to accompany the extensive retreats and dark room experience i had gained. Through this practice i feel a blossoming of wisdom and contentment has entered into my life and one i am thrilled and honored to share with you.
Today i would like to talk about, specifically, the benefits of meditation. I will highlight scientifically proven research, that suggests a vast plethora of physical, psychological and spiritual benefits that can transform our personal, social, and business lives.
For clarity id like to give a brief description of what meditation is. For me, it is commonly known as a sitting practice of mindfulness, which is partly correct; however mindfulness is watching the fluctuations of the mind and detaching from them.. a gateway practice into the deeper revelations that meditation brings. Meditation can be defined as a state of being, free of the mind where awareness becomes aware of itself, as consciousness or we can say meditation is a state of recurrent, conscious-recognition of the state of presence-awareness. This state of being is beyond the thinking mind. The identification with the personality falls away and perception shifts to experiences of unity with All That Is.
Now we may not all understand this or have the deep spiritual aspiration for the truth as i do, yet meditation does not have to be approached in this way. As i will show you, there are so many advantages for us to incorporate meditation into our daily lives, that improve the health of the body and the mind, improve relationships across the board and helps build a more balanced human being that can better serve the Self, family, community and planet as a whole, simply by taking a few minutes of conscious breathing.
In a nutshell, like Free Energy, i feel meditation has the potential to completely shift the course of humanity to one of peace, abundance and global innovation. There are few tools as powerful as stripping the need to survive from the concerns of modern man, the most basic elements for life to flourish, yet the true liberation of suffering can only truly come through the modality of meditation, Self-realization.
Going back in time for a moment, there was an explosion of expression and unity with the counterculture movement, it was during this time that meditation began to penetrate the Western World, thanks in no small part to the mastery of certain yogis like Yogananda and Ramana Maharshi who were so influential in the early 1900’s who seeded these ideas for the coming generations. The Beatles, who were in the height of their popularity during the 60s, had discovered the Oriental practice through Yogi Maharishi Mahesh.. You see, because they were so famous, everything they did caught the attention of the World’s media and all of their adoring fans, including the bands experiences with Transcendental Meditation (T.M). Once George, John Paul and Ringo began to practice this alternative art from India and share their experience, the World began to take more notice of meditation.. and because of this popularity, Transcendental meditation has now had over 200+ published scientific research studies made since the late 60’s, providing substantial results. These studies were showing this technique was reducing stress, boosting learning capabilities and creativity and improves brain function.
Wallace and Benson, who conducted extensive studies observed that the electroencephalogram (EEG) showed an increase in alpha wave activity, indicating greater tranquility of mind. They also observed a decrease in the heart beat and a 20% decrease in oxygen consumption. Several more recent studies have shown T.M. as a method has been clinically used to help alleviate hypertension, drug addiction, alcoholism and smoking, serum cholesterol, bronchial asthma and insomnia, with significant results. It has also been demonstrated that practicing T.M. for 20 minutes in the morning and evening reduces anxiety, decreases incidence of disease and causes the reversal of the aging process!
This is quite something, the evidence that meditation can reverse the aging process. I have on several occasions experienced the Ayurvedic practice of solitary, in a dark room meditating, which according to this indian holistic tradition is designed to reduce the aging process.. I believe it has something to do with light, or the lack of it, which causes the breaking down of the free radicals, the known catalyst for aging. Are we missing out on something here? Can meditation really be this potent?
There is also a large body of studies that have been made on many of the other major meditation traditions, including, Zen, Vipassana and Tibetan meditation. In Vipassana meditation, MIT, Harvard and Yale have all reported similar results that show how meditation can actually alter the structure of the brain.
Come again?? Meditation has been proven to alter the structure of the brain.. Wow.
Well, i don’t know about you, clearly i am already sold! Meditation sounds almost too good to be true.. Yet if you are still doubting it potential, let me present a staggering amount of benefits that i can share that will raise many people’s eyebrows, showing something very promising about the role and value of meditation in our lives. Here we go…
Physical Benefits of Meditation
*It lowers oxygen consumption
*It decreases respiratory rate
*It lowers pulse rate
*It increases blood flow
*It decreases muscle tension
*It increases serotonin production… Yay!
*It stimulates the production of white blood cells (enhances the immune system)
*It reduces the activity of viruses and bacteria
*It lowers blood pressure – An American Journal review study in 2008 of hypertension researched to see if meditation would lower the blood pressure of patients. They made and reviewed nine studies to see how blood pressure was affected by meditation. In all of the studies people with high blood pressure or high-normal blood pressure, who practiced meditation were able to lower their readings compared to people who didn’t meditate. The average drop was 4.7mm Hg systolic and 3.2 mm Hg diastolic pressure. Lowering blood pressure can lead to reducing likelihood of strokes and heart disease.
*It increases the levels of the sleep hormone melatonin.
*It diminishes stress hormones
It decreases cholesterol levels
*It balances left and right hemisphere brain activity. – neuroscientist Dr Shanida Nataraja’s PHD and postdoctoral research at the neuroscience department of St. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Baltimore, has proven meditation does more than clear the mind and lower stress – it can develop the brain so that both halves, the left and right hemispheres can be deployed instead of a general usage of one side depending on the task at hand.. This was shown to improve concentration, memory and decision-making (March 2008)
And this is only some of the information to hand on the physical benefits.
Psychological and Behavioral Effects of Meditation.
*Improved visual perception
*improved memory and recall – aiding Alzheimer sufferers
*improvements in learning ability and intelligence
*relief from addictions, neurosis, obesity, claustrophobia, headaches and other forms of disease.
Psychological Benefits of Meditation
*Increases control over thoughts
*Increases emotional stability
*Resolves anxiety, phobias and fears – An eight week study led by Dr. Toneatto at the Clinical Research Department at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, evaluated the effects of daily meditation among 17 undergraduates.
After pre and post-assessment of depression somatic stress and anxiety, results confirmed that the participants reported lower rates of anxiety, somatic stress and depression. (March 2008)
*It develops intuition
*Increases the ability to remove bad habits
*Increases communication ability
*Increases listening skills and empathy
*Develops emotional maturity
*develops tolerance*it gives composure to act in constructive ways
*It increases the ability to react to stressful situations quicker and more effectively
*Improves the capacity to focus and work efficiently
What incredible findings, science is finally backing what the sages of India have been saying for the last 2,000years.. The power and transformation of meditation. This practice seems to be abundant in positive effects. Can you see how clearly we can use meditation in our lives.. particularly in today’s society, a World driven by success, based on economic growth, people can easily find themselves stressed out, overworked, underappreciated, whilst trying to keep up with the demands of capitalist materialism. This system, which we are serving, has its workers on their metaphysical knees, working 40+hours a week, keeping up with the Jones’ in a pursuit of the belief that one day they find happiness, through this job or this relationship or that holiday. The vast majority of the Western society, particularly the over 40’s are still working to serve a system that ultimately doesn’t serve them or the best interests of the people of the World. I do not wish to go into detail on this yet i believe the implementation of meditation in businesses and schools, for example, will drastically transform our society. Creating balanced, connected and mature generations of young adults, skilled, vibrate, Healthy and creative workers who become the future bearers of the New Earth. I believe, not before too long, that we will look back on these times of the 19th-20th Centuries as a period of infancy for humanity and only through real change can we reverse the ignorance, immaturity and conditioning that has contaminated the Western World…
How do we implement meditation across all nations, cities, organizations, projects, schools and social care?
The answers may be found within the known spiritual benefits of practicing meditation, which once cultivated can transform our character becoming truly balanced human beings, that are fulfilled through the experience of life. Recognising that happiness, fearlessness, love and compassion are all qualities of a balanced spiritually mature human being.
We can recognize the positive effects meditation can have on us. Simply to consider positive choices over negative ones, is a good start and i believe meditation naturally cultivates this. Meditation can lead us from simply wanting to improve our health, relationships and creativity to unlocking the mysteries to the biggest questions like Who Am I? Where did i come from? Why am I here?
Whatever your reasoning, the entry point into meditation can only benefit whoever decides to make themselves and the World we leave for future generations, a priority in their lives. For meditation has the capacity to enrich and liberate those of who taste its magic.
For those who employ workers, consider again the sheer number of attributes that can benefit a workforce, that come with a regular meditation practice. Even for 5 minutes a day, it has been shown to help the body coherence, syncing the electrical flow being distributed to and from the heart, building better relationships personally and professionally and stimulating productivity.. Which business doesn’t want that from their company??
Who is your company… Your company is made up of the people that work there, right? Are they Healthy, vibrant beings or Unhealthy, stressed-out, walking timebombs? All business owners can care more for the well-being of their staff, this will dramatically increase the coherence of the team, with the ability to deal with situations with more composure and clarity.. Wow, sounds great doesn’t it?!
It seems so simple to me.. Does this incorporation of meditation need to be pushed that hard for society as a whole recognises its value? Of course yes, yet it baffles me that when this information is so clear and directly calling us to implement in our lives, that still it is not the case. Why is meditation not compulsory in schools and hospitals?
We have the research, we know the benefits.
Just imagine, for example, the reduction of money spent on health care, hospitals and nursing homes from us picking up this practice.. It is not quantifiable to be honest, some statistic may suggest “$5,000,000,000” can be saved from a reduction in health related issues yet the overall, physical, psychological and general positive benefits far out-weight the material financial gains. And has also the bonus of reducing costs. We are talking about a prevention of health related issues, increase in well-being, creativity and productivity for everyone who is open to this practice of awareness, for those that see the potential in meditation.
I can give another 20 case studies proving these benefits yet we are ultimately, only responsible for ourselves and whether we do something with this information. You are the only person that can implement these changes, it is you who can be the change that the World is calling to see and it is as simple as meditating.. Meditation can be a massive solution to the problems we face individually and collectively, through meditation we can prevent personal disease of the body, mental health and emotional immaturity and promote physical, psychological and holistic health.
For me, meditation changed my life, it gave me the confidence to follow my dreams, leaving the World i knew behind, uncovering new exciting parts of myself that i simply didn’t know was there.. I have found facing difficult situations has improved and the bounce-back ability which, can be said, is remaining positive and hopeful after difficult moments arise. Through meditation we can find the peace within us, that absorbs all challenges and concerns.
I would like to also offer understanding to those that simply do not resonate with this practice, i recognize the diversity of people and that what resonates with one person doesn’t mean it works for everyone.. So let’s find alternative ways to create moments, during our days, where we can shut off the thinking mind. Maybe for some people it is a day dreaming of the perfect holiday or maybe a Zen practice like fishing, sewing or reading a imaginative book. For others, it’s free-climbing or base-jumping, where the mind is lost through the immediacy of the present moment, hurling themselves off a 30 story tower building will do it.. I doubt you’ll have those pressing chores come to mind during those moments!. Whatever it is and whatever we resonate with, to recognize the value of mental serenity.. Peace of mind, as they say.
I leave these last words as a lasting impression.. If the people of the World, particularly those in the West can incorporate meditation into their lives, i have no doubt whatsoever of the immediate transformations that would take place.. Imagine every child was to learn meditation and practiced every day for 10-20 minutes.. A proven practice of Self discovery, Self empowerment form the earliest age.
Imagine if every prisoner was to taught meditation whilst incarcerated, the social effects of this approach, creating a environment that can support their well-being and Self-empowerment, in a World that normally puts them down, is a World i want to see, where, with compassion, we empower those that need support, that are looking for a World that loves them. Every single person will be affected by the transformation meditation has, on the people who invest in it. Imagine every business that provided time and space for their employees to meditate. We would see greater harmony between processes, co-workers and even “competition” (i highlight as, when this teachings are recognized, who is the competition, who are you competing against? hahaha). This is the World i choose to live in. A conscious society where spiritual maturity is recognised as a strength and equality is the law.. Out of a social embracing of meditation i believe this can happen and this is why i share this with you today.