Benefits of Meditation
Scientific research has shown that a consistent meditation practice provides both physiological and psychological benefits. Meditation can help safeguard the cardiovascular system, particularly with blood pressure and hypertension. Also, meditation can help in the treatment of cancer. Please note that meditation doesn’t cure heart disease or cancer; however, a comparison of two groups of patients getting the same traditional cancer treatment, the group whose members had a consistent meditation practice showed better results and greater improvement with their illness.
Meditation can also help alleviate pain by calming what psychologists call secondary pain (which I refer to as suffering). Imagine you’re walking while looking at your phone, and you bang your head against a wall. It hurts. That’s called primary pain—a physiological reaction. However, there is often a subsequent mental reaction: you get upset or angry at the situation—at the wall, or at yourself for not paying attention. You might stiffen up, hold your breath, or even curse.
The reaction to the injury is secondary pain or suffering. Pain is physical; suffering is mental. Research has shown that often secondary pain—the suffering—is worse than the original pain! Mind-induced suffering is actually greater. Isn’t that unbelievable? Meditation helps alleviate our secondary pain or suffering. Once you remove the suffering from the equation, you are left only with the original pain. Thus, your overall experience of pain becomes substantially reduced.
Meditation also has psychological benefits. It can help with concentration and the ability to focus. It also helps with memory, and in some cases, even improves intelligence and problem-solving. By lowering stress and anxiety, meditation can also alleviate some sleep problems and insomnia.
Another significant benefit of meditation is in the treatment of dependency and addiction. People who suffer from addictions have virtually no control over their urges. Their minds constantly pull them toward the source of the addiction. Whatever they are doing, they’re unconsciously looking forward to the next hit—whatever it may be—a cigarette, drink, even food. And then they’re acting on it, lighting up or drinking, as if they didn’t even know how it happened. This reaction is because their attention moves to the source of the addiction without any awareness of that taking place, as the behaviour follows automatically.
Meditation enables them to gain awareness. When their mind wanders to the addiction, there will be a moment when the addict says to themselves: “Aha, there I go again.” That realization—borne out of their newfound awareness—will allow them to choose whether to act on the impulse and engage in the addictive behaviour or say no, “I choose not to do this.” Without this awareness, the addictive behaviour will continue and even get worse with time.
It is important to note that these benefits come only with a regular and consistent meditation practice. A few sporadic sessions will not stop addictive behaviour.
My hope for these pages is to be a modern-day Academy, much like Plato’s Academy, in order to reduce stress and anxiety in our individual lives and perhaps even help mankind reverse course from its current ego-driven and lethal trajectory.
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