What the ancient spiritual teachers and sages knew all along is being confirmed by modern research. Meditation and mindfulness training has a major positive impact on brain health in helping to lower stress hormones and reducing fear and anxiety.
Tragic events in the external world are magnified by mass media which in turn amplifies a general atmosphere of fear and anxiety. We can easily have the feeling that we are losing control. Whole societies and nations can fall into fear and flight mode.
In contrast, a calm mind remains focused, putting events into realistic perspective. It is solution orientated rather than being tugged into all directions by the emotions of fear, hate, and anxiety.
Harvard researcher Gaelle Desbordes has performed functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on persons before and after an eight-week course in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.
Desbordes’ interest in the topic stems from her personal experience when she began meditating in seeking respite from stress. Her experience convinced her that something real was happening and prompted her to study the subject more closely, in the hope of shedding enough light to underpin therapy that might help others.
Other researchers, including Sara Lazar, in 2012 used MRI to show that the brains of subjects thickened after an eight-week meditation course.
Especially those meditation techniques incorporating breathing, prayer and the humming of mantras measurably reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
I interviewed for my Podcast Kara Goodwin, who has made the transition from the stressful corporate IT world, into becoming a meditation teacher. She says that we cannot hope to find solutions to the problems in the external world if we don’t do the work within at the same time.
You can check out her work and courses at http://www.karagoodwin.com
Buddhist teacher Thich Nath Hanh said: “Meditation is not evasion. It is serene encounter with reality.”
And, according to Amit Ray: “Suffering is due to our disconnection with the inner soul. Meditation is establishing that connection.”
Every person obviously has different needs and expectations from practicing meditation. Mostly people starting off with the practice give-up in frustration because their expectations are too high.
We can do the traditional sitting meditation, slow movement meditation in yoga and qi gong or deep walking in nature. However, the big changes don’t come overnight, It’s the small little steps practiced as a daily habit that have the compound effect that brings the change long-term.
Jim Rohn once said: “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”
Check out also the following Podcasts on the power of meditation:
Kara Goodwin: Healing the inner and outer world
Cassandra Bodzak: Designing your life with meditation
Breathing into health and wellbeing
Power meditating into your day with this guided meditation
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker
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