Expand your mind with meditation
Meditation is perhaps the easiest way to expand your mind, other than using drugs.
I played around with LSD and marijuana on my college weekends and it always gave me a good high. But I reached a point where I didn’t want to rely on something artificial to make me feel good. I wanted to feel good on my own. So I discovered meditation.
My meditation path was frought with ups and downs, which I’ve discussed elsewhere. But now that I’ve settled into a meaningful practice that’s the right one for me, it works like a charm.
Here are the ways it can benefit your mind, body and spirit.
Meditation has been proven to:
- Reduce mental tension and improve outlook
- Help lower blood pressure
- Strengthen the heart
- Decrease heart and respiratory rates
- Increase blood flow
- Help you sleep better
- Reduce the intensity and length of allergy and asthma attacks
- Manage chronic pain
- Boost brain power
- Slow down age-related brain atrophy
- Increase learning ability
New research from England helps confirm that meditation can also reduce our perception of pain. Since a great part of pain is our anticipation or perception of it, this is a huge benefit.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers found that a little over ½ hour of meditation training can dramatically reduce both the experience of pain and pain-related brain activation. While morphine and pain-killers can typically reduce pain ratings by 25%, the Wake Forest study found a 40% reduction in pain with meditation!
Meditation boosts our brain power
In recent studies, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that people who meditate regularly have stronger neural connections between brain regions and less age-related atrophy in all areas of the brain.
Eileen Luders, one of the UCLA researchers, states that regular meditation, over years, “may slow down aging-related brain atrophy, perhaps by positively affecting the immune system. Meditation appears to be a powerful mental exercise with the potential to change the physical structure of the brain.”
We are all related
Yes, this is becoming a recurring theme in my posts, but its really the key to understanding life and living it well.
In Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief, physicians Andrew Newberg and Eugene D’Aquili reported their research on the brains of Buddhist monks and Franciscan nuns during deep meditation or prayer.
They discovered that the portion of the brain that orients us in the physical world, helping us separate “them” from “us” essentially shuts down during deep meditation, creating a feeling of oneness and connectedness with the world around them.
Pretty good route towards world peace.
Increasing learning ability
We’re also more effective learners when we relax. I know it seems counterintuitive, but taking more breaks can make you more productive. A relaxed mind is a creative mind. I get some of my best ideas during meditation; I’m not looking for them. They just come because there’s room for them.
A high-priced attorney I used to work with was told by his biggest client that he’d pay him his hourly rate to take walks on the beach and think about the case. That was a smart client. [And we won that case big-time].
If you don’t already have a meditation practice, or have struggled with it in the past, check out my online course: Meditations on the Natural World. It takes a unique approach to meditation, presenting a variety of meditation techniques that are surprising & fulfilling. Some of the techniques come from indigenous traditions & the natural world.
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com