How is Meditation Used Today?
People from all walks of life, in all the countries of the world belonging to all the possible religions, meditate for a wide variety of reasons. The same technique offers something different to each according to his needs and motives. Some of the motives for which people meditate today are:
1. To relax the body, mind and rejuvenate one’s flow of energy in order to more effectively face the responsibilities of one’s demanding and active life.
2. To heal illnesses (especially psychosomatic ones).
3. To overcome emotional problems.
4. To develop a more relaxed and positive view towards life.
5. To develop a peaceful and more clearly functioning mind.
6. For greater ability to penetrate into the core of problems and find inspirational solutions. This has been found especially useful by scientists and businessmen.
7. To tune into a creative inspirations for artistic expression.
8. For freeing oneself from addictions such as cigarettes, alcohol, narcotics and tranquilizers.
9. To purify one’s character.
10. To develop will-power.
11. As a method of self-observation and self-discovery.
12. To develop the latent powers of the mind.
13. To create a relationship with God.
14. To develop an inner relationship with the Divine.
15. For spiritual growth, self-knowledge or enlightenment.
16. To transcend the identification with the body and mind, and experience spiritual realities.
17. For the ecstasy of union with the Universal Spirit, which is the essential reality of the universe.
Scientific Research on the Effects of Meditation
on the Body and Personality
Numerous scientific experiments on people who meditate and similar control groups who do not meditate, have given repeatable results concerning the effects of meditation on a person’s body and personality.
Most of the following studies have been made on persons practicing Transcendental Meditation. (However, my personal opinion after 34 years of practicing various forms including T.M., is that most forms of meditation will give the same results)
1. DEEP PHYSIOLOGICAL REST is shown by a distinct drop in the metabolism rate, as measured by the oxygen consumption by an individual in meditation, waking activity, sleep and hypnosis.
2. Another indication of the deep rest is that the number of breaths needed to be taken each minute during meditation drops significantly.
3. Good news for those with heart problems is that meditation is also extremely restful and rejuvenating for the heart.
4. Another indication of the deep rest produced by meditation is the significant drop in the blood lactate level. The lower the lactate level the more rested and rejuvenated is the muscle tissue.
5. Tests show meditation’s deep calming effect through the decrease in skin conductivity.
6. Brain wave measurements during meditation show a higher incidence of alpha waves indicating a restful alertness. There is a sense of peace and yet a wakeful awareness in one’s environment.
7. Another scientific study showed that meditation induces greater communication and interaction between the two hemispheres of the brain.
8. Perhaps the best documented and well known effects of meditation concern its ability to reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure.
LONG TERM PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES
9. In the long run both the heart rate and breathing rate develop a slower pace as the body experiences less mental-emotional stress and learns to waste less energy. The body becomes more relaxed and more efficient.
10. Persons who meditate experience much more stable health. They have less illnesses in general in their lives.
LONG TERM PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGES
11. Studies have also shown that those who meditate regularly react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
12. Meditation also increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance.
13. Studies on high school students showed that those who meditated had a higher