A mantra is a sacred sound or series of sounds, which may be the name of a spiritual being, it may be a special phrase, or simply, a special sound but one without a meaning. It’s the repetition of the mantra that calms the mind, and in the case of silent inner awareness or transcendental meditation, the mantra drifts off, which allows us to transcend the mind altogether. The benefits of mantra meditation come with practice and simultaneously create healing in the body, mind and spirit.
So here’s Deepak on the different schools of mantra meditation…but first the question.
A simple mantra meditation practice is to sit comfortably with your back straight and after taking a few deep (yogic) breaths begin repeating the mantra, either silently or if you are alone you can chant it aloud. Meditation is the simplest of practices and at the same time it as tremendous subtlety and depth that can create challenges for those who are new to the practice and the benefits that meditation has to offer. The basics of meditation are simple, sit in a comfortable position, straighten your back, breathe deeply, put your attention on your breath and follow it. However, meditation is like any art form, you can keep it simple or you can delve into the depths of the practice.
Before you put these guys in an ivory tower away from the muddle that us, non-academic-types trudge through everyday, you should know a little about Dr. The authors introduce mindfulness-based stillness meditation with four simple steps: preparation, relaxation, mindfulness, and stillness. Preparation is the easy part, the practical details of where you will meditate, your posture, deciding what specific kind of meditation you will try, and everything that relates to how you set yourself up to begin the meditation.
Relaxation is the street corner where the wheels on my meditation bus disassemble and roll down the road to a coffee shop. By the time I have made it to mindfulness, I have usually abandoned the discipline altogether, because my mind is so relaxed that it is thinking about chilling out at the pool with a glass of lemonade, not closing my eyes in an air-conditioned office sitting on a pillow. The challenges that Therese ran into as a beginning meditator are the same challenges that almost all meditators run into when they begin a practice.
The good news is that meditation is not about trying to stop your thoughts, it’s about ignoring them by using the ‘tools’ of meditation, watching the breath or using a mantra; so that when thoughts intrude on your silence you gently brush them away by returning to your breath or mantra.
The concept that we are not our minds ?and that its one of the benefits of meditation on the Bhagavad Gita, may seem extremely strange or even a bit incomprehensible to those new to meditation, Yoga and non-dual philosophy. It becomes a bit easier to grasp the idea that you are not your mind by simply becoming aware of your thoughts as they arise; then you will begin to notice your mind is off wondering into the past or fantasizing about the future. Have you ever wondered about why your mind works the way it does, and how it comes up with all of its scattered, random and half-organized thoughts? We will find ourselves in a scenario for a future event, and we will be fully imagining the experience of what it would be like to live in that scenario. We’ve all had experiences where we can be eating, sleeping, walking down the street, studying, working, listening to music or even engaging in a conversation with someone else, and the mind will begin to drift away to somewhere else.
No one willingly chooses to have a nightmare where one is chased by an animal, attacked by a murderer or falls off of a cliff. By referring to the mind as a friend or an enemy, the Gita treats the mind as if it were something different from us.
Many Hindu texts create a distinction between the physical body, the mind and intelligence.
A mind that isn’t given proper attention and is allowed to run wild can cause havoc in our lives.
The Gita explains that we can either become liberated with the help of our mind or completely degrade our consciousness. Of course, we’re not talking about controlling the mind in some forceful, unnatural way. For those new to the idea of training the mind the whole concept may seem a bit incomprehensible. Meditation is the tool, not to control the mind, but to go beyond it or at least to ignore it, because you don’t have to learn to stop your thoughts, an impossible task anyway; instead, whenever they intrude, and depending on which approach to meditation you chose, you gently return to your breath or your mantra. The reason this quote is popular among meditators is because it says it all and it’s said, every pun intended. One of the points addressed by the authors, which is often overlooked, in the rush to ‘learn’ to meditate, is that meditation is a natural process, one that just happens. All the techniques, styles and types of meditation are simply methods help us quiet our “monkey minds.”  Whether you are drawn to TM, Primordial Sound, Vipassana or any other of the many meditation techniques, the best one is the one that works for you. Think of meditation as a way to do some mental spring cleaning, sweeping out that constant chatter that’s always cluttering things up in your head.
Meditation is the practice of getting out of our heads and slipping into the gap between our thoughts, you know, silence, or into the present moment, and that would be mindfulness. The benefit of meditation is that the more you practice it the more it becomes a part of your everyday life, which means more peace and less worry and happier, healthier life. At Harvard University researchers analyzed blood samples and found that there was a difference in how genes expressed themselves between meditators and a control group.
The conclusion of the Harvard study was that there is verifiable scientific proof that meditation has positive genetic effects influencing cell metabolism as well as a positive response to oxidative stress. There is a new blood test that measures the length of the telomeres, which can be used to measure how fast a person is aging.
Stress hormones, which play an important part in aging, are regulated by RNA, which is a copy of the DNA. Meditation may not be the actual fountain of youth, and yet, because of the meditation benefit for our DNA created by relieving the symptoms of stress and helping us to let go of our daily anxieties, meditation, just may be as close as we can come.
Outside the biologists test tubes and flasks, DNA gets influenced by your every thought, feeling, and action. The benefits of meditation are therefore in direct contrast with so-called “modern” medicine which is carried out hurriedly, aggressively and using expressions such as “It is useless to look elsewhere, there is nothing else that can be done ”. People have meditated for years and enjoyed better health (and a slower aging process) but many others have been skeptical as to its benefits. Enjoy a couple of You Tube Videos that use binaural beats so your DNA can kick back and relax. A mantra is a word without meaning that “anchors” the mind, which allows us to still our thoughts and eventually leads us to self-realization.
In the end, the benefits of meditation can be experienced in the same way that the benefits of exercise can be, through a daily practice. According to the wisdom traditions the purpose of life is to be truly happy, and our desire for happiness is an integral part of our nature, and it’s evolutionary. The wisdom traditions teach that happiness is found in being and not by doing, and it’s defined as bliss, contentment and joy without need or cause. Happiness and meditation have been long been linked together and now western science understands why. According to these researchers, it’s the release of neurotransmitters in the seat of higher thinking, the pre-frontal cortex, which changes the brains set-point for happiness. As important, as the physiological effects are, there is a more powerful benefit that meditation offers in awakening true happiness. Meditation is the key to discovering your true identity which lies in deep in your consciousness beyond your mind, intellect, and ego. Enlightenment is knowing your real self, or as Deepak puts it, “In the world of constant change, there is something that doesn’t change,” know that ‘something,’ is the real you.
In my work for the David Lynch Foundation, I find teaching at-risk children the Transcendental Meditation technique is one of the most valuable tools you can give a young person. The questions asked here are, do you need to have quiet place to meditate or if there lots of distractions, does this mean I won’t be able to meditate?
The second observation is that there are different approaches to meditating anywhere at any time, mindfulness approach and deep inner awareness or transcendental meditation. Mindfulness is about being fully present without judgment and inner awareness is about transcending, going beyond the challenges.
For the last 10 years, I have been involved in researching the impact of meditation on health and well-being. When my colleagues at Stanford and at other universities started researching meditation, most of us expected that meditation would help with stress levels. Hundreds of studies suggest that meditation doesn’t just decrease stress levels but that it also has tangible health benefits such as improved immunity, lower inflammation and decreased pain. Inspired to share these findings, I recently wrote a post on the science of meditation that summarizes much of this data.
You may use the infographic above on your website, however, the license we grant to you requires that you properly and correctly attribute the work to us with a link back to our website by using the following embed code. Emma Seppala originates from Paris, France and is Associate Director at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University.
I started to meditate a few years ago when the stresses and strains of modern life were beginning to get on top of me. Great article, I started on the headspace programme in September and have to say it certainly works for me. I really commend your research and dedication to the study of meditation and its useful effects.
Has anyone ever done a study comparing theistic focused meditation to non-theistic meditation?
I teach meditation and have worked with a handful of cancer patients in conjunction with their medical treatment. I’m not 100% sure of the studies but I am not surprised because meditation reduces stress which we know impacts many disease states.
Meditation is essentially non interfering, cleansing, provides self knowledge and inclines us in favour of good. As we learn to meditate in the purest way we can understand the infinite wonders it holds for us. Isaac Davis – The tiny home movement is facing challenges from government, this time in Los Angeles.
Christina Sarich – We the people are collateral for debt held by the Federal government.
Vic Bishop – Plastic fishing, started by company Plastic Whale, is an innovative approach to cleaning up the waterways of Amsterdam. Religion is a realization, not talk, not doctrines, nor theories, however beautiful all these may be. Goldie Hawn promotes the benefits of meditation, which is a part of the MindUP™ curriculum.
It’s easy to see how Goldie Hawn’s vision to bring mindfulness to the classroom has evolved.
She answered the obvious question first: Why is Goldie Hawn speaking at a brain conference? Hawn was no brain expert, but she reasoned that teaching kids about the brain might make them more aware of their own thoughts and emotions. So Hawn asked a team of educators, neurologists, psychologists and social scientists to develop a new curriculum built, in part, around lessons about how the brain works.
Not all scientists think explicit knowledge of brain anatomy is necessary for prepping kids for study.
Scientists I spoke to about MindUp were enthusiastic about its potential to benefit children, particularly those at risk of being unhappy and failing in school.
Meditation is a journey into self-awareness and neuroscience is allowing us to explore the landscape of the mind itself.
Is the benefit of meditation  real, and more fundamentally, how do we define or discover what is real?
The ultimate benefit of meditation is self-realization or Unity consciousness, the deep feeling of peace and the physical benefits that attend this feeling are the ‘side effects’ of a regular meditation practice.
As meditation is finding its way in the West and looking for authentic cultural roots, we are bound to re-enact Siddhartha’s own search, re-discover his own disappointments and illuminations. These are the questions that Siddhartha asked as he continued his spiritual quest, continuing to probe deeper, until he was satisfied that he had gotten to the bottom of his inquiry. To see ‘behind the curtain of illusion,’ we must learn how to be still and examine what is within ourselves, sometimes found in the silence, but always found in awareness. And if you want the message of meditation to spread, please click the LIKE button below share this article on Facebook. Meditation can boost your happiness, and happiness is the goal of all goals and the purpose of life. Wray Herbert, author of “On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits,” had the same question and the answers he discovered will be surprising to many. So imagine how encouraged I was to come across a recent study that seems designed for impatient souls like me. The scientists recruited a group of volunteers, ranging in age from 18 to 73, all interested but inexperienced at meditation practice.
The participants had volunteered in exchange for training by experienced instructors, and half were immediately enrolled in such training. It’s not clear from these results whether these brain changes are lasting, or if they are limited to actual meditation and its immediate aftermath.


While the jury may still be out on the long term benefits of a short term meditation practice, anyone who moves ahead with a regular practice can certainly expect results.
Meditation can boost your happiness because as the studies are showing, it alters the brain in many positive ways. There are three stages of the breath as a vehicle for meditation, witnessing, relaxing the nervous system and stilling the mind.
In the wisdom tradition of Yoga, the breath is used as a vehicle for self-awareness and as a subtle focus that carries us inward. Meditation begins as we bring our awareness to the breath, following the rhythmic movements and the natural sensations of the many elements of breathing. As we settle into awareness there is a shift that begins to take place in our nervous system.
Witnessing is the process of bringing your attention fully to each of the sensations in the mind-body. Notice the cool feeling as the air rushes up through your nose on the in breath and how it’s warmed as the air is expelled. Once you have become comfortable with allow your awareness to move into the body, follow the breath into your chest, feel the movement of all the muscles as each expands and contracts as the breath fills your lungs. Remember this is a natural process, so let it occur naturally, there is no need to ‘conform’ to a ‘style’ of breathing. Later during meditation you can maintain awareness even if you return your attention to the breath.
As your practice evolves it will, naturally and organically, become less about controlling your breath and more about being the witness.
Meditation is a process of letting go, especially in the beginning; there is the release of negative energy in the form of stress, negative emotions, worry or regret. Because the breath can be voluntary it is possible to maintain equilibrium reducing the natural tension between negative thoughts and conscious relaxed breathing. It is while practicing meditation that breath awareness will interrupt the flow of negative energy, keeping it from taking up residency, which in turn calms the nervous system. It is in the deeper stages of breath awareness and as our nervous system relaxes that leads us in to the meditative state. When the attention is on the breath, the air moving in and out of the nose, then the focus of our concentration is on a physical sensation. As our practice evolves the mental repetition of our mantra will replace breath awareness, allowing it to fade gently into the background.
Understanding and practicing the three stages of the breath as a vehicle for meditation, will allow you to move from meditation as a practice to meditation as an experience. But after careful observation and analysis, when it agrees with reason and it will benefit one and all, then accept it and live by it. I’m aware that every moment offers us the opportunity to be mindful, but this too is a practice. The traditional time for the first meditation of the day is the hour or two right after you get up and around sunrise is preferred.
Early morning meditation, where you can set your intentions for a peaceful and enjoyable day, will help bring peace of mind to your activities throughout the day.
Meditation corrects this discord by training a practitioner to sit completely inside time, not ahead of it or behind it. Now, when I feel myself push against time or pull it toward me, I stop what I am doing and imagine not the small, strict circles of a watch dial, but the enormous, planetary circling of the earth around the sun. Colleen Morton Busch has eloquently described her relationship with meditation and her obvious love of meditation. In a study by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, San Francisco, it was determined that meditation has benefits that positively impact psychological changes; discovering a link between those who practiced meditation to increased activity of an enzyme called telomerase which is necessary for cell health. Deepak’s conclusion, when develop a regular meditation practice, you will not only feel at peace, you will create physical well-being or peace for the body. This entry was posted in Meditation Benefits, Meditation Help and tagged Deepak Chopra, how to meditate for beginners, how to meditation, Meditation Exercises, what meditation does by Tommyji. The great sages, thousands of years ago, intuited that our world had its own unique sounds, which change over time, and these sounds were taught to their disciples. When a mantra is repeated, aloud or silently, it has the effect of taking us out of our normal ego mind and into the pure present moment.
Deepak Chopra address a question about the different schools of mantra meditation, and the essence of his conclusion is; find the approach that you feel most drawn too and the one you feel most comfortable with and then do it, practice, practice, practice.
Meditation is not about forcing our minds to be quite, rather it’s about discovering the silence that’s already there, in the same way that space is already there, and clouds drift through it. Without space, we live from the reptilian part of our brains, the amygdala, or fear center of our brain.
According to the authors we simply take the time needed to learn how to relax our body and mind.
If you continue with this practice, you will soon begin to realize that your mind has a mind of its own and that you only have control of it in those moments of awareness. Many times it can sure feel as if someone else, or even a whole group of people, is carrying on elaborate dialogues up there that have little to do with our present reality. The mind is often compared to an impulsive child who isn’t capable of making proper decisions, and the intelligence is likened to a parent that helps the mind choose the appropriate and healthy course of action. Second, we need to be able to admit that we have very little control over the mind’s activities. What we want to accomplish is a harmonious relationship between the mind, intelligence and the soul, so that these different components of our being can be on the same page more often. Making it compressible is one of the benefits of meditation on the Bhagavad Gita, because this is what the Bhagavad Gita teaches us. Others turn into diehard advocates of a particular method or technique and become like a salesperson trying to sell a product. Most of the time we are living in our heads, either in the past or on the future, in fact, if we are in the ‘now’ than we aren’t in or heads at all, we’re simply present. Either way, the self-talk stops, at least for a time and with it goes the worries, anxieties and general mind drama and in slips peace. A number of the genes were involved in the body’s response to ‘oxidative stress’ and cellular metabolism. In a 2010 study, meditation was shown to have a positive effect on telomerase activity in the immune cells. The hope being that maybe the test will motivate people to take action, or better yet sit quietly and meditate, to improve their health.
Budzynski has done extensive research on learning and suggestion when the brain is in a theta state. This self-realization is the gradual releasing of attachment or the process of enlightenment. The mistake we make very often is, believing that if we get, accomplish or become something else, then we will be happy.
Understanding intellectually, what happiness is and where it’s found, is much different than applying that knowledge. Scientists have now identified, the happiness set point, where happiness is located in the brain and the neurotransmitters of happiness.
Meditation stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, including opiates, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.
The Eastern spiritual traditions, from the beginning, understood that life inevitably contains suffering, from accidents to aging, from natural disasters to death.
Meditation allows you to discover, and most importantly, experience, that part of you that transcends space-time, cause and effect; the part of you that’s immortal, your core consciousness.
When you experience yourself as the non-change in a world of change, and come to know the underlying ground state as who you really are, then you have discovered the key to true happiness.
Do you need to have a quiet place free from all distractions and noises or can you actually meditate anywhere, anytime, any place?
However, what many of us did not anticipate was the extent of the benefits the data ended up showing. After it went viral on Twitter & Facebook, I thought I’d create this infographic to help readers visualize the data and inspire would-be or regular meditators to keep up with their practice!
The experience has been revelatory and my overall sense of wellbeing and purpose has been transformed in a really positive way. Both my article and infographic really just summarize data on a number of different types of meditation.
I too have been practicing meditation for a long time, and I found this infographic outstanding for its purpose of bringing awareness to people.
Good for you for helping your patients find greater well-being, what a gift to them and to you! Quite simply, because physically speaking there cannot be unity, since the physical plane consists of shapes, and all shapes are different.
Meditation is integral and foundational to this program, a program which at its core philosophy seeks to transform and help children transform their lives by creating opportunities to develop necessary social and emotional skills. An article by Ingrid Wickelgren, on the Scientific American blog reviewed Hawn’s address at the Second Annual Aspen Brain Forum speaks directly to the programs evolution.
As she talked, it occurred to me that vivaciousness and beauty did not alone propel her to stardom. Decades ago (in 1972 she said), when she became famous, she felt newly anxious and something hard to imagine happened: she lost her signature smile. While watching the rain outside her meditation room sometime in 2002, Hawn’s quest turned outward—in particular, to children. Kim Schonert-Riechl, an applied developmental psychologist at the University of British Columbia and her colleagues tested the effectiveness of MindUp in 75 schools in her area. In today’s world our children face so many challenges that have created unprecedented stress which compromise our children’s chance of academic success and wellbeing. A Catholic Trappist Monk, his mystical spirituality was informed by the mystics of the Western and Eastern Religious Traditions. That is the real treasure that Buddhism has to offer, and it may take us a long time in the West to bring this treasure to full fruition. If your meditation practice, regardless of the technique, gently awakens you to the different levels of your being, one after another, and you have be authentic with yourself in this process, then you will discover the truth, which is the highest form of reality. When you are happy you are more likely to make choices that will bring you things you desire like success, good health or wonderful relationships. Psychological scientist Christopher Moyer, and a large group of colleagues at the University of Wisconsin — Stout, designed a brain study to see if there might be at least some benefit after a very brief period of meditation training. The volunteers completed an emotional inventory before starting the study, and they also closed their eyes and tried to meditate for 18 minutes on their own. The others were wait-listed; they received training later on, but served as controls for the brain study. As reported online in the journal Psychological Science, the trainees ended up averaging fewer than seven sessions, and meditated at home just a couple times a week — so they only got about six hours of training and practice in all over the five weeks. I also anticipate that some purists will object to the whole idea that beginners would want to get something for nothing.
Meditation stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and other brain opiates. Following the breath is the means to a deeper connection and concentration of the mind-body, which leads to a sweet sense of peace and tranquility. This witnessing, which is the first stage of breath awareness is the process of bring awareness to all the physical and mental elements, from awareness of the air movement in and out of our lungs to the slowing of thoughts arising in the mind. There is a close relationship between the breath and our nervous system; if we are frightened or apprehensive our breath is shallow and short, stopping and starting erratically, if however, we breathe slowly and deeply our nervous system relaxes. As you settle in to your awareness, begin to focus on the inhalation, feeling a sense of renewal with each breath in and then renew your focus on the out breath and the release of tension that takes place with it. You will notice a difference in the way and amount different muscle will contract and expand depending on the position you are in, whether sitting erect or lying down, be aware of those differences. If you sit in an upright and erect position you will become aware that there is less expansion of your chest as you breathe and it becomes more of a widening in your rib cage. Each emotion has its own unique form of breathing, whether crying or laughter, the breath changes. These thoughts are released as we slip into the meditative state, arising from their subconscious moorings.
Through awareness and presence (witnessing) when we notice the negative thoughts arising by focusing on and preserving the relaxed breath, we can maintain self-control. It’s breath awareness and the associated relaxed nervous system that allows us to create distance between our witnessing self and the causes of our stress.
This is accomplished as we combine breath awareness with a mantra; a process of watching the breath move in and out through the nose while repeating a mantra or sound.
When we add the mantra to the breath, we move our focus from the physical sensation to the mental sound.
Breath awareness works much like a meditation ‘safety net,’ catching us when we inevitably lose our concentration.


Ultimately, the same process will happen to the mantra, and as it fades the silence that has always been there emerges as we enter the field of unbounded awareness.
The second biggest challenge (the first being thoughts) that a new meditator will face is establishing a regular meditation routine.
Creating a regular practice routine allows the new meditator time to develop a relationship with their practice and chance to fall in love with meditation. This is because your mind and body are rested from deep sleep, and your mind hasn’t moved into full gear with the concerns of the day. The ticking of the clock, the wind-blown loops of the mind, the corridors of breath and flickers of birdsong: The moment contains all of it and is all of it. Someone rings the bell when it’s time to sit down for meditation, to get up, work, eat or sleep. Once you’ve stepped into that place, meditation becomes, not discipline, but a sense of expanding awareness, an experience that creates time. Chopra is about the meditation benefit that has a direct effect on our daily lives, our health. If you would like additional information, you can check out my blog post on the subject at Tommyjis Place.
And whenever you find yourself drifting off back to thought, gently return to your sound, without judgment.
Many of our thoughts originate from experiences we’ve had in the past, but the mind will also come up with dreamlike scenarios about events that have yet to take place in our lives.
It becomes obvious that we weren’t in control of our thoughts at that time, and that we are rarely ever in control of our thoughts at any time. We’ve all had the experience of recalling instances where others might have physically, financially or emotionally hurt us. It may be possible to avoid unpleasant situations, uncomfortable places or unfriendly people, but the mind isn’t something we can escape. If we’re going to spend that much time with someone, doesn’t it make sense to develop a friendship with that individual?
Thirdly, we need to know that we’re never going to have complete control over the mind. Consider taking an actual course or program to learn meditation and mindfulness techniques.
One of our biological responses to mental and emotional stress is oxidative stress, which produces free radicals. To explain this hypothesis has been formed that meditation could help to achieve a very good state of balance in biochemical development which would maximize the efficient use of DNA to induce itself to self-repair. Theta, Budzynski suggested, is the state in which superlearning takes place—when in theta, …. Not realizing it’s the other way around, that by being happy now, it will lead to our getting, accomplishing and becoming what we most desire.
You can learn to address the root causes of unhappiness, but that’s only half the challenge, the other half is in the application and the practice. So, we now know that happiness isn’t some elusive emotion, it’s a physiological state which can be studied and measured. These same Eastern traditions diagnosed suffering and found five main causes of unhappiness and then came to understand that all of them were contained in the first; ignorance of your true identity. The experience of self-realization is experience of enlightenment, which is the only permanent cure for unhappiness. Puff talks about his personal experiences and how he was able to practice his meditation even in noisy situations.
This ability evolves as your practice evolves and it’s not a recommended practice beginning meditators; for most beginners, distractions lead to frustration. I would add, because it is a practice, go ahead and do just that, practice, remembering to be gentle with yourself and letting go of any frustration if it arises. Rosenthal is the psychiatrist best known for first understanding the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and pioneering the beneficial effects of light therapy.
Perhaps most importantly, it has been linked to increased happiness and greater compassion. I am an osteopath and regularly treat patients whose symptoms are aggravated or even caused by stress and anxiety and I recommend meditation to all them. As more data comes in, we’ll be able to really tease apart how each practice impacts different cognitive and affective processes both in the brain, body and behavior. Then I would try every morning to meditate for at least ten minutes, sometimes 20 if I was up early enough. Then explore all the options out there and find the shoe that fits: mindfulness, vipassana, Art of Living, loving-kindness, compassion.
Also try to get in some breathing exercises throughout the day which also calm the anxious mind.. I had no idea you created this and would love to share it on my website and youtube channel and of give you credit if that’s ok!
It improves our ability to concentrate, helps stabilize our moods, and improves sleep. Meditation results in better lives and sharper minds. That awareness would then give them better control over their own mind—directing their attention more appropriately or calming themselves down—in ways that could improve learning. They know about mirror neurons, Hawn says, and they learn that you become happy when you give to someone else, a lesson in line with the teachings of the Dalai Lama?. So far, the program seems to have had “incredibly positive effects,” says Diamond, who helped parse the data. After all, meditation exercises of the type used in MindUp can help adults better orient their attention, according to work presented by psychologist Amishi P. Goldie Hawn’s program promotes the benefits of meditation and as she said, “We are going to change education as we know it,” I believe her!
He went on to explain that most religion, including Buddhism, offers an escape from reality, rather than a transforming insight about it.
In fact, without some calmness in meditation it is impossible to see anything clearly or distinguish what is real from what is illusion. This is something of the reverse of what many people believe, thinking that if they attain success, health or nurturing relationships, and then they will find happiness. All they were told was to focus on their breathing, and if thoughts intruded, to re-focus their attention on their breathing. But really, for newcomers to a practice so unfamiliar, even evidence of a temporary shift away from negative emotions is something to build on, and keep us coming back. So just in creating higher levels of these neurotransmitters, meditation is one of the more effective ways of changing the brain’s set point for happiness. But, whatever position you choose, let each breath flow into the next, without pause but without forcing or trying to control it, this is because a pause leaves an opening for the mind to become distracted. Stress also has a deep and pervasive effect, restricting the normal flow of our breath, because of this our health can be adversely affected. Once this relationship is established then time always is easily found, but until that time, some discipline is required. Students are supposed to follow the schedule completely, taking off their watches and listening instead for the timekeeper’s cues.
As one of the newest meditation benefits shown to have a positive influence on the body starts with a really big word, Psychoneuroendocrinology; which deals with the interrelated disciplines of psychology, neurobiology, endocrinology, immunology and neurology.
Even a second’s amount of space allows us to breathe and grab our mental blankie, if you will, so that we can respond with a higher evolved part of the brain. Even after his leg was amputated, doctors gave him a five percent chance of living beyond five years.
The question arises: How do you develop a friendship with someone that you can’t see or touch or really even talk to?
The effects of meditation on all the neurotransmitters change the brains set point for happiness in a way that no single drug can. Once you experience your true nature, who you really are, then your suffering will come to an end.
The number one benefit of meditation is stress reduction, so don’t stress if the distractions are too much, relax and wait until you feel you are in a comfortable place, then meditate. I wanted you to know that my blog readers have liked it a lot and I thank you for the same.
If the neuroscience community was going to be delivered an advocate, they could have done a lot worse. Six years ago Hawn established a nonprofit group called The Hawn Foundation “to promote children’s academic success in school and in life through social and emotional learning.” It is based on the notion that kids’ intellects do not exist in isolation from their emotions, their connections to others or the rest of their bodies. Similarly, in “gratitude journals,” children regularly jot down what they are grateful for. It not only boosted kids’ self-reported feelings of happiness, liking of school, and sense of belonging, but also moderated kids’ cortisol levels, suggesting it lowered stress in the classroom. People in every generation have the same opportunity as the Buddha had to see behind the curtain of illusion to the reality beneath. Expert Buddhist practitioners log some 10,000 hours of training, and even neophytes should expect to log 70 or more hours of training, over months, before seeing any noticeable benefits. During this trial, they were hooked up to an EEG, which measured their baseline brain activity.
But even with this very modest commitment of time, the novices showed a significant shift in brain activity from their right to their left frontal hemispheres over the course of the study. However, as we develop an awareness of our breath through practice and because we can control our breathing voluntarily, we can make adjustments that will have a positive effect.
In both cases, meditation shows me that even if time does not appear to be on my side, it is inside me. At any moment, wherever you are, if you feel like time is a barking dog nipping at your heels, just pause, close your eyes if it helps and breathe. Probably because staying attentive to the moment requires that you be free of judgment, like Damn it.
The MindUp program, the Foundation’s signature educational initiative, is designed to address these oft-neglected components of learning. I doubt most grownups would be similarly confident that kids could ably control their minds if shown how. One six-year-old girl, Hawn says, explained that it was her aunt’s amygdala that saved her life when the aunt pulled her out of the way of an oncoming car.
I think this is also designed to make them feel good (Hawn invoked dopamine, the brain chemical for reward, in her talk), and to build better relationships. The sixth ancestor of Zen, Hui Neng, specifically taught that to empty the mind of all thoughts during meditation is not a Buddhist practice. I have no name or responsibilities except to maintain an upright posture, breathe and let go. Following the schedule frees up energy that would normally go into entertaining preferences and exercising choice. Because so many cancer patients were coming to him for advice, he founded The Gawler Foundation, which provides holistic healing retreats for cancer patients.
She saw psychologists and began meditating, embarking on a nine-year psychological journey. My kids are told to do this at Thanksgiving, and every November I have the passing thought that we really should be counting our blessings more often.
Some studies exist on the effects of gratitude as well: expressing your appreciation for a romantic partner, for example, seems to solidify those important bonds.
Where do these thoughts and feelings that rise and fall originate, and where do they go when they subside? In short, the promised benefits of meditation may be much more accessible than previously thought.
The schedule becomes a strict but empathic teacher, revealing time’s flowing and easy nature when we harmonize with it.
Such an adventure might make lesser folks crazy or depressed in itself, but Hawn became surprisingly analytical about it.
She particularly wanted to prevent stress from shutting down executive function, the self-control of thought, action and emotion that is essential for learning. Wonderful things seem to happen out of the blue, but I believe it’s because I am more connected and allowing joy in my life. Like when the doctor comes after your knee with that rubber thing, and you almost kick him in the nose without even trying to move your leg.
As for different types of meditation having different benefits, I have done several types (lovingkindness, mindfulness, guided imagery, chakra clearing, breath awareness, etc.) and they all have a positive effect. You don’t engage in your usual obsessive thinking … theoretically … so you don’t obsess about your not obsessing.



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