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24.05.2014
It was fine for George Harrison of the Beatles to visit an Indian guru in the 1960s to learn how to meditate.
In recent years, however, there has been an upsurge of interest in the practice—some would call it the art—of meditation; it has even drawn in a number of scientists keen to assess its claimed benefits and study its effect on neurological processes. Though it is typically defined as focusing the mind for a period of time, especially for spiritual purposes, advocates list a range of practical benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety, strengthening the immune system, and reducing high blood pressure. Controlling thoughts and emotions is also a technique that athletes and others use to increase success.
The practical application of techniques that help us control thought processes and harness them for a positive outcome is something almost everyone can benefit from. Being aware of how we think and react requires that we give greater priority to pausing from our often rushed and harried existence, and instead contemplating. But can we really make changes to the way we think, or are we forever destined to continue along the path we currently find ourselves following?
In recent years neuroscientists have developed the concept of neuroplasticity, identifying that the brain can change by establishing new neural networks.
Johnson made the case that meditation has no intrinsic goals but rather is a tool that can be used to achieve a variety of objectives, such as improved health or greater sensitivity to the needs of others. For some, however, meditation takes on a more ethereal quality, with advocates arguing that it goes beyond practical benefits.
Stephan Bodian is a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher in the tradition of Zen Buddhism. From a human-centric viewpoint it may be tempting to turn inward in hopes of finding the source of all things good, as if it merely awaits discovery. Several thousand years of recorded history provide us with a clear indication of the triumphs and failures of human endeavor. To train our minds to be more altruistic, to respond less harshly when wronged, to be calmer and more considerate—these are some of the positive outcomes meditation can facilitate.
Revealing the path to the true God—not a feeling or a sensation, not a vague notion, not an entity of our own imagining, and certainly not something that exists within ourselves, but rather the self-existing, self-sustaining Creator of all things—is the major aim of the Bible.
In the Bible God clearly lays out the path to true enlightenment, and meditation plays an important part.
As we embark on this path, we realize that a relationship with God involves conforming to a way of life that, when put into practice, leads to happiness and joy, to peace and patience, to a truly rewarding and fulfilling life.
Meditation can have many practical benefits and holds out the hope of a variety of positive outcomes.
1 Michael Bond, “Mind Gym: Putting Meditation to the Test,” New Scientist (January 8, 2011). Scientific American Just put out a decent summary of the current neuroscience research on meditation written by friends, Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz, and Richie Davidson. Interestingly, the article also points out some of the morphological changes noted in a recent meta-analyses done by Kiran Fox HERE.
Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk who went from a scientific career as a molecular biologist in France (working under French Nobel Laureate Francois Jacob) to the study of Buddhism in the Himalayas 40 years ago. Within the Mind and Life Institute, he is an active participant in the current scientific research on the effects of meditation on the brain.
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Mediter pour observer les pierres du chemin On peut aussi batir quelque chose de beau avec les pierres du chemin.
Mediter pour acceder a la tranquillite profonde Comme de lourdes vagues, tes pensees se succedent sans fin. Mediter pour cueillir le fruit en son temps Tout ce que nous avons fait ne sera pas perdu a tout jamais, tout murit a temps et devient fruit a son heure.
Choisir son coussin de meditation, quelques conseils pour une bonne decision S’assoir pour mediter est tout un art. With this notion in mind, one could be forgiven for thinking of meditation as little more than esoteric navel-gazing.


Does meditating have anything of value to offer, and is it a worthwhile pursuit for the average person?
Skilled participants of any pursuit often talk of being “in the zone” or “in the flow,” where there is a sense of clarity and being fully present in the moment.
Former cellular geneticist Matthieu Ricard makes the case that “meditation is not about sitting quietly in the shade of a tree and relaxing in a moment of respite from the daily grind; it is about . Why is it that at times we feel we cannot be content until we have acquired a certain possession such as a particular smartphone, car or house, or have earned so much money, or have a particular job or position, or are with a certain someone? As William Henry Davies asked in his poem Leisure, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.” Meditation is, among other things, the means by which we can “stare” at ourselves.
Ricard asks: “Can a voluntary inner enrichment, such as the long-term practice of meditation, .
In The Selfless Self, meditation advocate Laurence Freeman argues that we will always want something, and that even during times of abundance our minds naturally tend to focus on what we do not have. Texts often portray the meditative experience as a path along which one travels, the pinnacle of which is a state of consciousness sometimes referred to as enlightenment. In a volume on meditation written for the Dummies series he relates that for many, enlightenment is the source of ultimate truth, love, wisdom, happiness and joy. However, we will benefit by considering an alternative perspective—one gained by seeing ourselves in the way our Creator sees us. For every high achieved in the realms of art, music, literature, engineering, construction or science, there have been lows, demonstrated by poor governance, oppression, violence, a lack of social cohesion, profligate waste and environmental degradation.
While not all meditative traditions have this at their core, the climax of the meditative experience is often portrayed as being at one with “the Divine,” whether defined as the deity of a particular religious group or a vague and insubstantial spiritual entity or life force. Through its pages God reveals Himself, on His own terms and by His own definitions, clear and unequivocal. Part of this undoubtedly involves looking within ourselves, challenging the way we think and creating new and better mental attitudes.
2 Laurence Freeman, The Selfless Self: Meditation and the Opening of the Heart (1998, 2009).
Reorientation of awarenesss than involves dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior inferior parietal lobe. The study found the frontopolar cortex and anterior insula were 2 brain regions with neuroplastic changes most often found in such studies of meditators.
In fact the term carries much more meaning, and when correctly understood, its practice can be of immense value to each of us. In a study on pain sensitivity at Wake Forest University, the research of psychologist Fadel Zeidan suggests that while meditation does not remove the sensation of pain, it teaches sufferers to control their emotional reaction to it and so reduce stress responses.
In practice this means being able to focus and to limit distractions, as well as to fend off negative emotions and overcome the desire to give in when the going gets tough, thus opening up the potential for whatever we are doing to be done more effectively. Or why, if we’ve achieved that goal, the goalpost seems to shift elsewhere, just over the horizon?
Johnson argued that one of the greatest benefits of meditating is gaining greater levels of self-knowledge. He posits that “if we can take our attention off our needs even for a short period we will discover the extraordinary transforming effect that a redirected consciousness has on us, as we live our daily lives, cope with emotions and anxieties of every kind.” Developing emotional intelligence, with the aid of meditation, can help us focus away from self.
Bodian uses the metaphor of a spring that gushes forth “the pure water of being” from the top of the mountain. Whatever philosophy, religion, societal model, economic policy or form of government human beings have devised, the result is always the same: a mixed bag of both good and evil.
Bodian explains that, depending on their perspective, some may describe attaining the pinnacle of the meditative experience as “spirit or soul, true nature or true self, the ultimate truth or the ground of being. God is described as being synonymous with love (1 John 4:16), and His actions back up this claim.
God spoke to Joshua after Moses died and gave him this advice: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.
And to his instruction on meditation, Paul added, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).


But if we wish to attain the source of love, true peace of mind and the path to God, we will need to embark on more than a mystical self-improvement program.
The article uses the same distinctions in meditation practice we outlined in our S-ART paper – That is Focused Attention, Open Monitoring (or Mindfulness), and Loving Kindness or Compassion (or ethical enhancement practices).
I would further argue that the larger frontoparietal control network (including nodes of the salience network and lateral frontopolar cortex and even the lateral cerebellum) all contribute to the decentering, monitoring, and reorientation process. And why do we dwell on past mistakes like a needle stuck in a groove on a phonograph record, repeating the same discordant note, until we become overburdened by guilt to the point of immobilization, unable to deal with or confront our shortcomings? He cited Socrates as having said that “people derive most of their benefits from knowing themselves, and most of their misfortunes from being self-deceived.” Meditative introspection is a means by which we can first notice harmful patterns of thinking, realize they are not inevitable, and then work to correct them.
Putting time and effort into changing our brain by redirecting thoughts not only benefits ourselves; it should also be a springboard to better considering the needs of others. Within this context, meditation can be seen as another humanly devised construct, having the potential to provide benefits but ultimately failing to provide the answers we seek to all the questions we ask. It is ironic that meditative literature often cites loss of ego and self as part of the process of gaining enlightenment, yet the same sources advise that the path is to be found by searching within ourselves, in our own hearts. He demonstrated it by allowing His own Son to die so that humanity could be reconciled to Himself (John 3:16–17). For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37–38).
Johnson attributed this to a certain cultural bias that limits our understanding of meditation and declared that it can in fact be used as a tool to improve many activities. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts” (Revelation 21:6). Why do we worry about potential problems, catastrophizing our future into a series of unpleasant scenarios? Ricard says: “We readily accept the idea that it takes time and perseverance to master an art, a sport, a language or any other discipline.
The Bible doesn’t say we can attain peace of mind and happiness or find truth and love by looking within ourselves for the answers but by looking outward, toward God.
Our personal failings and shortcomings, combined with a daily diet of bad news on the world stage, should teach us that we are not the fount, the wellspring of life, but rather a broken cistern in need of repair. The murky well in the heart of humankind actually separates us from the pure spring of God’s character. This crystal-clear and pure water is freely available to all, but to find it we must first acknowledge our thirst and then seek to quench it in the right place. Do we ever stop to consider the toll all of this might be taking on our health, or the impact we might be having on others? Too often, however, we are held captive by our mental ruminations, to the detriment of peace of mind and well-being. Developing this ability will also enable us to step back from a situation and be aware of personal emotions, feelings, motivations, etc., as well as those of others, before making important decisions. This type of meditation stresses paying attention to our thoughts to change the way we think, feel and act. We benefit from time and effort spent challenging negative tendencies and working to replace emotions such as anger, greed and jealousy with others such as patience, generosity and kindness. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation” (verses 15, 26–27, 99). This “man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22) spent time focusing on God’s way and in so doing drew closer to Him.



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