Transcending Poor Health With Meditation
While the practice of meditation plays an integral role in a vast array of spiritual and contemplative traditions, the results of a recent study undertaken by researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University suggest that the benefits of meditation extend far beyond the emotional or psycho-spiritual realm.
Over the course of this study, a group of 62 black teens suffering from high blood pressure were trained in Transcendental Meditation and instructed to practice twice a day, for a period of 15 minutes. In contrast, the control group was merely given information and strategies for lowering their blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. The results showed a significant reduction in the left ventricular mass of the hearts of those teens that meditated, making it easier for their hearts to pump blood, and reducing their risk of future heart disease.
The particular brand of meditation practiced by these teens, what is often referred to as TM, first began gaining traction among Western audiences in the 1950s, after the famed Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced it to the states. Similar to the breath that acts as the sole point of focus in a variety of meditative techniques, the TM practitioner is typically given an individualized mantra. In meditation, this mantra and the sounds it produces provide an object upon which the practitioner can focus their awareness. As cognitive or spiritual practice, this object of attention offers the perceiver a kind of center or fixed point. In gauging the extent to which their thoughts deviate from this point, the meditator may become increasingly familiar with the workings of their own tangled mind.
Although these methods have primarily been practiced, historically speaking, with an aim to developing greater self-knowledge and intimacy with the workings of our infinitely complex minds, the results of this study demonstrate a clear correlation between the effects of meditation and long-term physical health. Whether your search is for inner peace or the health and vitality that would help you to live out a strong and happy lifetime, the benefits of meditation are plain to see.
Image by Ian Burt, courtesty of Creative Commons licensing.Tweet