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The Physiology of Meditation

Meditation can de-stress you and place you in a serene state of being. Even though this is something meditation does very well, research now shows that the things we do with our body(i.e. meditation)actively effect our brain cells. In fact, the research goes on to say that our genes our changed when we take part in physiologically changing acts. These genes are either turned off or on that are associated with inflammation, cell-aging, and free radicals. This allows the body to repair these factors that contribute to cell damage. These changes have been known to change the “fight or flight” reaction, as well.  This plays more into how our habits change our world, even on a cellular level.

meditation

Interestingly, in an article published in the Baltimore Sun(“How to beat stress and angst through meditation”)one study showed a difference in participants stress levels in as little as 30 minutes a day for two months. This my seem astounding, but if we were to sit and remain quiet, focusing our mind, the changes in your experience would be drastic.

Meditation is a wonderful tool. Used for calming the mind, centering your focus, visualizations, chanting, prayer time, quiet time, and healing. But, it’s not something that can completely solve everything in your life. One of the things we tend to resort to in this society is a ‘problem solving’ state of mind. We are always looking for a solution to a problem. What meditation can reveal to us is that in life there are no actual problems. Yes, if you don’t want to be doing what you are doing and you want a change, you’ll need to solve and resolve problems in your life. And yes, if you need to balance your checkbook, you’ll need to solve number problems. However, intrinsically there aren’t any problems where you are at this moment. In fact, the moment we try to ‘solve our lives’ we, if you notice, start to encounter resistance and misfortune.

On a scientific level, it is simply amazing to see the changes meditation can have on our body’s, brains, and cells. Richard Davidson of the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison stated recently that, “It[meditation]can transform the emotional brain in ways that promote higher levels of resilience (and) less vulnerability and affect the body in ways that can improve health.” This further proves that through this simple act we effect the way we navigate this world. Davidson goes on to say, “This is mental exercise. If one wants (benefits) to continue, you have to continue.” This also plays directly into our state of mind associated with goals and routine setting. In order to be successful and well versed in an area, correct routines that are practiced on a daily basis are much needed.

Dedicate some time each day to meditating. You can focus you mind, contemplate on your day, or simply sit in astute gratitude for life and what you have. In all fairness, there is not a bad time to practice meditation(except when driving)because the benefits are endless. We now know that through the act of meditation brain cells and physiology can change. Are you in a funk today? Meditate. Are you unfocused? Meditate. Even though life isn’t a problem to be solved, if there were an answer it would be meditation.

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One Response to The Physiology of Meditation

  1. Pingback: 6 Powerful Techniques for Developing Your Intuition » Zazen Life Zazen Life

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