In this day and age, it is very normal to measure our value by measuring the amount of or the quality of things we have. And yet, a baby born with no material objects is seen as “a gift from the Heavens”, while possessing no shiny car or brand new iPhone of its own. Therefore, we can find value beyond material things. Meditation is something that allows us to look past these objects. Let’s look at the point of meditation, and the benefits it can bring.
The Benefit of Meditation
Meditation allows us to discover our worth using understanding. By looking within us, our mind is “reset”, in a way, and we are better able to know our default state. The “default” state can be explained as the mental state of mind that exists without judgment. The default state exists only as consciousness; as calm observation.
For example, babies don’t think in words, they think in feelings. Babies don’t judge, they just absorb what’s happening around them. Ironically, by taking out the words from our minds through meditation, we are better able to think and feel what is right for us, both logically and emotionally.
This, combined with the benefits of reducing stress and elevating the hormones that cause us to feel good, we are primed for what comes to us in our external world.
Another benefit of meditative therapy is the increased neural connections in our brains caused by repetition. Like a muscle, we are able to create and/or strengthen connections within the brain to act calmly in stressful situations. Likewise, a daily practice of meditation allows us to create neuron pathways to be more focused on a topic while decreasing the chance of procrastination.
By meditating on a daily basis, you cultivate control over your thoughts.
For people who feel controlled by their own minds or lives, this is big.
All of this is not to mention the physical health effects meditation naturally produces, which is an improvement of a wide variety of diseases and ailments in each person who meditates. Studies show that meditation can alter our genes and create harmony within the physiological functions of the body in many different ways.
Several studies have shown that meditation helps to reduce blood pressure, alleviate irritable bowel syndrome, and improve anxiety in the majority of participants. Along with this, participants in meditative therapies noticed an increase in creativity, attention span, verbal cognition, decrease in pain (both physical and emotional), and more.
While stress can be good to some degree, too much stress causes inflammation that can be damaging to the body and mind. By meditating, one can decrease the need for the body’s inflammatory response and therefore allow space for healing. As a result of reducing inflammation by focusing on one single thing (the breath, a word, etc.), the body has less to focus on and is better able to improve stressful conditions.
Meditation in the Data
Apart from delivering tangible benefits to each practitioner, meditation has several benefits that can be supported by science.
In an analysis looking at data pulled from 36 randomized controlled trials in patients with anxiety, scientists looked at the effects of meditation on anxiety disorders. The analysis of the studies found that those who treated their anxiety with meditative therapies saw an improvement in mood and overall health with no adverse effects reported.
Additionally, other benefits of meditation include decreased loss of grey matter in the brain while aging. This means that with the consistent practice of meditation, the brain is better primed to preserve itself throughout the course of our lives.
Naturally, as the body ages, so follows the brain. However, advancements in the human healthcare system have doubled our life expectancy since the 1800s. It’s only natural that, with that increased number of potential years added to our lives, we aim to maintain or increase our general joy of life.
However, living with neurodegenerative diseases caused by natural aging in the brain, this aim becomes that much more challenging to achieve. Loss of gray matter in the brain can cause a loss of or decline in certain cognitive and psychological functions, such as memory. These harmful effects of aging can limit our joy of life.
Meditation helps to counteract this. By meditating once a day for at least 10-15 minutes per day, participants can see an increase in their mood and overall health. This makes meditative therapies a great partner to other healthcare methods such as exercise, healthy eating, and prescription drugs.
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So, What is the Point of Meditation?
To sum up, the point of meditation is to clear our mind, elevate our mood, and increase our overall health. To the degree that we meditate, it has correlating effects in almost every area of our lives, if not all. By meditating with consistency, one can achieve daily states of peace and calm. Additionally, one can reduce their stress in the process and cultivate more time to nourish the things that matter most.
Like a muscle, it takes practice and dedication to build strength in these areas of the brain. Also like muscle training, it can be something that builds a strong bridge to other areas of our lives to explore.
Though not easy, meditation is a commitment to yourself. It is a commitment to allowing yourself the mental and emotional space to explore who you are at your core.
Meditation is simple. Almost too simple, one might say. That being said, it could be one of the most positively influential things you do in your life.
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