Meditation is still a very unusual and even mysterious concept that remains difficult for most people to wrap their heads around. Growing in popularity, meditation has become a little-known secret of our modern world. Something special that has influenced the lives of many in remarkable ways.
With increased awareness shedding light on the many life-enhancing benefits, science and research has also been able to play an important role in uncovering some of the mysteries that meditation contains beneath the surface.
Aside from being an effective way to find peace and inner stability, there are many more facts about meditation that may come as a surprise. Who would have thought that meditation actually cultivates strong willpower and boosts the immune system?
To dive a little deeper and take a closer look at some of these fascinating benefits, here are some fun and interesting mediation facts.
What Is Meditation?
The intended meaning of the word ‘meditation’ has been watered down through time, losing its true meaning along the way. The meaning has been reduced to a fraction of its root context. In modern day, it is commonly referred to as mental concentration.
This can take form in many ways, such as visualization, mindfulness, contemplation, or silent observation. But the root essence of meditation remains the same – regardless of the approach or technique. This can only be described as a state of conscious awareness.
The goal here is not to eliminate thoughts, but to become aware and eventually transcend the mind as we slip into an altered state of vibrant awareness. It is from this state of being where we can then assume the position of the silent observer. Imagine the observer as the one who is doing the mediation and not the one occupied with the scattered activities of the busy mind.
With practice, one can experience a thoughtless state of mind where deep profound peace and calmness takes place while completely alert.
Meditation is a channel through which we are able to communicate with the inner self on a much deeper level. Meditation is more of a universal act than a religious one and provides a powerful realm of stillness that we all have access to.
Origins and History
Meditation can be traced back to an ancient period where it is thought to have been practiced by a group of hunters and gatherers. Scriptures called “tantras” from The Vedas tribes of ancient India, dating back 5000 years, describe different meditation techniques.
Researchers believe that this community of hunters and gatherers are among the first to discover meditation as a gateway to altered states of consciousness. According to research, these people came to discover meditation while staring at the flames of burning fire.
Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.
Buddhism is largely credited in the expansion of mediation. Buddha (The Awakened One), was an ancient sage viewed as a mediation icon all over the world. Buddha teachings, which largely incorporate meditation practices, became very popular in Asia and were later adopted by other cultures and countries.
- Thousands of years had elapsed before mediation spread into the Western world. Cases of meditation practice in the west were recorded as late as mid-20th Century. Once researchers and philosophers of the time began taking a closer look at meditation from a scientific perspective – revealing many life enhancing benefits – its popularity spread like wildfire.
Physical benefits of meditation
Meditation has scientifically been proven to have numerous physical benefits on the human body. The body is extremely capable of healing itself and is always in the process of trying to repair back into a perfectly healthy organism. But through stress, negative thinking, and even minimal amounts of anxiety, we are blocking these processes from effectively taking place. By calming the mind and creating balance within the body, meditation provides the perfect environment for our bodies natural healing capacity to properly activate.
This is the reason some physicians may recommend meditation as a reprieve for common ailments and the promotion of natural healing.
Mind-Body medicine pioneer Deepak Chopra estimates that people who Meditate for many years often have a biological age that is between 5 and 10 years lower than their chronological age.
These benefits include:
- Increased production of serotonin. A low serotonin level in the body has been known to be the cause of depression and insomnia in many people.
- Increased blood flow hence slowing of the heart. This reduces exposure to heart-related complications.
- Lower blood pressures for individuals suffering from High Blood pressure.
- Increased tolerance to exercise.
- Helps in combating chronic diseases such as arthritis and even allergies.
- Slows down the rate of oxygen consumption hence reduces the effects of oxidation on the blood vessels.
- Enhanced immune system by promoting powerful and healthy energy flow.
Psychological Benefits of Meditation
Besides physical benefits, meditation also comes with quite a number of psychological benefits. In fact, meditation has always been thought to be an exercise of the mind so it is only logical that it benefits us psychologically.
The current revelation in brain science is the understanding of ‘neuroplasticity’. This means that the brain can change structure and function. What is very fascinating is the finding that meditation can do this, and does so in ways that are tremendously beneficial for health and well-being.
These benefits include:
- Improved self-esteem and confidence.
- Improved focus and concentration of an individual, by strengthening the prefrontal cortex.
- Decreased symptoms of depression.
- Enhanced levels of creativity.
- Decreased anxiety, fear, and phobia.
- Improved memory retention and learning curve rate.
- Helps in developing emotional maturity.
- Assists in developing intuition.
Meditation and Hypnosis
The two practices are closely related. In fact, hypnosis is believed to be a product of meditation. They both involve the transcendence of thought in order to communicate internally with a more intuitive side of our psyche. This state of mind is where we are most open to suggestions, which is why meditation is the ideal place for us to practice affirmation or plant our intentions.
Hypnotherapy largely involves retraining the unconscious mind through impacting suggestions that help in changing the mindset. In a way, this is a kind of meditation. As such, meditation can be viewed as being scientific since hypnotherapy is viewed as a scientific approach and is practiced by specialists in order to treat some conditions such as addiction.
Meditation Facts – Never Stop Exploring!
There are many other fascinating meditation facts that we cannot fully detail in one sitting. We will never fully comprehend how many ways meditation can benefit our physical and mental health as well as how we experience life.
While always remaining grateful for new knowledge and philosophy, this is a never-ending pursuit and exploration of mediation techniques, philosophies, and practices. It is evident that meditation has a lot to offer and if you have not yet begun to incorporate this amazing habit into your daily life, it is never too late to start.