Meditation (łac. meditatio – delving into thoughts, reflection) – practices aimed at self-improvement, especially practiced by Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism and recently also by some psychotherapeutic schools.

Yoga – cleaning the mind of any thoughts and ideas, stopping mental activity – calm observation,  watching with the mind.

 other techniques – active visualization: creation, building (especially Tibetan Buddhism).

PURPOSE OF MEDITATION

• Improvement of physical and mental health.

• Developing mastery in specific arts or crafts.

  For this purpose, samurai practiced meditation

• Achievement of enlightenment.

• Achieving full control over your body and mind (yoga, fakirs).

• Practice the dying process and learn to control it

 (Tibetan Buddhism).

• Removing the fear of death.

The most important types of meditation

Focus on a single object, such as a flower, candle or breath.

Mindfulness meditation or developing mindfulness (or presence of mind) based on four subjects.

Movement meditation, for example through Qigong exercises.

Mantra Repetition

Visualizations – consciously directing the mind towards certain ideas.

Work with the mind

The basis of most varieties of meditation is work with the mind. There are two main

 (and opposing) ways of doing this work:

• Inward meditations – they are usually intended to delve into personality, to change, calm down or strengthen various aspects of it, obtain certain answers or mutually agree on various elements (trans, hypnosis, visualization, mantras, tai-chi , yoga, sometimes with eyes closed).

• Outward meditations – usually aimed at increasing alertness and improving concentration and spontaneity. They let you live “here and now” with less baggage of the past and future. For example, most Zen techniques fall into this group. They are usually done with open eyes. Many of the meditations in this group can be done during daily activities.

Meditation is an excellent method of SELF HEALING, both body and mind, which is why it is increasingly practiced in hospitals and in the process of psychotherapy. Joseph Murphy calls this meditation “MEDICATION.” Diseases, like life failures, are most often the result of incorrect thinking, stress and noise which have become an inseparable part of our lives, which is why the easiest, safest and healthiest way to get rid of them without medication is to practice MEDITATION.

Safety of meditation

Meditations are generally safe. Psychotherapy -> “better insight”.

It should be emphasized that only a few cases of adverse effects of meditation were recorded and only among people with mental disorders.

Psychotics or people for whom contact with their own subconscious and emotions can be dangerous (e.g. suffering from severe depression or anxiety) – a problem.

For people with severe mental illness, according to prof. Richard P. Hayes’s, the condition generally gets worse (schizophrenia, cyclophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Science and meditation

Meditation is often of interest to NEUROLOGY, PSYCHOLOGY, especially transcendental one and PHYSIOLOGY.

The direct physiological effects of meditation are:

• Reduced blood pressure

• Reduced heart rate

• Reduced metabolism

• Reducing the frequency of brain waves

• Decrease in blood lactic acid levels (associated with anxiety reduction).

• Increased electrical resistance of the skin (associated with deep relaxation)

• In meditations directed outwards, the effect of habituation disappears, especially the auditory one.

All effects except the last one are also observed during sleep; however, during proper meditation, a person maintains and even strengthens consciousness.

AND FOR A LONGER PERSPECTIVE? WHAT DOES MEDITATION GIVE US ?

Physiologically

• Persistent differences between brain wave frequencies in front and back of the brain

• Higher levels of serotonin in the brain

Psychologically

• Sense of mind harmony

• Greater self-acceptance and confidence

• Increased ability to concentrate

• Tendency to experience life “here and now” instead of dwelling on the past and thinking about the future

• Personality improvement (observed decrease in MMPI-2 test scales)

• Reduced susceptibility to stress

• Reducing the role of psychological defense mechanisms – less hypocritical picture of the world

• Increased level of life energy

• Increased objectivity (the ability to not judge the situation from your point of view)

• Easier access to emotions

• Improved empathy

• Reduced  level of fear, including death

• Reduction of psychosomatic disorders

• Increased sense of internal control

• Greater spontaneity.

There were some attempts of teaching emotional control to prisoners using vipassana meditation. These prisoners were more willing to cooperate with the authorities, were less inclined to drugs and significantly less often returned to prison after being released. A similar project also exists in Polandand the practice (as of 2005) takes place in several Lower Silesian prisons.

Meditation and health

• Research on meditation as a treatment method was conducted at the Harvard’s Mind / Body Clinic. Improved or cured in the following diseases:

• hypertension,

• cardiac arrhythmias,

• infertility for unknown reasons (psychosomatic disorders),

• PMS (menstrual syndrome),

• chronic pain,

• migraine,

• insomnia,

• psychosomatic disorders,

• mild depression

• anxiety,

• reduced self-esteem.

• At work, people used sick leave less often.