Starting Out on The Meditation Journey

If meditation really works then we want to engage in it.

Those who watched the video that was the central component of yesterday’s post will not have missed the references by Ted Meissner that scientific, double-blind evidence shows that meditation offers benefits for us humans.

Both Jean and I are especially interested in learning more and, hopefully, finding an appropriate meditation group in our nearest town, Grants Pass.

We would also welcome feedback and advice from any of you good people who have trod this path before.

For example, when one conducts a quick internet search into the different forms of meditation there are dozens of websites that are returned in the search findings. Almost choosing one website at random, the Visual Meditation website declares there are 7 Types of Meditation.Β  As in:

  • Transcendental Meditation (TM)
  • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM)
  • Kundalini
  • Guided Visualization
  • Qi Gong
  • Zazen
  • Mindfulness

To my uneducated eye, not one of those types seems to accord with the type supported by the American Meditation Society:

OUR MISSION

  • To provide instruction in meditation as taught by the founder of AMS, Gururaj Ananda Yogi.
  • To preserve and share the universal teachings of Gururaj with integrity and wisdom.
  • To provide a place where those who wish to unfold the inner self may do so in the company of other like-minded people.

Back to the plot! For this post is about the science.

The following video seemed worthy of sharing with you.

I watched the first 10 minutes before deciding it should be shared. By the time this post is published Jean and I will have watched it to the end. [20:45 yesterday evening. Jean and I have just finished watching the Bob Roth video below. It was both fascinating and very helpful!!]

The Aspen Institute

Published on Jun 26, 2016

Published studies have documented the many physical and mental health benefits of meditation, including decreased pain, better immune function, less anxiety and depression, a heightened sense of well-being, and greater happiness and emotional self-control. Google Scholar turns up almost 700,000 research documents on meditation, among them imaging studies that show increased activity in brain regions associated with attention, a higher volume of grey matter, and lessened amygdala response to emotional stimuli. What actually happens in the brain when we meditate? Why is meditation so nourishing to the mind, body and spirit?

Perri Peltz, Interviewer
Bob Roth

But a search of the YouTube website using the search term “meditation science” brought up many other links to shorter videos.

I selected the following (2:23 mins) because it is presented by Ferris Jabr who is an Associate Editor with Scientific American magazine.

Bottom line to my way of thinking is that this is something worth committing to once we know much more about engaging in meditation.

Your experiences most welcomed.

(And, of course, when it comes to chilling out for hours regularly each day then there’s another thing we can learn from our beloved dogs! No better demonstrated than by Brandy yesterday morning in the following photograph!)

15 thoughts on “Starting Out on The Meditation Journey

  1. I have practiced Kundalini which is yoga as well as Qi Gong. Both interlock breath & movement in a gentle way to calm thoughts & open the spirit.
    Good luck to you & Jean on your journey.

  2. I have been practiced several kind of meditation and I choose to use the breathing as a way to find my inner peace. Breath in by the nose and out by the mouth in a natural way, more and more calm, while you sit or lay comfortable. By time we learn to release all the thoughts, as show up, while we are doing our meditation, so we can go deeper and deeper into our mind. I hope, this might help you.

  3. Those who don’t meditate don’t creatively think.
    This being said, there are many ways of meditating. Much more than is usually considered.

    The root of the word meditate, is the Proto Indo-European “med”: “taking appropriate measures”. Hence the Romans “meditari”, to reflect, consider, think it over.
    The basic argument of some meditators is that they can put their mind in a different state, and logically and emotionally approach things anew. Calm and rest can do this. Right.

    But so can violence and passion.
    Thinking about the same subject under very heavy exertion gives very different approaches and results than doing it half asleep in one’s bed as Leonardo Da Vinci recommended to.
    One can be swimming in the sea, and watch a giant shark pass by, and it puts oneself in a very different mental state.
    Actually, putting one in a completely different meditative state is the main advantage of extreme sports, and why they capture their practitioners so well.

    For example, enthusiasts can talk about approaching meditation through breathing all they want. Diving so deep in the sea, with just one’s lungs, so deep only the sandy bottom of the sea shines, FORCES one to master one’s breathing (and heart, and peripheral body, and brain).

    A human brain is a marvellous thing. Pain is generally experienced only when it’s profitable to do so, in light of the overwhelming necessity of survival of self, or significant other(s). The best way to be reminded of that is to go extreme. Sitting in a lotus position without moving a neuron, won’t do it.

    1. Patrice, what a wonderful response and one, if I might say, has Patrice Ayme stamped all over it. Perhaps meditation could be seen as a method of connecting mind and body.

  4. I have dabbled in meditation, ‘guided’ (where the speaker for the group will paint a picture for you with words to take the mind inwards) and ‘non giuded’ where the breath becomes the focus and an emptied mind becomes a vessel for connection. None had a specific title or methodology, but when it works well, a) you don’t fall asleep (very easy to do when a relaxed state is achieved) and b) you are conscious but all time stands still and you are aware of yourself in everything around you. It is the most blissful state that I have ever had in my life…having only achieved it a couple of times. I am not a religious person, but I heard a very apt analogy for meditation…
    ‘Praying is talking to God, and Meditation is listening to God.’ I prefer to think of it as listening to the Universe and everything in it.πŸŽ†βš‘πŸŒ‹πŸŒŽπŸŒŠπŸŒŒπŸŒ»πŸŒΈπŸ€πŸπŸŒ³πŸœπŸŸπŸ¬πŸ‹πŸΈπŸπŸ¨πŸ―πŸ˜πŸ΄πŸ„πŸΊπŸ“πŸ€πŸ©πŸ±πŸ’‘πŸ™ Namaste

  5. Paul you know me.. Yes, I meditate, and took it one stage further to do deep trance work.. We have forgotten how to just Breathe.. using our breath has wonderful health benefits.. Qi Gong has enormous benefits also.. and it was a life saver for me.. Combining Breath with exercise.. Pulling in the Chi energy and understanding our Energy bodies as we open up our various Chakra’s ,
    Look up Spring Forest Qi Gong with Master Chunyi Lin.. His exercises and my using of his technique in Qi Gong healed my body from Fibromyalgia pain.
    I have a post somewhere upon my healing journey.. and contribute Meditation and Qi Gong to helping me out of the pit I had fallen in at the time. πŸ™‚

    As you may also know I took meditation classes eventually and explored deeper meditation into trance states..
    I would recommend any form of meditation.. And one does not have to sit crossed legged to go into meditation..
    I meditate in my garden .. and can fall into that mindful state while weeding..
    I am sure many ‘fishermen’ do the same.. πŸ™‚

    Great subject close to my heart. And wish you and Jean well in practising it..
    Blessings Sue xx

  6. Good for you Paul πŸ’› In the Yogic tradition , meditation begins with focusing the mind on one thing. It can be on the breath, an image, fire, counting, or repeating a mantra (as in TM). The point is to come to a point, and then transcend into the nothing ness beyond. There are several lineages in Buddhism also, which are more about bringing awarenesss to your thoughts, feelings and sensations. and alowing the breath to bring you back to the present. This is Vipassana or mindfullness meditation, which is the most popular kind based on the research by Jon Kabat Zinn in his MBSR course at Massachusetts General.
    I took a 100hour course on Meditation at Kripalu Center. The BEST resource that outlines the lineages and variations, as well as the neuroscience is “Meditation for Dummies” by Stephen Bodian. He is no dummy thats for sure!
    There is no one answer… its about finding your way to awareness and peace.

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