5 Significant Benefits of Meditation You Need Now
Let’s first address one of the major benefits of meditation–lessening stress. Stress, that feeling of agitation familiar to all of us in response to the pressures of daily, modern life is awful, pure and simple.
These are stressful times. The pandemic is just beginning to abate but still looms large. The United States is in the throes of political division and strife, and Global Warming is an existential threat.
Sound familiar? And then there’s the stress of our day-to-day lives. It takes a toll. A toll many of us can relate to. That’s where meditation comes it—stress reduction in our daily lives. The first major benefit.
The Impact of Stress
The second benefit is also stress-related—the health benefit. According to Charles L. Raison, MD, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, “It’s hard to think of an illness in which stress and mood don’t figure,” Raison is quoted as having said at WebMD.“ We know stress is a contributor to all the major modern killers:
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases
- Heart disease
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)
- New (or new strains of) infectious diseases (vulnerable to weak immune systems)
- Intentional self-harm (suicide)”
According to author Hanna Braime, “Stress and anxiety wreak havoc with our immune system, leaving us susceptible to all kinds of nasties—particularly during the winter. Developing a regular meditation practice reduces the amount of stress-related chemicals in our body and also leaves us less likely to turn to unhealthy coping strategies to deal with the stress.”
Dr. Raison led a study that showed that meditation significantly improves both physical and emotional responses to stress. In the study, people who meditated daily for six weeks showed less activation of their immune systems and less emotional upset when they were then put into a stressful situation. Physiologically, one reason for the improvement in these situations is that meditation “…reduces cortisol levels (the body’s natural stress hormone) This leads to lower levels of stress and a greater sense of well-being.
We only have to examine the significant increase in people using anti-anxiety medication in recent years for proof of the impact of stress on the U.S. population and the “epidemic” of the use of hard drugs caused by modern lifestyles. In contrast, Stanford University researcher Emma Seppälä found that, “Meditation allows people to take charge of their own nervous system and emotions….Studies have shown improved ability to [permanently] regulate emotions in the brain.”
Here are the results of a few more studies about the health benefits. Meditation:
- Decreases stress according to Psychology Today’s issue on Stress.
- Effects genes that control stress and immunity, Bloomberg, NCBI, American Psychosomatic Medicine Journal, Journal of International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology
- Strengthens the immune system weakened by stress, leaving us less susceptible to all kinds of illness, particularly during the winter ((study 3) and (study 4)).
Benefit 3: Rest and Relaxation
For some period of time, however brief a meditation we might undertake, the ego/body/mind disconnects from the three-dimensional reality that is our human lives. This pause allows us to return to our natural state of peace and well-being before returning to the stress-inducing world each of us lives in.
Just 6 minutes, twice a day, as outlined in my book The Meditation Book, generate an experience of peace and well-being. My Higher Consciousness Meditation process is a fabulous way to begin your day in the right frame of mind before rushing out of the door for morning tasks or before traffic madness takes over. A second sit-down meditation before going to bed will result in a night of more restful sleep.
In addition, you can use 6-second mindfulness exercises throughout the day to reinforce the respite that comes with a morning meditation. For example, just taking a Sacred Breath, breathing in and allowing Spirit to flow into your consciousness, pausing, then letting Spirit radiate out to your world on the out-breath, can instantly put you into a moment of peace that can calm you for an hour.
Increased Creativity (Benefit 4)
According to the research Deepak Chopra has done, “Meditators experience more Alpha brain waves, which are associated with creativity and aha moments. It’s been my experience that meditation gives us the ability to be fully real, present, connected and heart-directed in every area of our lives. As a consequence, we can reach greater levels of performance, creativity, intuition and higher-order thinking.
Benefit 5: Soul Contact
For those interested in such things, Higher Consciousness Meditation is intended to put you in touch with the Spirit that lies within each of us. And when Spirit, Eternal Life Force, Buddha Mind, Christ Consciousness, or whatever you want to call it, enters into that moment of now that uplifts our state of mind. Our vibration and our sense of well-being increases.
While pausing for a moment or a few moments, our higher-level vibratory senses are activated: calm, clarity, confidence, and lightness. The stranglehold of stress is loosened. After doing this for a few days or weeks, a more frequent sense of peace amid the chaos seems possible. The spell of the human experience is broken.
Higher Consciousness Meditation is a great coping mechanism, pure and simple. It is a way to help combat the incidence of stress and its effects.
I love it that science is studying and documenting the benefits of mediation. We all owe Jon Kabat-Zinn and his fellow scientists at the University of Massachusetts, a vote of thanks for the work they have done to show, through the scientific method, the proof of concept beyond the anecdotal evidence that has come down to us for centuries. Every few months,
it seems, they push out the boundaries of the field into new discoveries and validations. While the steps seem slow and incremental, they are laying the foundation for what I think is a transformation in the way we as humans, experience our lives. A transformation that is evolutionary and will allow us to grow into our new selves as people and as a species.
This latter point was highlighted in a report done by CBS Evening News. CBS News confirmed what we have all heard. Religious services continue to be attended less and less by the U.S. population. More and more people are saying “I’m Spiritual, not religious”.
The most interesting thing that was said in this piece is that about 53% of adults in this country said that they experienced peace and well-being at least once per month and that today the figure is 60%. I was amazed. I would have thought the percentage to be closer to 20 than 60. Lots of folks are having at least a glimpse into what I like to call Five- Dimensional Reality, that Place that we all know, where peace and well-being live. Where the experience of peace and well-being is a common occurrence.
This shows to me that we are in fact evolving as a species, and perhaps faster than any of us are aware. Into a new species increasingly comfortable with higher vibrational experiences: love, peace, joy, happiness and the like.
Meditation has contributed much to this development in human consciousness.
Follow me on Social Media