The Benefits Of Meditation
(A Realistic View)
Trying to isolate a specific list of all the benefits of meditation
is like trying to spell out all the benefits of sleep. The list would be very, very long and probably would never be complete.
Like sleep, effective mediation probably affects every aspect of the mind-body system.
Two categories of reported benefits
First, there are the benefits that have been reported by people who have meditated regularly. These are often referred to as 'anecdotal' reports because they have not been scientifically validated in a laboratory.
Then there are the benefits as determined through properly conducted scientific studies.
Some questions about scientific studies
Even with scientific studies, many questions can be asked, such as:
- Who conducted the research?
- Were there any vested interests that could affect the results or their interpretation?
- Were the studies and results subjected to peer reviews?
- Have the studies been published in a recognised peer-review publication?
- How large was the group of subjects who participated?
- What was the composition of the group (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)?
- What were the equivalent statistics of the control group?
- And ... very importantly, which meditation technique was the one studied?
When one considers all these variables it becomes clear that we must be very circumspect about how much credence we give to reported benefits of meditation.
Scientific research information
The meditation technique that has been subjected to the most scientific research is without doubt the technique of Transcendental Meditation (the TM Technique). As at November 2009 the TM Organization's Scientific Research Web page states:
"More than 600 scientific studies verifying the wide-ranging benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique have been conducted at 250 independent universities and medical schools in 33 countries during the past 40 years."
Here are just two of the charts showing some research results.
Statistical meta-analysis of all available research (42 independent outcomes) indicated that the effect of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Programme on increasing self-actualization is much greater than that of other forms of meditation or relaxation. Self-actualization refers to realizing more of one’s inner potential, expressed in every area of life: integration and stability of personality, self-regard, emotional maturity, capacity for warm interpersonal relationships, and adaptive response to challenges. Reference: Journal of Social Behavior and Personality 6(5) (1991): 189–248.
Source of chart and text
Subjects practising the Transcendental Meditation Programme, measured once prior to beginning the technique and again two months later, showed significant positive improvements in personality traits, including spontaneity, self-regard, and self-acceptance, when compared to a matched control group. Reference: Journal of Counseling Psychology 20 (1973): 565–566; and 19 (1972): 184–187; Perceptual and Motor Skills 39 (1974): 623–628. Source of chart and text
You can browse their website for more details, if you wish.
One of the principal researchers in the world on the benefits of meditation is David Orme-Johnson, PhD. He introduces his website as being an "expression of my own understanding and personal experiences, stated as candidly and as clearly as I can." If you're interested in the research on meditation, Dr Orme-Johnson's site is worth a visit.
Warning about 'benefits of meditation' claims!
There are many varying mental practices that are referred to as 'meditation' techniques or methods, and I imagine that it is often assumed that all meditation techniques have the same effect. So the impression is drawn that the scientifically validated benefits of one specific meditation technique automatically apply equally to all methods of meditation. This impression or assumption is wrong.
So when people talk about the benefits of meditation, satisfy yourself that the benefits of thoroughly researched meditation techniques are not being loosely claimed as the benefits of all and sundry meditation practices.
What do actual meditating people say?
Rather than repeat what has been thoroughly covered on websites such as those mentioned above, and repeated on many others, I'd rather focus on what people have actually reported to me. These reports were made after using the method that I switched over to after thirty-odd years of using the TM Technique twice daily. It is called Conscious Mental Rest© (CMR).
So ... click on this link to read about the specific benefits of meditation as experienced by people using Conscious Mental Rest©. On the page that opens you'll also find links to additional comments and testimonials about CMR.
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Table of Contents for this Meditation Benefits theme
The Benefits Of Meditation - A Realistic View
Some Benefits Of Meditation As Reported To Me
Increased Happiness Results From Meditation
Easy Access To Quieter Consciousness - Feedback
Explanation Of What Causes Meditation Benefits
- The Qualities Of The Unified Field That Are Enlivened
- The Benefits Of Meditation Are Subtle And Progressive
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