Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation are numerous and scientifically validated, and one of the fundamental benefits is that meditation is a process wherein the means is equal to the goal: they are one in the same. Because meditation improves health, awareness, clarity of mind, and provides feelings of spiritual upliftment, the act of meditation is, in itself, a primary benefit of the process. The results are, in other words, instantly felt.

One study revealed that meditation can even provide positive and beneficial results under extraordinary circumstances, with unlikely participants.

A group of prisoners at a high-security federal penitentiary in the United States formed a meditation group which met once a month with a qualified instructor, and then weekly among the prisoner-students themselves, without the instructor. The group meetings were supervised by a clergy member who was a fulltime member of the prison’s administrative staff. After only one session with their teacher, all students reported increased peace of mind and mental contentment, even though 90 percent of the prisoners had no previous knowledge or experience with any form of meditation practice. The prison administration monitored the group, and reported that they became more cooperative, more inwardly-focused on self-development, less anxious, and less apt to use drugs or alcohol or engage in any form of violent behavior.

The prison meditation group began with five participants, and increased in popularity until there were more than 50 meditation students, and each of them meditated at least 15 minutes per day. The participants referred to meditation as “a furlough for the soul”, and said that when they were in a meditative state, they felt completely free from the environment, stress, and physical confinement of prison life. It was an escape for them, but not into denial and repression, but into expanded awareness.

Of course this is one unique and unusual example, but it helps to illustrate the point that the process itself is not a means to an ends, but is the ends itself; the practice is also the reward, and one does not have to wait for later results, but can enjoy them at once and immediately.

Meditation has been shown to reduce the heart rate, calm the central nervous system, and reduce high blood pressure, while at the same time increasing circulation and strengthening the immune system. Many patients are advised to meditate as a post-surgical therapy, especially after heart surgery. Psychologists use many forms of meditation to treat patients suffering from panic attacks, post traumatic stress disorder, phobia, depression, and a host of other disorders.

Naturally, most people who regularly practice meditation do so not because they are suffering from physical, mental, or social problems, but as a simple and organic way to enhance their quality of life experience. Meditation not only helps with physical functions such as respiration and circulation, but it reduces stress, clears the mind of unwanted static, and provides a feeling of well-being that provides a natural “high”. Meditation can be practiced by children as well as the elderly, and can be adapted to both sedentary and busy lifestyles.

Those who meditate report positive benefits including increased energy, increased libido, enhanced memory, and improved ability to multi-task, work within normally stressful environments, or without needing as much sleep. People with sleep disorder often report that they sleep restfully without intrusive nightmares or insomnia, after practicing meditation. Athletes and their professional trainers report increased stamina, mental agility, endurance, and positive competitive spirit and confidence, after meditation is incorporated into their training regimen. In fact, many forms of competitive sports such as martial arts are based upon a system of meditation, incorporated into the sport itself.

Whatever your motivation for meditation, the results are plentiful, and include a feeling of bliss, internal calm and peacefulness, and a heightened experience of ecstasy within the meditation session and the pre-meditation and post-meditation hours of one’s daily life routine. And we can all use more happiness in life, especially when it comes in a form that is healthy and free of charge, and can be induced anywhere, anytime, and any place.