Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Investment In The Spiritual Life

Is there ROI in the spiritual life? What do you get from meditation, mindfulness, introspection, etc.? Is it worth it? Who cares? I'm on the side of actually caring for things like this, but in practice, I'm not so good. Perhaps, because I can see the direct ROI from riding my bike, instead of meditating. So, instead of pretending I have the answers, I decided to look for them. First, I found a great source on the subject, here. Below are some excerpts you might want to read and learn more about...

Patricia Norris, Ph.D., Director of the Biofeedback and Psychophysiology Clinic at the Menninger Foundation, reports: "In our practice at Menninger we use meditative techniques to enhance immune functioning in cancer, AIDS, and autoimmune patients. We also use meditation in conjunction with neuro-feedback to normalize brain rhythms and chemistry in alcohol and drug addiction, as well as other addictive conditions. Almost all of our patients use meditative techniques in learning self-regulation for disorders such as anxiety and hypertension, and for stress management. We consider meditation a recommended practice for anyone seeking high-level wellness."
And, of course a bulleted list...
  • Deep rest-as measured by decreased metabolic rate, lower heart rate, and reduced work load of the heart.
  • Lowered levels of cortisol and lactate-two chemicals associated with stress.
  • Reduction of free radicals- unstable oxygen molecules that can cause tissue damage. They are now thought to be a major factor in aging and in many diseases.
  • Decreased high blood pressure.
  • Higher skin resistance. Low skin resistance is correlated with higher stress and anxiety levels.
  • Drop in cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is associated with cardiovascular disease.
  • Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing. This has been very helpful to asthma patients.
  • Younger biological age. On standard measures of aging, long-term Transcendental Meditation (TM) practitioners (more than five years) measured 12 years younger than their chronological age.
  • Higher levels of DHEAS in the elderly. An additional sign of youthfulness through Transcendental Meditation (TM); lower levels of DHEAS are associated with aging.

4 comments:

Matthew Ozvat said...

Love it.

Being an over-eater, over-achiever, over-(fill in the blank) as well usually comes with high-energy, high-expectations of self and others, and finally high-disappointment.

This led to anxiety, stress which then became overt to my friends and family. However, I found a balance.

Mindful meditation prolly put 10 years on my life. However, it was not the specific meditation that aided me. It was simply two things that were achieved and can be achieved by other means(MTB'ing):

First, all mediations are a practice of mind focus. Allowing one and only one activity to occupy my mind allowed my mind to rest from the other stresses in my life.

This allowed me a renewed approach the next day. It gave my brain a break from solving the problem.

Second, after ending the focus meditation I would say to myself at the end of the meditation/bike-ride.

"I dedicate the peacefulness I may have taken from this focus practice to those that do not have the opportunity of this experience."

The above dedication helps me become humble and appreciative with everything I do and have in life. It lessens the pains I will experience with situations so I can be more patient, compassionate, and mindful.

It took awhile but consistency and sincerity was the key.

walkert said...

WOW... Thanks for sharing... I learned a lot from your comment...

Matthew Ozvat said...

well,

I will admit it worked/works for me; however, I can quickly fall of the band-wagon.

The next day I am: WTF! , Get out of my way you arse-hole hippy! I quickly get caught up in disappointment and dissatisfaction!

I have to remind myself to chill ;)

walkert said...

Phrase of the day: I have to remind myself to chill