TheScience of Meditation and the Body As weprogress with time we see how a large number of individuals everywherethroughout the world that have benefitted enormously from meditation. With eachhaving their own story to tell they can describe their experiences and tell youhow meditation changed them vigorously by lifting them to an alternate planespiritually and mentally.
However, although there is no doubt about the factthat mediation has its spiritual and mental benefits, that is not all thatmeditation can do to and for you. Besides spiritual and mental improvements,you can expect to see an increase in your physical health as well. This paper examines the science of meditationand its impacts on the human body. Through multiple studies we will look at howBuddhist meditation practices have enhanced the livelihood of people’s bodiesphysically, psycologically, internally and externally.
Buddhismand Health. Bodhidharma is the 28thPatriarch of Buddhism in a line of descent from the Buddha via his discipleMah?k??yapa, Buddha’s successor after his death (Site) Bodhidharma was a spiritedteacher who commended all Buddhists, monks or lay people to make their besteffort in this lifetime. Since he was opposed to the idea of earning merits bymaking donations he acknowledges that everyone has Buddha-nature and encouragedeach and every one to be Awaken. Awakening is uncovering to the reality thathas always been and by doing so one must experience the Four Noble Truths whichis the process of understanding and experiencing suffrage.
Besides being knownas the father of Zen Buddhism, he remains today as a prime symbol of determination,willpower, self-discipline, and Awakening.For Buddhism, physicalsuffering is always going to be a part of life no matter what. From old age anddeath, sickness is unavoidable and causes us to suffer to some degree. Thisdoesn’t mean that we shouldn’t relieve pain through accessible medicalresources, but if we continue to suffer, we should accept, acknowledge, andmindfully endured it. Inside the Buddhist tradition, physical pain and illnesscan provide an occurrence to the development of healthy and alluring mentalstates including avoidance and tolerance(Site) Meaning that it isn’t theoverall concept off being sick, but rather how we respond to it that hasspiritual value in the Buddhist tradition. In his lessons, the Buddha censuredany type of self-mortification and abuse of either the body or mind.
Underlyingthis way to dealing with wellbeing and illness is Buddhism’s view that the bodyand mind are interrelated and interdependent. Meaning that the body is asignificant instrument whose great wellbeing is simple for boosting spiritualdevelopment. With that being said however, meditation practices, which is a centerpiece of the Buddhist traditions, are composed to some degree to avoid andaddress physical and mental illness as well.ZenMeditation Zenmeditation is a spiritual practice that promotes awareness and presence throughthe undivided engagement of mind and body (site) When one engages in Zenmeditation, there is a three-step procedure that is highly encouraged forpeople to follow: adjusting body, breathing and mind. When we talk aboutadjusting the body, the change of the body intends to set oneself up (one’smind-body) such that one can accomplish an ideal condition of being free. Oneway to accomplish this is by changing eating habits, engage in physicalexercise, and avoiding behaviors that go against nurturing a healthy mind-bodycondition.
Also in adjusting the body we recognize two sitting postures: thelotus-posture and the half-lotus posture that contribute to helping one calmthe mind (site) Secondpractice is the adjustment of breathing. The majority of benefits composed fromZen meditation are closely tied to the practice of breathing. Zen breathing is a shift from unconscious,involuntary breathing to conscious, voluntary breathing (site) This means thatZen meditation is a way of regulating the unconscious-autonomic order of ourbeing. This exercise has the effect of bringing together one’s mind-body withfresh life-energy and exposing negative and toxic energy out of the ones system.Zen breathing has a way of naturally increasing the positive correlationbetween the activity of the autonomic nervous system and emotion( site) Neurophysiologically,it just so happens that the center where breathing is regulated and the regionwhere emotion is generated coincide with each other(site)This means that theconscious breathing psychologically affects the pattern of how one generatesemotion, and at the same time it also has a neurophysiological effect on howthe autonomous activity of the unconscious is regulated. Lastand final practice is adjusting the mind. Once the first two practices arecovered the next is to adjust the mind.
This means that we consciously move toenter a state of meditation. Meditation conditions one to sit with their selfand psychologically isolate themselves from the external world. With this, oneenters into an internal world of psyche(Site). Once an individual tries toenter the world of psych?, a lot of things start surfacing in the field of thepersons meditative awareness.
These are mostly things that have negativelyimpacted the history of someones life, or things the individual has consciouslytried to suppress over time for various reasons. A psychological reason that aperson experiences these acts of refreshed suppressed memories is due to thefact that the person has lowered the level of conscious activity, by assumingthe meditation posture, and doing the breathing exercise(site) As an individualcontinues these practices they come to experience the concept “no mind” whichmean “there is no conscious activity of the mind that is associated withego-consciousness in the everyday standpoint” (site) In other word, no-mind isa free mind that is not delimited by ideas, desires, and images. Helping oneremove themselves from cognitive negativity.EffectsSince we have revealedsome historical context in Buddhism and broke down the key practices in Zenreflection we will take a look at how these practices have added to enhancingpeople groups mental state and physical state (internally and externally).Presently we concentrate on the impacts of different reflective practices onthree markers of internal physical wellbeing, one marker of external wellbeing,and one marker of mental wellbeing. For the internal physical health, we willlook at the immune system activity, cardiovascular health and pain perception.For the external physical health portion, we will look at how meditation effectthe Epigenetic Clock.
For our final marker we will look at the mental healthaspect such as emotional regulation and psychological state. For each, we summarizethe literature linking the health-related indicator to meditative practice.