Neuroscience pushes meditation into the mainstream

BY JEFF STRICKLER Minneapolis Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS Propelled by technological breakthroughs in neuroscience allowing researchers to monitor brain activity, the medical community is increasingly aware that meditation has beneficial physical effects on the brain.

Such studies are being joined by other reports demonstrating that advantages include everything from raising the effectiveness of flu vaccines to lowering rejection rates for organ transplants.

“Meditation has become a huge topic” in medical circles, said Dr. Selma Sroka, medical director of the Hennepin County Medical Center Alternative Medicine Clinic. “The health benefits are so strong that, if nothing else, people should learn the relaxation techniques.”

The practice is being embraced by an audience that isn’t interested in its religious contexts, typically Buddhist or Hindu, but is fascinated by its mechanics and techniques. Sroka compared the West’s co-opting of meditation to what happened to yoga, which came to this country as a spiritual discipline and has morphed into a form of physical fitness.

Some would-be meditators opt simply to ignore the religious element, said Mark Nunberg, co-founder of Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis. Although his center is a Buddhist organization, at least half the people who enroll in classes are there just for instruction in meditation.

“It’s the same practice” whether it involves religion or not, he said. “It’s training the mind to be in the present moment in a relaxed way. It’s the most practical thing in the world; some might even say it’s just common sense.”

You don’t have to call it meditation. In fact, Sroka said, a lot of people would prefer that you don’t…………………………………..

READ THE PREFECT ARTICLE ABOUT MEDITATION 

 

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