So what is meditation anyway? Isn’t it when you sit cross-legged on the floor, close your eyes, put your hands on your knees, and make humming noises? Well, there was a study that showed as a result of regular meditation for a period of eight weeks, M.R.I. brain scans found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, the area in the brain responsible for memory and learning. The M.R.I. images also showed a decrease of gray matter in the amygdala, a part of the brain related to stress and anxiety. The control group that didn’t practice meditation did not show any changes. A 2009 study proposes that meditation may reduce blood pressure in patients with coronary heart disease, and a 2007 study suggests that meditators pay attention longer. A 2008 study implies that there is even the possibility that meditation makes people more empathic.
Some known types of meditation include Transcendental Meditation, Zen meditation, mindfulness meditation, Buddhist meditation, Taoist meditation, and Sahaja meditation. Transcendental Meditation was brought to the western world by guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1958, and this technique trademarks on reaching a transcendental state through use of a mantra. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what you have control over in your life. Mindfulness is about focusing on the now and the present moment during your everyday life, to achieve a more relaxed body and nervous system. Sahaja meditation focuses on the chakras and energy centers in the body to allow the energy within you to travel throughout your body so you can achieve a state of meditation. Each type of meditation has a goal of focusing on breathing, a mantra, energy centers, affirmations, or an image in order to achieve a thoughtless state where you are completely in the present moment, which is the state of meditation.
David Lynch, writer and director of the movie Mulholland Drive, is a huge advocate of Transcendental Meditation. There was a period when he wouldn’t work on any movies so he could spread the word of meditation and build “peace palaces” around the world where thousands of people could live, eat, sleep, and meditate all day. He believes that Transcendental Meditation is the answer for all looking for true happiness. He said, “Things like traumatic stress and anxiety and tension and sorrow and depression and hate and bitter, selfish anger and fear start to lift away. And that’s a huge sense of freedom when that heavy weight of negativity begins to lift. So it’s like gold flowing in from within and garbage going out. The things in life that used to almost kill you, stress you, depress you, make you sad, make you afraid – they have less and less power. It’s like you’re building up a flak jacket of protection. You’re starting to glow with this from within.” He has a $7 billion plan to create world peace using Transcendental Meditation.
As you can see, meditation has proven benefits, and David Lynch sure lives and breathes by meditation and believes everyone should do the same. Meditation can even improve relationships when you are more relaxed and introspective. As mentioned earlier, meditation may make people more empathic, which of course benefits relationships. If you do wish to give meditation a try, make sure to choose a comfortable spot and be patient as you’ll need to focus and stay still for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Bhanoo, Sindya N. “How Meditation May Change the Brain.” How Meditation May Change the Brain – NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/how-meditation-may-change-the-brain/>.
Hoffman, Claire. “David Lynch Is Back…as a Guru of Transcendental Meditation.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 24 Feb. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/david-lynch-transcendental-meditation.html?pagewanted=all>.
“How Is Transcendental Meditation Different?” The Transcendental Meditation Program. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://www.tm.org/tm-is-different>.
Kiks. “Different Types of Meditation.” Different Types of Meditation – Project Meditation. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://www.project-meditation.org/a_mt4/different_types_of_meditation.html>.