Wednesday, June 22, 2011
What the Research Shows
Over the past year there have been a series of research articles detailing the beneficial effects of a regular meditation practice. Here is a summary of what the research is finding. What follows is a short list of some of the areas where they have found that a meditation practice has had lasting benefit: stress (this is an easy one!), psychotherapy, fibromyalgia, smoking cessation, depression, anxiety, anger, cognitive processing, chronic pain, eating disorders, post traumatic stress to name the ones that have been studies the most. If you take a close look at this list you might notice that all of them have an underlying current of pain and suffering. If we call to mind the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths we can see that the First Noble Truth---suffering---still resonates 2500 years after he gave this teaching. And, the teachings on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness interestingly begin with the Mindfulness of Breathing. So what we can take away from the the Buddha's teaching and current research is that he was on to something---that a place to begin to relieve suffering is through Mindfulness of Breathing, i.e. through a regular meditation practice. Here we are 2500 years later acknowledging what he tried to get us to understand 25 centuries ago.