Oakville Zen Meditation

#387 BENEFITS of MINDFULNESS: brain-mind, body & societal Feb 13 22

                                               Benefits of mindfulness-based meditation 2

In this talk, I will not describe again what mindfulness meditation is all about but look at its beneficial effects.

Also, no one should look at mindfulness meditation as the Holy Grail which will fix all our problems.

Over the last 25 years or so, science has been able to prove, clinically, the benefits of this mindfulness-based meditation (M&M) on our cognitive, emotional, body functions, and societal skills.

Remember also, the benefits of M&M are cumulative with practice.

For the purpose of clarity, the talk is divided into 3 paragraphs according to where mindfulness is acting.

There are Brain-Mind, Body, and societal.

Benefits of M&M on our Brain/Mind:

First, a word about neuroplasticity:

    Using sophisticated neuroimaging technologies, mindfulness-based meditation (M&M) is a key-enhancing

        the factor regarding neuroplasticity that is ongoing reconstruction and adaptation of our brain neural wiring 

        and functions according to our ongoing cognitive, emotional, and physical needs. MM is to the brain 

        what exercising is to our muscles.

        The wiring and activity of our emotional brain are reduced whereas our concentration, cognitive and

        rational thinking areas show increased wiring and activities.

 1- Psychological impacts of M&M:

         -Paying more attention to, and therefore, having better control of our ongoing thoughts and

              negative emotions w/o analysis, judgment, and decision.

             Learning to be aware of our thoughts and emotions is a critical first step to controlling them. No other way.

          -Since our ego-mind is the main source of our “suffering” (i.e. craving + hatred + illusions) such practice

              opens the door to a quieter mind, equanimity, and inner serenity.

          -Also, M& M has beneficial effects beneficial in dealing with stressors and their detrimental

               consequences such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, compulsive behaviors such as:

               gambling, over-eating, chemical addiction,  etc... This is the base of MBSR pioneered by J.K.Z.

          - It promotes positive emotions such as patience, empathy, gratitude, self-compassion.

     Intellectual impacts of M&M:

         Improving concentration regarding the undertaken task.

         Enhancing our cognitive, analytic, deductive, and memorization skills.

         Prevalence, severity, and evolution of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia are reduced.

Benefits of M&M on our body:

     Increased awareness of our body:

          M&M is helping us to connect and “read” our bodies. It is critical since our body is a proxy of our emotions

          when they are still in a subconscious stage. 

          Our body perceives subliminal stress before we are conscious of it.

         Therefore, learning to scan and read our bodies is important in dealing with stress and stressors.

    Other physical benefits of M7M:

          Muscle relaxation.

         Controlling and reducing physical pain such as headache, arthritis, etc...

     Not yet confirmed are:

         Boosting energy, immune system.

         Reducing post-injury rehab recovery time.

         Reducing the prevalence of some cancers.

         Slow down aging (details not provided here)

Societal benefits of M&M:

        It is obvious that the beneficial impacts of M&M on Self such as self-compassion have significant

        positive effects on how we are dealing with others such as listening, focusing, productivity, tolerance,

        compassion, compliance, being non-judgmental, etc... It is called enhancing interconnectedness.

In conclusion: Mindfulness-based meditation is not and will never be the Holy Grail to fix our problems simply

because it requires tremendous ongoing daily dedication.

Practicing M&M only when you feel like it and only based upon circumstances is a total waste of time.

A brighter note to conclude: the beneficial effects of M&M are cumulative with practice even if it is 10min./day.