Oakville Zen Meditation

#400: Health benefits of Mindfulness Meditation June 5 22

                                               Benefits of mindfulness-based meditation

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

Remember also, that 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 is the ongoing reconstruction and adaptation of our brain's neural wiring. 

       This ongoing neural rewiring is adapted to our 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, and compulsive behaviors such as:

               gambling, over-eating, chemical addiction,  etc... This is the base of MBSR pioneered by Jon Kabat Zinn

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

    2) 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 the best 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 body is important in dealing with stress and stressors.

    Other physical benefits of M&M:

          Muscle relaxation.

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

     Not yet confirmed are:

         Boosting energy, immune system, diabetes type 2

         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 fixing 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.