Suggested value: Lots of evidence from top "wisemen"
What is relevant and worth entertaining?
Managing the power of emotion vs. Being its victim
Clear and focused: worth how much?
You don't start so much stress nor prolong stress
Better living through better chemicals
More sensory awareness and better relationships
You increase contentment and happiness
It rests your mind
You achieve a sense of control over your impulses
Attention, brain thickness, and "less aging"
You enter the zone of peak performance more readily
Increased awareness creates automatic, easier change
LOTS OF EVIDENCE FROM TOP WISEMEN
Kamal Sarma, former top management consultant and now a teach of meditation for executives:
"I have found the practice of meditation to be my most valuable skill."
Meditation, he says, is like "an insurance policy to protect your most precious asset - your mind."
With so many greats recommending it, it would seem to make sense for us to adopt the practice.
But, alas, it is hard for us to "connect the dots" on why it is worth doing.
So, here's my shot at it. (Also consider reading the resources I refer you to to, if you still need convincing.)
WHAT IS RELEVANT AND WORTH ENTERTAINING?
We have 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day.
Do you think all of those are relevant and/or helpful?
Based on our level of negative beliefs, they are quite harmful, triggering our brain to "fix the problem", one that is only in thought and is not real - so we end up triggering stress and all the stress hormones involved in the fight/flight response.
Wouldn't you like to have a calm, clear mind, a much better immune system, be more productive, feel better, control your emotions much better, and have the ability to do much better in relationships?
Meditators have dramatically better mental health.
Part of growing up is figuring what is relevant and evaluating long term effects vs. just short term gratification. We need to be awake enough to screen out what is not relevant and is "bs" and to choose to only
MANAGING THE POWER OF EMOTION VS. BEING ITS VICTIM
Brain and body 101: thoughts generate body reactions through chemicals, called emotions, emotions generate actions and/or more thoughts, the body reacts to the chemicals and the thoughts. Fight and flight chemicals and bodily reactions generate harm if they are any more frequent than very, very occasional.
We ignore this obvious effect. We ignore stress (mostly) and then we suffer physically and emotionally.
To have high energy and emotional resilience and strength, we must not wear out the body or cause it to be hypervigilant and shooting off the alarms constantly. We violate the latter, so we suffer by losing our high energy and emotional resilience.
Our body goes haywire, our arteries get brittle and clogged, our sugar metabolism goes "off" and creates enormous damage to all organs, we get headaches, we don't get efficient rest, we have less quality of life, we die sooner, cancer cells go awry.
CLEAR AND FOCUSED: WORTH HOW MUCH?
When one learns to control one's own mind, one masters the greatest of all skills, as this is the very vehicle that determines how happy we are, how productive we are, and how healthy we are.
Like anything else, our mental "muscle" gets stronger with repeated proper use. (What actually occurs is a "rewiring" of the brain, so that a skill and a way of thinking are "grooved in" via a neuronal pathway getting reinforced with more and more myelin cable. Once the pathway is used for more than 21 days or so, then what we call a "habit" is initially established - and a "habit" is something which actually becomes easy and effortless.)
When you can "stop" a thought from staying in the mind, learn that a thought is just a firing of a recording actually meaning nothing [though it does set off emotions], learn to focus your attention and/or insert new positive or directive thoughts, you gain the ability to be clear and focused in your thinking. Clarity plus the focus of attention helps one think faster and to think better in terms especially of making better decisions.
Better decisions cause one to choose more fruitful ways to do things, so one becomes more productive - besides making fewer mistakes, by far. One tends to make better food choices, because one's brain is not so foggy - and also because one's emotional state does not need to be relieved by the infusion of bad chemicals (such as the wrong food, sugar, or too much food). You'll be slimmer because of meditating.
When you're clear, you also see life better and enjoy life much more.
Seeing things more clearly causes one to not need medications, which would, likely, in the long term, be a harmful way to overcome emotional fog and to mask symptoms rather than solve causes.
Imagine being in a room where people are constantly talking and sometimes in uncoordinated ways and on different subjects - how clear would your thinking be? Well, the same thing happens when you listen to and accept into your mind the incessant chattering of the mind, as it spews forth all remotely, possibly matching records related to some "trigger". Stopping that chattering is worth everything, for without it, the random chemicals firings don't happen and there is no conflict with what you want to focus on.
By learning to not flit back and forth with our attention, we find that we complete more things including our thinking on something that is important.
YOU DON'T START SO MUCH STRESS NOR PROLONG IT SO LONG
Even meditating for a few minutes each day can reduce stress by 20%. When you meditate you shift from "thinking" to "sensing" (yes, that occurs despite the form of the meditating). This shift triggers your body's (and your mind's) natural relaxation response.
Stress hormones act as painkillers, with an analgesic effect that numbs one's awareness of feelings (plus fuzzes over our thoughts and of what is going on).
If we ignore the stress hormones, the harmful effects escalate.
If we train ourselves to use our minds and to be aware of signs, then we stop the stress before we are "numbed" to the signs and before the greater damage can occur.
So, one of your practices, will be to do a "quick meditation" (eyes open, even being engaged with others) that will relieve the distress of feeling stress.
And if you have fewer stress chemicals attacking your body, you'll not weaken your immune system as much - and you'll have fewer and less severe illnesses, or even injuries.
As pointed out, less stress allows the body to have fewer roller coaster ups and downs so that the body can maintain more healthy balance, which in turn means that it does its job much much better.
Overload wears us out. Eliminating overload keeps us healthy.
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues published research indicating that meditating patients heal four times faster and pain and the lowering of anxiety continued for up to four years after meditation training.
BETTER LIVING THROUGH BETTER CHEMICALS
Meditation produce "feel good" hormones, like serotonin and DHEA (the antiaging, energizing vitality hormone.
Note that meditation also generates melatonin, which helps you relax and sleep better.
MORE SENSORY AWARENESS AND BETTER RELATIONSHIPS
When one meditates one is paying attention to (i.e. being aware of) sensations.
One obvious result is that we become more attuned to our sensations and expand our ability to experience happiness, joy, pleasure, etc.
One less obvious and more surprising effect is that we become more aware of what is happening around us and we develop a greater emotional intelligence, where we can spot feelings in others (and be more understanding or whatever else is needed) and in ourselves, so that we can respond and correct something early on in stages. This lowers stress in relationships and in one's own body, with further benefits.
YOU INCREASE CONTENTMENT AND HAPPINESS
Richard Davidson, a prominent neuroscientist, has tested and proved that regular meditation reorients the brain away from the fight/flight response, causing a shift that increases contentment.
It also, per Davidson and other scientists, increases the size and operational ability of the left pre-frontal cortex, which contains and emits alot of the positive feeling neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, glutamate) and increases natural motivation (so you don't have to use your erratic willpower as much). It also strengthens our resolve, such that we can attain more of our goals. It is also the center that will be able to screen out more of the "nonsense", "negative" thoughts automatically, as you increase the functioning of it through meditation. (See Rewiring The Brain.)
Obviously, of course, you increase your happiness by reducing what subtracts from it (those negative thoughts being entertained...and believed).
IT RESTS YOUR MIND
You've heard talk of a minute of meditation being the equivalent of 5 to 10 minutes of sleep. That is because the slowing down of the brain reduces stress (as it is the opposite) and less stress means less to resolve in the sleep cycle plus one has a less tired body.
A tired mind notices less, experiences less of what is good, and it makes poor decisions, plus firing off stuff that harms the body - not good!!!!
When you meditate, you become like a trained athlete, able to clear your mental space in seconds, without having to process it for hours or going into "tension" in the body.
YOU ACHIEVE A SENSE OF CONTROL OVER YOUR IMPULSES
One of the secrets of self-esteem and self-respect is achieving a sense of control. With your meditation you are demonstrating to yourself your ability to control your impulses.
And the fall out from that is that you'll give up or delay responding to impulses to eat or drink to medicate.
In gaining that sense of control, you'll also not "react" so quickly - and relationships and your own emotional peace (i.e. "not-react" state) will flourish.
ATTENTION, BRAIN THICKNESS, AND "LESS AGING"
Of course, less stress, less whip-sawing of your chemical system and balancing system will age you less.
But one visible bit of evidence of meditating is that it increases the thickness of the areas of the brain involved in attention, interoception, and sensory processing, which is believed to delay the cortical thinning that occurs in the aging process.
Your brain becomes tougher and more resilient, countering the effects of aging.
YOU ENTER THE ZONE OF PEAK PERFORMANCE MORE READILY
Without meditation, and with lots of mental clutter and lots of corresponding emotions, it is doubtful if you can even enter "the zone".
And when you enter "the zone", your actions are smooth and you are much, much more productive - which is the way you want to be with your time. This frees up more time to do other things you want to do, which you'll be able to, in turn, also do more productively with better results.
INCREASED AWARENESS CREATES AUTOMATIC, EASIER CHANGE
"You can't make radical changes in the pattern of your life until you begin to see you exactly as you are now. As soon as you do that, changes flow naturally. you don't have to force or struggle or obey rules dictated to you by some authority. You just change. It is automatic."
There is no possible conclusion other than one of the most worthwhile things to do with one's time is to meditate in some way.