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Does Meditation Create Positive Thinking?


flowperson
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There is an interesting debate developing concerning whether or not the Dalai Lama should be allowed to address a meeting of The Society For Neuroscience next month. The essence of the presentation, bolstered by several years of supporting research at a major research university, is that regularly and consistently practiced meditation programs can change brain activity by generating positive brain wave patterns and accompanying positive thought patterns. Visit the story and see what you believe.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/19/national/19meditate.html

Edited by flowperson
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I don't understand why they wouldn't want the Dali Lama to address them. They might learn something. :-) I'm not sure it all is "science". I have meditated and had bad effects from sitting type meditation. It wasn't horrendous, but "moving meditation" as I did in karate (doing katas) was beneficial. I am sure I am not the only person who has had bad effects. But still I think they might learn something.

 

--des

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Meditation does offer many beneficial physiological effects including relaxing the response of the autonomic nervous system, and reducing the production of corticosteroid-like hormones that are generated whenever we have a fight-or-flight response to threatening stimuli...

 

This has been well documented in the work of physicians such as Dr. Herbert Benson, of Harvard Medical School who wrote the classic book "The Relaxation Response," as well as Dr. Harold Koenig of the Duke Center for Spirituality, Religion and Health, who has written and published widely on the subject. I will try to post some links later when I find the time.

 

Peace,

 

John

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I have found that meditation automatically puts one on a track that allows one to come to know oneself.

 

In answer to your opening question DES, by allowing such a distinguished spiritual leader to speak to them about this subject; and besides, knowing that his subject matter will relate to peer reviewed reasearch done by members of their profession, they are automatically placing themselves in a philosophical and ethical box.

 

I believe that fear is governing their negative response. Fear that such revolutionary findings within the scientific orthodoxy may well start a process in which "professionally" they might be occasioned to lend their support to this mystical process of self-examination. And fear that once they are led to participation in this process they might well be afraid of what they might find within themselves. Make sense to you?

 

Flow :rolleyes:

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I meditate (centering prayer) most every day and think that it has shifted the trajectory of my life. I have a deeper faith and trust in God, and I sometimes sense that I am being carried along on a current of compassion that "comes in" to my spirit and "flows out" to others.

 

Meditation can be very relaxing, but I don't personally see this as its goal. The relaxation response is a wonderful "side effect," but as a Christian I believe that the ultimate goal of meditation is union with God and selfless service of others. As a means for "not I, but Christ" to live in me.

 

Different styles of meditation can produce different effects, and probably a person has to find the right meditative "fit" for them. Or a teacher or a group that meets together on occasion -- something to provide guidance on the journey. At any rate, meditation on occasion has negative effects because when the mind deeply relaxes, material buried deep in the unconscious can arise -- it's kind of like toxins being released from the body during a fast. We may never even become aware of the specific content of this unconscious material -- it's just that our body has ways of burying emotional material that our consciousness is/was not ready to face. The release of these emotions can be disturbing, but it is usually temporary. However, people with serious mental illnesses (like schizophrenia) or severe personality disorders are not advised to meditate.

 

The best choice might be to find a very gentle meditative method -- one that doesn't allow toxins to arise all at once or too quickly. Then this "purification" process is not so distressing.

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I think that I read the Meditation Response is somewhat a flawed work. But I believe that there have been many tantilizing tidbits over the years. I'm not sure how much was really double blind careful trials, but there is the whole matter that there is something in us that does not respond entirely in the typicla double blind trial ways.

 

>In answer to your opening question DES, by allowing such a distinguished spiritual leader

 

Is that me, "des"? I'm not used to seeing this in caps. :-)

 

>to speak to them about this subject; and besides, knowing that his subject matter will relate to peer reviewed reasearch done by members of their profession, they are automatically placing themselves in a philosophical and ethical box.

 

I believe that fear is governing their negative response. Fear that such revolutionary findings within the scientific orthodoxy may well start a process in which "professionally" they might be occasioned to lend their support to this mystical process of self-examination. And fear that once they are led to participation in this process they might well be afraid of what they might find within themselves. Make sense to you?

 

Yes, it all makes too much sense.

 

--des

 

 

Flow :rolleyes:

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Having put away the ego, which only sees multiplicity and division through meditation one can see the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost as one unit. The son denotes that which is born of pure consciousness, where the spring of the Holy Ghost shows the love of the Father. Meditation help us not to separate, divide and judge others with what we hear or read. If we don’t understand the words of unity in the Scriptures it might be because we are not moved by pure consciousness whereas the people who wrote the Scriptures were in contact with Christ consciousness. The tragedy is that not all people are creative and constructive thinkers and can see the unity of the whole, for this meditation helps. We need to engage our minds in intellectual and rigorous practice to break the boundaries between our minds and other dualities. This differentiation is within ourselves so with meditation we can understand our own unit consciousness to be able to see Christ consciousness expressing to us One Power, One Principle, One Cause and One Source of Love. By visualizing Christ during meditation is one way to experience the non-dual through the images of the dual. We can’t change love, but with different spiritual practises we can understand and bring ourselves into harmony with it to let pure consciousness work with us, through us and for us. Meditation is not the only way, but a useful technique for some to quite the mind and let Christ consciousness guide us.

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http://www.thecentering.org/centering_method.html < CENTERING PRAYER & LECTIO DIVINA

 

I have trouble being disciplined and don't do this regularly but it leads to so much awakening and awareness and awe. Maybe I am resisting that power. Maybe I just don't like those nails which are hammered into bodies which follow God no matter what.

 

Keating's method is very similar to TM. He would probably deny that but I tend to find so much commonality in all of the great wisdom traditions.

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You probably meditate in another fashion. Keating's way is similar to TM and so the Contemplative prayer movement had to start because so many Annoying Christians are against meditation and they related Keatings method to that. It is amazing how any method or technique that makes one peaceful, a better person or more spiritual is put down by Christians. I like your attitude. You don't do it in the figurative sense, but you don't put it down.

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Soma - I love it! "Annoying Christians "... it's very descriptive. I think we need a lower case "c" though. :D I propose that this category include people who loudly proclaim Jesus is Lord with their mouth rather than their lives and:

 

1) Despise books without having read them

2) Fear anything they don't understand (too broad a category to discuss)

3) Choose ignorance

4) Believe firmly that Jesus is on their side (and have rarely, if ever, considered whether they are on God's side)

 

This supercedes the progressive vs. fundamentalist; the liberal vs. conservative... it's a much more useful distinction!!!

 

That's all I've got off the top of my head... anybody?????

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I'm guessing this "centering prayer" is similar to many types of centering or focusing meditation (versus something like walking or working meditation). I think TM is not particularly new (or wasn't back when it was supposedly started). The only thing I think is "new" is the "Yogic flying" meditation thing that they do, although I won't deny it would be good thigh exercise. :-)

 

--des

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Centering Prayer looks similar to TM on the surface, but there are some significant differences.

 

For one thing, TM assigns you a mantra that you are to silently repeat again and again. With centering prayer, you generally choose your own one or two syllable "sacred word" that you repeat only when you notice that you are engaged with thoughts. The sacred word (or another symbol such as the sacred image or sacred breath) serves as a means for you to consent to the presence and action of God within. The sacred symbol may seem like a mantra at first, but with practice, it disappears or is used rarely. The prayer becomes very receptive, a kind of "surrender" or "letting go" practice.

 

Another significant difference between TM and centering prayer is that centering prayer is rooted in a belief that God dwells within, at the center of our being. Centering prayer helps to deepen this relationship, and eventually facilitates full union with, the indwelling Spirit. It helps to reduce the obstacles to union with God -- the attachments to thoughts, agendas, and ways of living that keep us separate from God. As far as I know TM is a largely secular and non-sectarian practice. And in its own right, it's quite a valuable meditative method -- since Westerners approach spirituality from a wide variety of backgrounds and different points of view, we need both non-sectarian and religious forms of meditation.

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lCynthia thanks for showing us how genuine Spirituality and Service Gave Way to Rigid Dogma, when spirituality can be the most empowering, most liberating, most life-giving force in all the world, why people will put it down and then pick up a bottle of spirits instead is puzzling.

 

The techniques in meditation are different, but the purpose is the same, which is to calm the body and mind into a deep restfull alertness or awareness.

 

The mind is always active reminding us what we should do, have done, are doing or will do. The techniques quiete that voice so we can witness who we really are and commune with the pure consciousness of God. Sure thoughts creep back, but the techniques help us to withdraw again to the garden of Our Lord.

 

Lectio divina, centering prayer, contemplative prayer, zen, TM, walking meditation, chanting, Taiz, Sufi dancing, listening or playing music, chess, philosophy, science ect. or anything that makes a person good, peaceful and thoughtful should be encouraged.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There is an op-ed piece in The New York Times today concerning the subject of this thread.

 

I found it to be interesting that the Dalai Lama was tutored by eminent scientists in his youth, almost as if he was being consciously prepared in his past for this debate.

 

Sure beats Pat Robertson's scare tactics, huh?

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/opinion/12dalai.html

 

flow.... :)

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