Some effects of meditation on brain

 Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book

Meditation is an art and a science. For some, its a big leap of faith and for others, it is strongly supported by science. As it is, we live in a world where the two different schools of thought (faith vs science) have been butting heads for a while. I believe there is enough material out there and I don’t plan on to light any more fires.

I was raised in an environment where religion and god were very important aspects of one’s life. I grew up without questioning the existence or lack thereof of god. As I became a man and went through a lot of same adulthood troubles that most of us go through, I started trying to critically question some well held assumptions. This was my pursuit of sanity in life, if not more. Most skills in life can be learnt with proper prior training but living life is a unique skill that you can only experience first and learn later.

I don’t claim to be anywhere even remotely close to perfection. However, I like my life and developed some basic rules along the way. Some of them are

  • Happiness is a choice and it can become a perennial state of mind.
  • Happiness doesn’t mean that we are warm and fuzzy all the time.
  • Happiness is to stay calm and deal with any sh** thrown at you with an open mind and a smile without worrying about consequences.
  • Everything happens for a reason and its always a good reason 🙂
  • Our mind is optimized to not spend cycles on something we don’t seek. So, if you think that nothing good can come to you, your mind will make sure nothing good happens to you.
  • As humans, we take too many things, which are mostly superficial, very personally. Ego is the problem.

Meditation works for me because over the years, I have realized that all the whole world is a projection of our mind and thoughts. A toy may look silly for an adult whereas its an object of joy for a toddler.

Meditation is not a super cure to avoid what life hits at you. It is really tough to see women going through breast cancer, one of the most prevalent ailments currently. I always go to http://scholar.google.com and read through a couple of scientific papers published in journals for the unfiltered information from the “people in the know”.  There is substantive evidence that Mindfulness meditation helps breast cancer patients cope with ensuing stress and side effects. One paper in particular, Mindfulness meditation effects on Cancer patients discusses about a randomized trial, for 6 months, that was done on measuring recovery of breast cancer patients and it establishes that patients who meditated were coping with their stresses and side effects significantly better than patients who didn’t meditate.

Most of our stress is caused by our projections and this in turn changes the shape of our brains. Alteration in Brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation did a randomized trial for two months and found significant enough difference in brains of people who meditated. It goes on to say that different, usually less used brain areas received significant activity and helped in improving response to stress.

For people who are skeptical, in the true spirit of scientific questioning, I encourage you to give meditation a try for at least 2 months and you can decide whether it is for you.

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