How does meditation work?
There are various forms of meditation . By degree of complexity, they range from strictly regulated practices to general recommendations to meditators. It is believed that the regular practice of meditation contributes to the development of habitual unconscious micro-behavior, which can have a positive effect on the physical and psychological state. It was found that even a 15-minute meditation twice a day brings favorable results.
Most theories are based on the assumption that meditation is a more complex form of relaxation, which involves a parasympathetic reaction of the body. Psychological stress is associated with the activation of the sympathetic component of the autonomic nervous system, which in extreme cases includes the “hit or run” mechanism. Meditation and any form of rest and relaxation lead to a reduction in the activity of the sympathetic nervous system due to a decrease in the release of catecholamines and “stress hormones”, for example, cortisol. Meditation also contributes to the increase of parasympathetic activity, which, in turn, slows the heart rate and improves the flow of blood to the internal organs.
Other neurophysiological effects
There is one more point of view according to which meditation assumes unique neurophysiological effects, however, this remains to be proved by scientists. The results obtained in the framework of the “Meditation Research Program” allow us to conclude that during the Sahaja Yoga meditation , the limbic system of the brain is involved. The meditators have been tracked of significant systematic changes relating to the emotional state.
What we call meditation
The most important task of such studies is a clear definition of what meditation is-the fidelity of a particular definition must be scientifically verified.
By the majority of people, meditation is perceived as a kind of activity in which the attention of the individual is focused on repetitive cognitive activity. According to participants in the “Meditation Research Program”, this very broad definition is the main reason for most of the contradictions in the results observed in the study of meditation.
If we carefully study the original meditative tradition, it becomes obvious that meditation is a separate and clearly defined state called “senseless awareness.” In this state, excessive and stressful brain activity is completely neutralized without reducing the person’s vital activity.
True meditation allows you to stay in the “present moment,” not in the past, which can not be changed or in the future, which is uncertain. It is this state of equilibrium that is therapeutic, both from the psychological and from the physiological point of view. This circumstance fundamentally distinguishes meditation from simple rest, physical rest or sleep.