|My Encounter with Spirituality - 2|
by Thimmappa for everyone
Modern scientific investigation into Meditation started in the late 1950's in the West and in particular in the United States of America. The typical design of experimentation involved testing taking certain physiological, psychological and social measures of individuals undergoing meditation for short-six weeks to six months- and long term(an year and more) durations during both before-during -after meditation for beginners as well as for the long term meditators.Typical physiological measures taken are, for instance, indices of brain processes on Electroencephalogram(EEG).It was observed earlier that the amplitude(the heights of the wave),the frequency(the speed in terms of cycles per second) and the synchrony('harmony' among the waves across the brain) of the waves on EEG correspond closely to certain psychological states : alpha waves (high amplitude,low frequency-8 to10cps- and synchronous) are associated with relaxed wakefulness, Beta waves(low amplitude,high frequency->12cps- and asynchronous) found in alert and agitated states and delta waves(slower- < 8cps) are fond in sleep.It was found that there is a predominance of alpha waves in Meditators as compared to non meditators as well as in those prior to taking up meditation.Psychological measures included are anxiety, stress and emotional stability,Personality characters such as Introversion and Extraversion.Social measures such as Suicide and crime rate in society,aggression,group conflicts and tensions.The major findings are that Meditation promotes deep body-mind relaxation(much deeper than even found in deep sleep),emotional stability,outgoing nature,reduction in aggression and suicide rates in those individuals and society(when at least 10% of its people ) which practiced Meditation.Its impact on well being of people is also noteworthy.For instance,the deep relaxation experience brought about tremendous improvement in health and feelings of wellness especially among those who were suffering from stress related disorders such as essential hypertension,migrane headache,peptic ulcer and bronchial asthma. Psychologically the Meditator appears to have been elevated to a state of consciousness, the so called fourth state(after waking, sleeping and dream states) characterised by deep relaxation with intense awareness , a sort of a 'paradoxical' state from the the point of view of a mundane existence.Individuals started noticing many things,including very subtle things, in themselves and others which hitherto unnoticed bringing about a positive transformation in the perception of people and the world.
Relaxation of the mind and body and its impact on health and well being, however immensely valuable they are, need not be the only effect or even the universal effect in all people.In fact,one of the ancient Indian Text says 'balance',homeostasis,is the main outcome with such practices.Which means that perhaps among the highly tensed up group,such as the most of the Western group what with their constant efforts to keep up with the Joneses and aggressive achievement orientation and on whose group initial research on Meditation were conducted,only relaxation from their over arousal would have established optimum arousal and balance.Accordingly, if one is over relaxed, he is also misfit for effective living and hence Meditation to them should increase their arousal to gain balance and be useful to self and others in life! The impact of deep relaxation of mind and body,regaining stability and balance and expansion of consciousness including the experience of fourth(sometimes called altered) state of consciousness can not be underestimated for the physical,psychological and social well being of people and society.