Meditating in modern times

Meditation is a prehistoric practice with modern benefits and applications constantly being discovered. Most recently, a study conducted at The University of Oregon has proven that meditation can help smokers quit their unhealthy habit, a useful piece of information for those struggling with tobacco addiction. But you don’t have to be a smoker to benefit from regular meditation; anyone can easily experience the benefits of regular meditation. Those new to meditation often have difficulty figuring out where to start, but it can be easier than you think.

Smoking and substance addictions are controlled by the part of the brain that governs self-control. Researchers at The University of Oregon sought to influence this area of the brain in smokers, through meditation, and get them to cut back or quit smoking. Scientists used a form of mindfulness meditation called Integrative Body- Mind Training (IBMY), which is comprised of body relaxation, mental imagery, and mindfulness training, to positively influence the part of the brain that regulates self- control. Scientists were successful with their IBMY technique and reduced smoking in 60% of the test subjects that participated in the study, proving that changes made in your psyche can greatly affect your body and physical well being.

Anyone can leverage meditation to influence an array of human experiences from battling illness to increasing self- awareness. One of the biggest challenges new comers to meditation face is where to start, often under the misconception that meditation is something you need to try at. Elleke Bal, associate editor at The Intelligent Optimist, discussed ways of starting meditation in an interview she conducted with Peter Russell, physicist and meditation instructor, in the July/ August issue of The Intelligent Optimist.

Peter Russell has developed a 5- step virtual course called “effortless meditation,” available through theoptimist.com. Effortless meditation is a technique that focuses on people turning off their thoughts. “When I first became interested in meditation,” Russell says, “I was repeatedly told that it took great mental discipline and many years of practice”, advice that after 40 years of meditation experience has proven to do little to help attain inner peace. Russell prefers his own approach to meditation that centers on voiding the mind of thought, opposed to striving and ultimately achieving a meditative state. The goal of effortless meditation is not to focus or concentrate on anything, but to allow a state of tranquility to come naturally, “we often think of letting go as getting rid of something, of a feeling or a thought. I rephrase ‘let it go’ as ‘let it be.’” Russell explains.

Almost anyone can benefit in someway from meditation, both physically and mentally. Meditation doesn’t take practice, or years of understanding, but rather a desire to positively influence your psyche, and a willingness to be at one with yourself and your surroundings. Meditation sessions can range in timing from hours to minutes, it just depends on how long you want to empty your mind of thought and concentration.

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Meditating in modern times

Meditation is a prehistoric practice with modern benefits and applications constantly being discovered. Most recently, a study conducted at The University of Oregon has proven that meditation can help smokers quit their unhealthy habit, a useful piece of information for those struggling with tobacco addiction. But you don’t have to be a smoker to benefit from regular meditation; anyone can easily experience the benefits of regular meditation. Those new to meditation often have difficulty figuring out where to start, but it can be easier than you think.

Smoking and substance addictions are controlled by the part of the brain that governs self-control. Researchers at The University of Oregon sought to influence this area of the brain in smokers, through meditation, and get them to cut back or quit smoking. Scientists used a form of mindfulness meditation called Integrative Body- Mind Training (IBMY), which is comprised of body relaxation, mental imagery, and mindfulness training, to positively influence the part of the brain that regulates self- control. Scientists were successful with their IBMY technique and reduced smoking in 60% of the test subjects that participated in the study, proving that changes made in your psyche can greatly affect your body and physical well being.

Anyone can leverage meditation to influence an array of human experiences from battling illness to increasing self- awareness. One of the biggest challenges new comers to meditation face is where to start, often under the misconception that meditation is something you need to try at. Elleke Bal, associate editor at The Intelligent Optimist, discussed ways of starting meditation in an interview she conducted with Peter Russell, physicist and meditation instructor, in the July/ August issue of The Intelligent Optimist.

Peter Russell has developed a 5- step virtual course called “effortless meditation,” available through theoptimist.com. Effortless meditation is a technique that focuses on people turning off their thoughts. “When I first became interested in meditation,” Russell says, “I was repeatedly told that it took great mental discipline and many years of practice”, advice that after 40 years of meditation experience has proven to do little to help attain inner peace. Russell prefers his own approach to meditation that centers on voiding the mind of thought, opposed to striving and ultimately achieving a meditative state. The goal of effortless meditation is not to focus or concentrate on anything, but to allow a state of tranquility to come naturally, “we often think of letting go as getting rid of something, of a feeling or a thought. I rephrase ‘let it go’ as ‘let it be.’” Russell explains.

Almost anyone can benefit in someway from meditation, both physically and mentally. Meditation doesn’t take practice, or years of understanding, but rather a desire to positively influence your psyche, and a willingness to be at one with yourself and your surroundings. Meditation sessions can range in timing from hours to minutes, it just depends on how long you want to empty your mind of thought and concentration.

Did you get your free issue of the Intelligent Optimist?  Click here for a free download.

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