Meditation is a technique for calming your mind, that has very beneficial value in reducing stress and promoting clear thought.
There are many forms of meditation but the basic concept is to sit quietly with your eyes closed and your body relaxed, usually mentally repeating a "mantra" (a single word to help keep your mind from focusing on thoughts) for ten to twenty minutes.
What you are trying to achieve is to get your mind to the place "between thoughts".
Meditation induces alpha and theta waves, a slower brain waves that are optimum for recalling memories and solving problems.
- Beta - the fastest brain waves (13 to 40 cycles per second) - beta waves are produced during stress and are usually associated with difficulty concentrating. This is when your mind is "racing with thoughts".
- Alpha - relaxed but alert state (8 to 13 cycles per second)
- Theta - drowsy or light sleep (4 to 8 cycles per second); During this state people can often
- Delta - deep sleep (0 to 4 cycles per second)
Most desirable is a nice progression from delta to theta to alpha and back again. Beta waves should be avoid (thus it is best to not be awoken by a startling alarm clock).
Meditation has these physical effects:
- Production of alpha and theta brain waves
- Increased production of melatonin
- Reduced levels of lactate in blood
- Oxygen consumption drops by 10 to 20 percent (during sleep the drop is only 8 percent)
- Heart rate (slows by an average of 3 beats per minute), respiration rate and blood pressure are reduced
- Reduced production of cortisol
Studies and Research (of meditation):
- Two thousand meditators showed uniform superiority in thirteen major health categories. This included 80% less heart disease and 50% less cancer.
- Men over 45 who meditate have 23% more DHEA than non-meditators; for women this is a 47% increase.
- Blood indicators for free radicals were demonstrated to be lower in those over age sixty.
- A nursing home study compared meditators to non-meditators. Three years later none of the meditators had died but 33% of the control group had died.
- A European psychiatrist developed a method of teaching using theta waves. He was able to teach people 500 new foreign language words per day. The average retention rate was 88% after six months.
Prayer is a form of meditation.