Are You Meditating for Improved Health?

One key item on my personal transformation agenda over the past 14 months has been mindfulness meditation. I developed my personal meditation practice somewhat by accident. In February 2012 I met a psychotherapist who also happened to be a serious Zen practitioner. That encounter caused to me to begin reading about Zen Buddhism which, as you may know, places meditation at the center of its practice.

Of course, the skeptical engineer in me compelled me to further investigate the science behind the supposed benefits of meditation. At age 61, I was not about to take time out of my “busy days” to do nothing and think about nothing, unless there were some benefits to be gained. I wondered – was it really possible to look for those spaces in your mind between thoughts?

What I learned impressed me. I discovered that it is possible to retrain the brain and that having a constant flow of “busy” days is not an optimum path through life.  So I studied more about how to be an effective meditator and found that it actually is very easy to do, almost anytime and anywhere.  I meditate at home, while walking around, sitting in doctor’s waiting rooms, etc. It sure beats getting caught up in a past that cannot be changed or in a future that may not unfold in the way you expect, if at all.

I am convinced that my meditation has helped calm my mind and brought me the benefits of living more in the present moment.  Other documented benefits of meditation include reduced stress, increased brain function and focus, control of cravings, etc. Sounds good, right?

So how do you start?

My suggestion is to read this recent post in Lifehacker which contains links to articles about how to meditate and to reports confirming the various health and lifestyle benefits of mindfulness meditation.

If you have any serious physical or mental health problems (e.g., chronic pain or debilitating stress), mindfulness meditation is definitely for you.  For those of you in this category, I highly recommend the book “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Many libraries have it or you can listen to the audio book for free on YouTube here. The book includes exercises to help you begin a meditation practice.

I think all baby boomers should give meditation a try.  (No, you do not have to abandon your religion and become a Buddhist to enjoy a regular meditation practice!) At the very least, meditation could help you stop worrying so much about how you are going to fund your retirement!

Do we have any other boomer-meditators out there?


Comments

  1. says

    I’ve been a practicing Zen Buddhist for several years so I appreciate where you are coming from.

    I will say that it helps to have a great teacher. I belong to a Zen Center that has a dedicated Zen Sensei. We also have lots of members that practice other religions. Zen Buddhism doesn’t require to be exclusive.

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