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Archive for ‘Helps spiritual growth’

Increased Compassion towards Others

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-24The mind, body and spirit are all interconnected, and a compassionate attitude is an integral part of this connection. A study published in the journal Emotion indicated that practitioners of loving-kindness meditation have an increased positive connection towards others, allowing meditators to be more grateful and selfless in their everyday interactions. Researchers explain that this form of meditation trains the mind to focus on compassion and positive thoughts towards others, strengthening individuals’ sense of social connectedness in the world. Other well-being benefits of meditation include better concentration, which means a better connection to the world, better sleep, which leads to a more promising waking life, and a longer life coupled with meaningful connections with others.

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Greater Spiritual Empathy

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-25Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison found that those who meditate have higher levels of activity in the region of the brain known as the insula, which controls feelings of empathy and emotional understanding. Being kind to each other is now thought to be a learned technique triggered by the brain’s reaction in areas responsible for compassion towards the emotions of others. The study suggests that meditation can train the brain to enhance an individual’s capacity for empathy. The more one meditates, the more one becomes inclined to have feelings of open kindness towards strangers. In an often disconnected modern world, the study suggests, the power of empathy can be a driving force for interpersonal connection and individual spiritual growth.

 

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Cultivating Kindness

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-26Antoine Lutz and Richard Davidson conducted a study at the Waisman Center for Brain Imaging that found that compassionate meditation has the potential to cultivate spirituality through kindness and benevolence in individuals. The study involved 16 master meditators and 16 novices who were exposed to sounds of emotional distress, including a child crying. Researchers documented higher activity in the brain areas associated with benevolence among the experienced meditators, while the novices demonstrated much lower activity in those areas. Those trained in this form of meditation are able to extend the feelings of love and compassion that they have for family members towards strangers, cultivating their capacity for spiritual kindness towards all. Lutz and Davidson foresee the wide-reaching benefits of the study, proposing that compassionate meditation could possibly be used to combat depression.

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Greater Levels of Spirituality and Transcendence

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

meditation-image-27Brick Johnstone of the MU School of Health Professionals has suggested a link between transcendental or spiritual experiences and decreased activity levels in a certain area of the brain, which can be achieved through meditation. This new finding indicates a stronger connection between achieving a selfless state and conditioning the brain to maintain lower levels of activity. The study focused on the increased level of spiritual experiences among people with brain injuries, but found that a conscious effort to train the brain through meditation or prayer had similar spiritual effects. Meditation is thus a primary avenue to achieve a connection with things beyond the self, Johnstone notes.

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