PureInsight | January 17, 2008

[] There is a
form of meditation called mindfulness meditation. Since ancient times,
the Confucian School, the Taoist School, and Buddhists all have paid
attention to the time of sitting quietly. They distill their thoughts
and purify their minds through meditation. Contemporary medicine
confirms that meditation can promote attention and deal with stress
effectively, and even mitigate chronic illnesses. More and more
Westerners have tried meditation and found many benefits of meditation.

In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding director for the Stress Reduction
Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness at the University of
Massachusetts Medical Center, presented a talk about mindfulness
meditation. He presented the lessons of ten years of clinical
experience with more than 4,000 people who took an eight-week course
known as the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program at the University
of Massachusetts Medical Center. Dr. Kabat-Zinn defines the healing
force of mindfulness as "a systematic approach to developing new kinds
of control and wisdom in our lives, based on our inner capacities for
relaxation, paying attention, awareness, and insight." This form of
meditation can be used to improve medical problems such as headaches,
high blood pressure, back pain, and heart disease. All of these are
related to stress, which has become a looming challenge when so many
people's lives are frenzied and filled with constant activities.

Do people without illness need to meditate? Through studying monks who
spend their whole lives meditating, experts found that meditation
promotes the ability of cognition. If you are a person who takes past
events to heart and always worries about what is going to happen in the
future, meditation can unobtrusively influence your perception of
things and allow you to have good moods for long periods of time.
Meditating for one hour for eight weeks, meditators will have strong
immune reactions and develop brain structures associated with positive

Easterners and westerners have different ways of looking at meditation.
Meditation is not related to religion in the US. Americans view
meditation as an exercise for the brain, instead of guidance of the
mind. They consider that a person's intelligence can be trained just
like doing exercises. We can train our minds to deal with emotions,
stabilize attention and decrease our susceptibility to distraction and
disorganization of our train of thought.

Traditional Eastern culture pays attention to the theory that man is an
integral part of nature and mind and matter are mutually interacting.
Besides meditation, Easterners value promotion of temperament, stress
morality and doing good deeds. When people's thoughts become pure and
without unnecessary distracting thoughts, mind and body will be at
their optimum condition.

In recent years, Falun Gong, Which stresses
Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance in life, has spread around the
world and emphasizes meditation to achieve a calm mind.

Beginners can try the following simple method: Sit on a cushion with
legs crossed and keep your back straight. If you feel uncomfortable,
you can lean your back on something. Relax your whole body and close
your eyes.  Breathe slowly. When wild thoughts keep emerging, you
just ignore them and try to avoid your feelings to be affected. If you
find you cannot concentrate, it doesn't matter. Don't be discouraged.
You should be happy that you have already recognized the situation of
distractions. You only need to bring back your thoughts. Through daily
practice, your thoughts will not be so disordered and will be clearer.
Keeping a compassionate and joyful mind in daily life will help steady
your state of mind.


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