THE SCIENCE ON THE
BENEFITS OF
MEDITATION
NEUROLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH IS RAPIDLY
CONFIRMING THE FUNDAMENTAL CONTRIBUTION OF
CONTEMPLATIVE TECHNIQUES AND MEDITATION TO EMOTIONAL
AND PHYSICAL WELL BEING


The inclusion of contemplative techniques (meditation) fits in with the holistic
philosophy of wellness which our host institution, Crossings, embraces. The
benefits contemplative practice are not only to live and engage more mindfully
with life, but the hard neurological science on the unified mind/body benefits of
contemplative practice now show incontrovertible proof of those benefits.  Two
organizations in particular in the US have done extraordinary work and research
in these areas.  The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, whose mission is
to implement contemplative techniques in the supposedly “unrelated” area of
education.  More importantly, the work of the hundreds of neurologists,
researchers and psychologists of the Mind and Life Institute has resulted in the
employment of meditation at teaching hospitals, hospices and other non-spiritual
or religious institutions dealing primarily with issues of wellness and individual
well-being.

R Adam Angle, Chairman and CEO of Mind and Life Institute writes:

    In the same way that decades of nutritional research is beginning to
    motivate millions of people to improve  their health and well-being by
    adopting healthier nutritional practices, we expect the primary benefit of
    this long-term contemplative research effort to be more people motivated
    to incorporate some form of contemplative practice into their busy lives,
    thus experiencing the benefits of attentional clarity and emotional
    balance, and even kindness, compassion and confidence. This, in turn
    will lead to healthier people who develop more peaceful cultures and
    societies.
                                                                         Mind and life Institute 2009
Annual Report

The report documents this progress, including its own grant recipients in
research fields:

    Significant cognitive, behavioral, neurobiological, and clinical findings are
    now published in top-tier, peer-reviewed, scientific journals. Research
    that has been or is currently being conducted … will be the foundation
    for the future of this quickly emerging field and will be of benefit to all
    the disciplines involved – neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology,
    and contemplative humanities.  
                                                                 (Mind and Life, 2009, 12)

Just one example of people who benefit without having to begin with any sort
of religious motivation are teachers, for whom the benefits were described by
which The benefits for teachers in the school system Lee Shulman, President
Emeritus of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of
Teaching:                                                                            

    [Shulman] acknowledged the extraordinary complexity of teaching as a
    profession where every day a teacher might have to address the different
    cognitive and emotional needs of thirty individual children
    simultaneously. Teachers themselves have an urgent need for training in
    contemplative practices in order to improve their own emotional and
    attention skills, as well as to acquire genuine experience of such
    practices if they are to embody and teach them effectively.
                                                            (Mind and Life, 2009, 16)

This begins to reveal the increasing realization of the need for contemplative
practice in our fast paced and increasingly insecure cultural environment.  By
using the techniques of related contemplative traditions, without favoring any
particular religion, the essential practices are what provide the benefit.



For a summary of the work of
Mind and Life Institute go to:
Mind and Life Institute: Research and Conferences

For a link to the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, founded by
physicist Arthur Zajonc:
http://www.contemplativemind.org/