8 Facts about Meditation
By Rolf Brandrud
The recently published book by Acem School of Meditation, The Power of the Wandering Mind: Non-Directive Meditation in Science and Philosophy, was written by experts in neuroscience, medicine, psychology, and the humanities. They look into a wide range of recent scientific studies of meditation. Here are some of the book’s main conclusions:
- Many types of meditation seek to empty the mind of thoughts. In contrast, non-directive meditation activates brain areas linked to mind wandering, providing deep relaxation and processing of memories and emotions.
- Concentration is tiring. Allowing our attention to float freely, as in non-directive meditation, activates parts of the brain that help us process stressful experiences, and increases self-awareness and creativity.
- Several studies indicate that meditation increases energy by reducing pain and worries associated with everyday stress. Effects are stronger with non-directive meditation than with directive techniques for muscle relaxation.
- What we need to control is external behavior, not thoughts and emotions, as cognitive psychologists and mindfulness practitioners claim. Non-directive meditation facilitates freedom of thought and creativity.
- Professionals who practice non-directive meditation find it easier to cope with pressure at work. They experience less muscular pain, fewer sleep problems, fewer worries, less nervousness, and less mental distress.
- Ideas, self-reports, and measurements all play a role in our understanding of meditative practice and its effects. In name, at least, a science of meditation has existed since the early nineteenth century.
- Mindfulness and non-directive meditation have much in common. However, the former emphasizes top-down, intensive self-observation, whereas the latter builds on a bottom-up and relaxed free mental attitude.
- “Non-directive meditation” and “free mental attitude” are modern concepts. However, part of what these terms imply has been expounded on in meditative traditions for hundreds or maybe thousands of years.
Rolf Brandrud is a certified teacher of Acem Meditation and has taught it since 1975. He has served as a journalist/editor at the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation for 30 years.
Acem Meditation: Discover the Power of the Wandering Mind
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