One of the tenets of Buddhist meditation is that we’re asked to give up our attachment to desires. Often misunderstood, this tenet appears usually when we are trying very hard or have exhausted ourselves in some way. The giving up of desires and attachment to outcomes/goals is a practice. It is only with practise that we see clearly the meaning behind the words. Acting on the belief, is meditation. As I’ve practised through 30 years, taking on the tenets of meditation, as a student and teacher, I’ve found the whole of meditation practice to be based on action, not simply observation of thoughts. The early stages of practice are simply learning to recognize thoughts, as you begin to recognize and repattern thoughts, meditation practice becomes part of your everyday activity. The idea of attainment is best realized in stability of meditation practice!
The answer for every question I’ve ever had in life has been, practice meditation.
I have often told students “the only way to fail at meditation is to stop practicing” Even given this fact, students soon realize that they have goals and expectations, desires if you will, about their meditation practice. We want to feel validated and even like we’re attaining something - a better life, a better personality, a better income - something to show for all this practice... and when we have the inevitable “life happens” we lose it. Meditation practice is the furthest from our muddled minds when we need it the most! We become ungrounded from our meditation practice. However temporary the desired attainment will be - we still want it. If this has or is happening to you, take heart, keep practicing! For you see another well known tenet of meditation is impermanence. Nothing lasts, not our stuff, not our relationships, not our minds and bodies… nothing is permanent; it will not matter if we desire it or not.
The ultimate question from my most practiced students eventually arises…. Why practice at all? Why participate in such a fruitless effort?
The reason to meditate is to free yourself from this cycle of suffering and utilize your human lifetime for the good of your fellow man and woman. This precious life you have is all there is and ever will be. When you are practicing, you are in the moment looking for opportunities to build what the Buddhist’s call “merit” or “bodhichitta”... bringing the benefits of meditation directly into your life and the lives of everyone you encounter. These are not goals, these are side-effects of practice, spontaneously arising of these benefits and more the nature of meditation practice. The quality of life, your life and the lives of others, naturally improves. I’ll leave a list of 100 benefits of meditation here:
I. Physiological benefits
1- lowers oxygen consumption decreases respiratory rate 2- increases blood flow and slows the heart rate 3- increases exercise tolerance 4- leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation 5- good for people with high blood pressure 6- reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate 7- decreases muscle tension 8- helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc. 9- reduces pre-menstrual symptoms 10-helps in post-operative healing 2 12- enhances the immune system 13- reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress 14- enhances energy, strength and vigor 15- helps with weight loss 16- reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage 17- higher skin resistance 18- drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease 19- improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing 20- decreases the aging process 21- higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone) 22- prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases 23- makes you sweat less 24- may help in curing headaches & migraines 25- greater orderliness of brain functioning 26- reduced need for medical care 27- less energy wasted 28- more inclined to sports, activities 29- significant relief from asthma 30- improved performance in athletic events 31- normalizes to your ideal weight 32- harmonizes our endocrine system 33- relaxes our nervous system 34- produces lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity 35- may help in curing infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).
II. Psychological benefits
36- builds self-confidence 37- increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour 38- resolve phobias & fears 39- helps control own thoughts 40- helps with focus and concentration 41- increase creativity 42- increased brain wave coherence 43- improved learning ability and memory 44- increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation 45- increased emotional stability 46- improved relationships 47- mind ages at slower rate 48- easier to remove bad habits 3 49- develops intuition 50- increased Productivity 51- improved relations at home and at work 52- ability to see the larger picture in a given situation 53- helps ignore petty issues 54- increased ability to solve complex problems 55- purifies your character 56- develops will power 57- greater communication between the two brain hemispheres 58- react more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event 59- increases one’s perceptual ability and motor performance 60- higher intelligence growth rate 61- increased job satisfaction 62- increases the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones 63- decreases the potential for mental illness 64- more sociable behavior 65- less aggressiveness 66- helps in smoking cessation and alcohol addiction 67- reduces the need and dependency on drugs, pills and pharmaceuticals 68- less need of sleep to recover from sleep deprivation 69- requires less time to fall asleep, helps to cure insomnia 70- increases sense of responsibility 71- reduces road rage 72- decrease in restless thinking 73- decreased tendency to worry 74- increases listening skills and empathy 75- helps to make more accurate judgments 76- greater tolerance 77- gives composure to act in considered and constructive ways 78- grows a stable, more balanced personality 79- develops emotional maturity
III. Spiritual benefits
80- helps to keep things in perspective 81- provides peace of mind, happiness 82- helps to discover your purpose 83- increased self-actualization 84- increased compassion 85- spiritual growth 4 86- deeper understanding of yourself and others 87- brings body, mind, spirit in harmony 88- deeper level of spiritual relaxation 89- increased acceptance of oneself 90- helps to learn forgiveness 91- changes attitude toward life 92- creates a deeper relationship with your higher power or deity 93- attains enlightenment 94- greater inner-directedness 95- helps living in the present moment 96- creates a widening, deepening capacity for love 97- discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego 98- experience an inner sense of assurance 99- experience a sense of oneness 100- increases the synchronicity in one’s life
Meditation is completely free. It requires no special equipment, and is not complicated to learn. It can be practiced anywhere, at any given moment, and it is not time consuming (15-20 minutes per day is recommended). Best of all, meditation has no negative side effects, whatsoever.
This list was compiled from an original blog posting by Frederic Premji and has been edited and expanded by Fajian and Beth Cornell.