It is no coincidence that the foundations of meditation were developed in India and then also in China. In fact, Western peoples have a culture that is the daughter of ancient Greek thought. That is, Greek philosophy created the rational thinking that underlies the Western way of life. In particular, the greatest Greek thinkers and especially Aristotle, Parmenide, Socrates and Plato described the link between thought and reality. Therefore they looked for a link between meditation and wellness,
Western rational thought was based in ancient times and also in modern times on the logical process divided into three phases: 1) thesis; 2) antithesis and 3) synthesis. However, the different theses or solutions must be analyzed to arrive at a conciliatory synthesis between the various possibilities. Therefore, it is no coincidence that democracy was born in Greece and then spread to the West. In particular, in Europe, even in the medieval centuries the king’s authority was always balanced by feudal assemblies which were a kind of primitive parliaments.
CONSEQUENCES OF PHILOSOPHICAL THINKING ON SOCIETY
Therefore in these assemblies the decision-making base was not very broad because the vote was restricted to a few aristocratic families. However, the principle was preserved that decisions were made following an agreement generated by a confrontation between opposing opinions. Similarly a philosophical thought also developed on the other side of the then known world, ie in India where the interpretation of reality was based on meditation, spirituality and myths.
We Europeans also went through this phase during the social and economic crisis of the Middle Ages and then came out slowly with a return to rational thought. Moreover, based on the philosophy of Descartes in the 1600s and then on the Enlightenment thought starting from the following century. The Orientals learned rational thinking only a long time later, in a more reduced form and consequently absorbing the Western influence. So they have given and still give a lot of space to meditative practices as a means to improve existence. In addition, the West has discovered oriental meditation practices only in relatively recent times.
In fact, there were various reasons why they were accepted slowly and with difficulty. That is, in the past the Catholic Church did not accept these disciplines because it maintained that the only way to salvation and health of the spirit was through God. In addition, this philosophy was too far from common Western thought to be easily accepted.
DEMONSTRATION OF THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION
However, in more recent times meditation has been examined without the moral and religious prejudices of the past. In fact it has been analyzed by eminent scientists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Hence the great benefits of oriental meditation have been recognized and the link between meditation and wellness. In particular, it is a discipline that requires patience and reflexivity made above all of immobility, silence, guided visualizations. In fact, the ideal would be to practice with a teacher with a long meditative experience behind him.
COMPLEX DISCIPLINE THAT REQUIRES CONTINUOUS STUDY For example, it is a much more complex activity than it may appear. However, the best known meditation masters do continuous exercises and study a lot. That is, serious professionals will always affirm that it is a discipline in which there is always something to learn. For example, the most serious teachers are those who have the habit of doing refresher courses at least once a year. In Italy, the teacher or the simple practitioner can go to the Buddhist monastery of Santa Cittarama (Rimini). Or the ideal would be to go directly to the source of Buddhist thought, namely India.
IMPROVEMENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL
Furthermore, the meditation practice produces a radical change in every aspect of the practitioner’s life. In fact, the concept is often reiterated that the follower of the Buddha’s thought becomes a better and different man. That is, he changes his name to highlight the change in personality. In addition meditative practice is a union of spiritual (concentration, silence visualization) and physical (stillness and postures) actions. That is, it is a sequence of systematic, intelligent and refined movements. Therefore this practice links meditation and wellness.
Therefore it is a discipline that amplifies the faculties of concentration and observation. In particular it is an activity for intelligent, introspective and, above all, individuals who are not in a hurry. In fact, the meditative practice does not give appreciable results in a few days or weeks. That is, it is not like in the gym where after one or two months you begin to notice muscle hypertrophy.
POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES ON THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM AND PSYCHES
That is, it is an activity that acts on the most sophisticated and refined functions of the central nervous system. In conclusion meditation and wellness became the same thing. That is, the release of nerve growth factors (NGF) is stimulated which increases the length of axons and dendrites by improving the connections between neurons. In addition, it creates a sense of peace and well-being by increasing the release of endorphins. In addition, an increase in the capabilities of the immune system is demonstrated. Therefore, a reduction in the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal capsules linked to meditative activity was noted.
Then , cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal capsules and the increase in its production is linked to stressful conditions in the organism. That is, from the physiological point of view the body has a defense reaction from stress by sumenting the production of cortisol which produces an increase in blood sugar. In fact, accumulating sugar in the blood serves to have a ready-to-use energy source for the organs to face an emergency. So this is the reason that ties stress to increased cortisol and blood sugar.
Consequently, stress produces an increase in blood sugar with a whole series of negative consequences. That is, a greater possibility of the occurrence of inflammatory states, a more frequent stimulus to the production of insulin by the pancreas. Furthermore, there is an increase in weight due to the transformation of sugars into fats within the adipocytes.
POSITIVE EFFECTS ON THE SPIRIT
In particular it is a complex discipline based on meditation and wellness in which spiritual and physical activities merge. In fact, it is an activity that involves the maintenance of particular positions that are often not simple. Therefore they require a high level of muscle preparation and elasticity that are not easy to obtain. In conclusion, it is not uncommon for someone to start this activity full of enthusiasm and then retire. In fact, it is essential to have intelligence, constancy and methodology because the physical and above all psychological changes induced by meditation are constant but very slow. That is, it takes a lot of patience to appreciate the benefits of meditation. But those who manage to pass to a higher level in this activity can no longer do without it.
In particular, it is a complex discipline in which spiritual and physical activities merge. In fact, it is an activity that involves the maintenance of particular positions that are often not simple. Therefore they require a high level of muscle preparation and elasticity that are not easy to obtain. In conclusion, it is not uncommon for someone to start this activity full of enthusiasm and then retire. In fact, it is essential to have intelligence, constancy and methodology because the physical and above all psychological changes induced by meditation are constant but very slow. That is, it takes a lot of patience to appreciate the benefits of meditation. But those who manage to pass to a higher level in this activity can no longer do without it.
In fact, modern medicine has shown the enormous beneficial effects of this oriental discipline now widespread also in the West on body and mind. So all of this has resulted. in recent years to the spread of many meditation centers in all cities of the Western world. In fact, this new discipline has been accepted by the scientific community as something very positive for improving the quality of life.
So all this is the consequence of the desire to find nourishment for the psyche. That is, it compensates for the spiritual emptiness that pervades Western civilization in which the values of peace and introspection seem relegated to a lower level. Therefore placed in a subordinate position with respect to the values linked to work, earnings and efficiency imposed by the culture of money and efficiency linked to economic logic. In particular, they are imposed to make the modern economic system more productive while neglecting an equally fundamental aspect for the quality of life. That is, that of harmony between spirit, body and reality.
doc. Massimiliano Mangafà