Mental Health And Meditation
Meditation, being the most rewarding state of human consciousness, has as much scientific approach as any other practice of the training of mind and body has. Therefore, it is fundamental for any keen and committed practitioner of yoga to know the scientifically proven outcomes of practising this most difficult but rewarding training of the human mind.
Mankind has seen and explored the “human brain”, being an organic entity. No one has ever seen the mind, which is very much referred, by every human being, in day-to-day life. Medical scientists have evolved the discipline of mental health and psychology, on the basis of the study of human behaviour, which reflects the “state of mind”, in all situations. A critical and analytical study of these behaviour patterns has helped in evolving the science and art of mental health and psychology. Experts analyse, diagnose and introduce clinical and psychological interventions for the well-defined states of human mind and behaviour, based on such study. Such study is also the basis of diagnosing a “sound/ healthy mind” or “unsound/ unhealthy mind” as well as normal and abnormal behaviour patterns. Introduction of any mental/ yoga training modules is also based on such study.
Many controlled studies have been done in the western medical schools and universities on yoga and meditation. One such study, conducted at Boston University Medical School, reveals that blood levels of an amino acid (Gama Amino Benzoic Acid- GABA) are found much higher in individuals, prasticing yoga and meditation, in comparison to those not doing the same. This chemical is essential for a relaxed mind and prevents depression. Similar other studies conducted on meditation reveal that frontal and temporal areas of brain are found more lighted in such individuals in Magneto Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) studies, showing the seat of yoga activity in the brain. One area of the temporal lobes of human brain, on either side, has been named as “God-Spot”, being electrically most active, in the individuals engaged in religious-devotional activity and meditation. Similarly, pain relieving and relaxing neurotransmitters—“Endorphins”—are found more profusely in individuals, regularly practicing yoga and meditation.
These few scientific revelations are simple proof of the measurable, beneficial effects of yoga and meditation. They do not measure and reveal, what happens to the power of “life-force”, which is greatly affected in meditative individuals and brings difference in their personality. It is a on account of the fact that there is a very limited area of human configuration which can be empirically examined by such tools and techniques. A large part of human configuration (soul, chitta, vritties, gunas etc.) being beyond matter, is beyond the investigations, as applicable to the material world. Therefore, there is a role of subjective feeling and realisation, for the internal changes which happen on account of meditation and consequent elevation. It is this realisation and very personal experience which is the cornerstone of personality transformation, on account of meditation practice. How restlessly we aspire to realise it is the subjective concern of each yoga practitioner.
By Dr Dipak Shukla