What Happens When You Meditate for the First Time?

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Source: Yogaforthenewworld.com
Christina Sarich
September 7, 2016

This article was originally featured on the Mind Unleashed

There have been numerous studies detailing what happens to the brain in long-term meditators, but what exactly happens to people who meditate for the first time?

Sara Lazar, a Harvard researcher, has gained quite some notoriety detailing how the brain actually grows grey matter when people meditate. Other studies have shown that meditation improves IQ, and lessens depression. In addition to these benefits, meditation also:

  • Reduces alcohol and substance consumption, reduces blood pressure (Chiesa, 2009),
  • Decreases anxiety, depressive symptoms, and relapses (Coelho, Canter, & Ernst, 2007; Kim et al., 2009)
  • Helps patients suffering from various types of chronic pain (Chiesa & Serretti, in press)
  • Lowers the incidence of stress (Chiesa & Serretti, 2009)
  • Aids cancer patients (Ledesma & Kumano, 2009)

Most people think they have to meditate for years before they start seeing any of these improvements, but a study conducted by Chiesa, Calati, and Serretti shows that after just eight short weeks of meditation, people start to experience improved cognitive functioning.

Still not fast enough for you?

Meditation for the First Time

Here’s what happens to the brain after someone completes just one meditation session who has never meditated before:

  • People start to become less ‘me’ centered as the brain balances the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which allows us to ruminate our worry, and the Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC), which allows us to empathize with others and feel more connected to those who we usually view as dissimilar to ourselves.
  • The fear-center is calmed via the amygdala and the two branches of the nervous system. You know that ‘uh-oh’ feeling you sometimes get? Meditation helps to make sure that you only feel low-level stress when you really need to, such as when you are about to put your hand on a hot stove, or you need to put the brakes on in traffic. Even then, meditation can help take the stress out of stress-full experiences.
  • The very first time you try to meditate, the mind calms down. It doesn’t mean you will experience profound inner peace the first time your bum touches a meditation cushion, but it does mean that you are already setting up new neural pathways that allow positive change. Each time you ‘sit’ again, you enhance them.
  • You’ll feel less depressed. Meditation is getting a lot of press lately because of this study by Mahav Goyal published at JAMA. 47 trials conducted with over 3,500 patients proved that meditation was as effective as anti-depressants. (The effect of meditation was moderate, at 0.3. If this sounds low, keep in mind that the effect size for antidepressants is also 0.3.) The difference is, of course, that meditation can’t kill you or cause other unwanted side effects, like psychotic episodes, panic attacks, hostility, etc.

Beginner Meditators

Though it takes a few more sessions, here is what happens when you meditate a little more frequently:

  • You’ll feel less physical pain in just four meditation sessions. Brain activity decreases in the areas responsible for relaying sensory information surrounding a feeling of pain. Also, regions of the brain that modulate pain get busier, and volunteers who participated in a study reported that pain was less intense after meditation practice. These results were all reported at an annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.
  • The ‘me-center’ slowly evaporates. As the connection between bodily sensations and the vmPFC withers, you will no longer assume that a bodily sensation or momentary feeling of fear means something is wrong with you or that you are the problem. You can just let it rise and pass, without hardly giving it a second thought.
  • Empathy becomes stronger. The vmPFC part of the ‘me center’ subsides and the dmPFC grows more dominant, which means you can feel others’ pain or sadness, but with the same ability as you’ve learned to handle your own bodily sensations.

Masters of Meditation

Once you’re an old pro at meditation you can look forward to even more benefits, many of which science is still reaching to understand.

  • Tibetan monks can sit for hours in meditation as easily as most of us can spend the same amount of time sleeping or surfing the net. These monks recently dried wet sheets with their bodies by utilizing a form of meditation called g Tum-mo. Monks were cloaked in wet, cold sheets (49 f / 9.4 c) and placed in a 40 f (4.5 c) room. In conditions such as these the average person would likely experience uncontrollable shivering and suffer hypothermia. However, through deep concentration, the monks were able to generate body heat, and within minutes the researchers noticed steam rising from those sheets. In about an hour the sheets were completely dry.
  • Yogis in India who practice meditation are able to slow their hearts so completely that they are hardly detectable on EKG equipment. In 1935 a French cardiologist, Therese Brosse, took an electrocardiograph to India and studied yogis who said they could stop their heart. According to Brosse’s published report, readings produced by a single EKG lead and pulse recordings indicated that the heart potentials and pulse of one of her subjects decreased almost to zero, where they stayed for several seconds. (Brosse, 1946)
  • A master meditator, Munishri Ajitchandrasagarji, is a Jain monk who credits his incredible memory to meditation practice. He can recite 500 items from memory, whether it is a phrase from one of six different languages, a math problem, or the name of a random object. He recently performed this feat in front of an audience of 6,000 to verify his amazing level of skill. It took six hours for the crowd to feed him the list of items, and he recited them back perfectly.
  • Dutchman Wim Hof is able to control his immune system with meditation. He has been in the Guinness Book of World Records 20 times for accomplishments like climbing Mt. Everest and Kilimanjaro in nothing but a pair of shorts and shoes, with no water or food, when temperatures easily reach 50 degrees celcius. He uses a special breathing meditation.

So maybe the first time you learn to control your thoughts by focusing on your breath, or simply observing your thoughts like clouds passing in the sky won’t make you a master meditator capable of these staggering acts, but even with your first twenty minute ‘sit’ you are well on your way to other-worldly abilities.

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About the Author

Christina Sarich is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. PriceNexusAtlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.

Read More At: YogaForTheNewWorld.com

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Featured image: Mturkforum

7 Actions Individuals Can Take To Navigate Through The Media Minefield

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“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Edward Bernays, Propaganda

“Much of what is reported as ‘news’ is little more than the uncritical transmission of official opinions to an unsuspecting public,” wrote Parenti.  Fox news commentator Brit Hume stated, “What [the mass media] pass off as objectivity, is just a mindless kind of neutrality.” 
– Jim Marrs, Rise Of The Fourth Reich – The Secret Societies That Threaten To Take Over America

TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
July 16, 2016

As of late, have had quite a few friends and acquaintances online and in person ask me how is it possible to figure out what information passes muster in our information overload reality of ours.  This got me thinking about the simple things that experience has taught me over time

Below follow some of the tenets that have helped me greatly for nigh a decade in being able to discern more and more what’s what within media.

#1: Don’t believe anything anyone says, including me.

Just because the media states something, doesn’t make it true.  As the Walter Lippman once said, “News and the truth are not the same thing…”.

If we take a cautious approach, we make sure we are not being mislead into opinions being passed off as facts, or a belief-system [i.e. the current race war propaganda nigh everywhere] at the outset that might work against us.  If in the end, the information is still true, nothing is lost.  But when news ‘happens’ to be incomplete, or if its disinformation, misinformation, or downright deception, we as individuals stand to pay a heavy price by believing news without verifying what’s being said.  Be wary.

#2: Remain open-minded, but skeptical, about everything.

Open-mindedness seems to be quite rare these days.  True open mindedness is open to all, and keen discernment will help to gravitate to what’s sensible.  But we need to remain skeptical as well, because there’s many agendas in play with certain information, and many motives behind the scenes.  These can help drive information in numerous directions, which is why it’s hard to ascertain the truth at times these days.

#3: Vet the information with relentless research.

As individuals, it is imperative that we proceed in our search for facts with a devoted approach that’s as flexible as it is trenchant.  Asking shrewd questions is practically mandatory to get to the bottom of things, or at least to follow certain leads.

What are the sources/references of the article, researcher, and people quoted there in?  Is the information presented ironclad?  Has any information been presented by others that repudiates that very information?  Have any of the data points been eviscerated?  Is there a conflict of interest [especially monetarily] involved?  Etc etc.

Only by plotting a course will we get to where we wish to get, which is the truth.  Incisive questions facilitate this task.

#4: Always remain flexible to the information presented.

For instance, when information about the Zika virus came out, at first there were several people within my life that were really concerned.  At the outset, they showed great fear at such possibilities.

However, it was suggested for them to keep an open mind and not be fearful, because it could be that the information was not being presented in a complete manner.

Soon thereafter, it was not only found out that Zika was nothing new since it had been around for decades with no issues whatsoever, but that the issues that stemmed from the Zika allegedly causing microcephaly was hogwash.

Jon Rappoport of NoMoreFakeNews.com & JonRappoport.wordpress.com covers this is at length:

The Zika-microcephaly connection is scientific nonsense. Let me run it down for you.

My analysis is beyond, “But Expert A says…” I am not dealing in appeals to authority, but instead the standards of evidence anyone can see if he opens his eyes.

First of all, the latest figures out of Brazil, the so-called epicenter of the microcephaly tragedy, reveal the following: 854 confirmed cases of microcephaly; and of those, 97 cases show the presence of the Zika virus.

Inference? Zika is not the cause of microcephaly. If it were, researchers would be able to detect it in all, or the overwhelming percentage of, microcephaly cases.“[1][Emphasis Added]

There article provides many important data points to ponder regarding this abstruse subject.

The whole point is, when initially examining an issue, don’t get married to an opinion/statement,  regardless who it’s done by.   Many times evidence surfaces that blows holes in the official story large enough to ferry the titanic through.

#5: Analyze how the information is presented.

Is the information infused with fear, or is it self-empowering? 

Within a lot of the media, be it mainstream or alternative, there is an noticeable undercurrent of fear taking place.  This causes individuals to not only live very limiting lives believing that the end is nigh [in some cases, literally] but also leaves individuals feeling powerless.  That’s unacceptable.

Information can be presented in a manner that is concerning, but still self empowering.  Be mindful of this.

#6: Always ask yourself who benefits from this.

Those who may benefit from certain events might be organizations or they might be specific people [i.e. George Soros].  However, always keep in mind almost always there are large factors at play that couple to institutions, organizations, or secretive groups who benefit from certain events taking place, or certain news being disseminated.

By following that rabbit hole, it will be easier to ascertain what kind of agendas these individuals might have given the discipline involved, the institutions involved, and any other poignant data that would be useful.

#7: Always remain calm.

No matter the issue at hand, a state of total awareness is vastly more beneficial than a state of panic.

When people panic, mistakes are made – big ones.  Mistakes can have great cost.  Don’t set yourself up for failure.

We are all different individuals, so what helps one person might not help another.  For me though, what’s helped me the most to remain calm is meditating, yoga, reading, working out, and mindful breathing.  These five tools help zap nigh all the stress out of my life.

One of my friends loves swimming, a lot.  This helps her stay centered.  Other friends gravitate towards writing and whatnot. Do whatever helps you best.  Either way, be proactive about remaining calm and collected.

To finalize, the basic seven tenets above will help guide individuals towards an incisive discernment in various types of information provided.

As long as we remain self aware and cognizant, we will be able to see clearly when an attempt is made to manipulate information.  Once an individual has practiced this enough, it becomes an automatic tool in one’s repertoire to that nets great results.

Ample benefits await.  All an individual has to do is be inquisitive and discerning.

Your ability to see through the veil of lies if you so choose is boundless  Don’t ever let anybody else tell you otherwise.

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Source & Reference:

[1] Jon Rappoport, NoMoreFakeNews.com, Zika: Message To Purveyors Of Medical Fraud