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

Applications of MBT with Tom Campbell [Part 3] – Relationships & Gender

EBTV on http://evolvingbeings.com presents host Evita Ochel with returning guest Tom Campbell of http://my-big-toe.com covering practical applications of MBT – My BIG Theory of Everything.

In this part 3 of 5 topics revolve around gender, differences between the sexes, how to make a romantic partner relationship work, how to know when to separate from a partner, as well as our relationship to nature and insects, and others as they relate to MBT.

Tom is a leading researcher and authority on consciousness, reality and out of body experiences, which he has been studying for over 30 years. He is a physicist, lecturer and author of the My BIG TOE trilogy.

PART 3: Relationships & Gender

1.How does MBT explain the purpose of gender and why we have it? (0:30)
– An explanation of sexual differences with respect to the rule set
– The difference between falling in love versus falling in need
– Understanding the fundamental differences between men and women
– The challenges of male and female communication
– Tom shares a prescription for both men and women specifically on how to make relationships work (applies to both hetero and homosexual partnerships) (8:50)
– The importance of men taking the initiative, as natural leaders
– Why need-based relationships don’t work, and why we have to build relationships on love
– Letting go of the Ego, beliefs, expectations and fear to benefit the relationship
– An explanation of why men are not getting short-ended in the process of applying Tom’s prescription, but given a chance to grow up
– Why negotiations in relationships fuel need-based relationships

2. How to best know if a current partnership is the best one for further growth and evolution, versus when to remove oneself from the partnership and seek a different one? (30:50)
– The importance of examining the potential of the partner to grow on a foundation of love
– Knowing that it is not about getting stuck in a relationship that isn’t working
– An explanation that love does not take two people, but one
– An explanation of how the giving is where the reward is, and that it is not about give and take that makes good relationships work
– Understanding how it is not about staying in abusive situations

3. Understanding the challenges of relationships with nature and other beings such as bacteria and insects. We are constantly waging war on our bodies and our environment, is there a better way to live according to MBT? (41:45)
– Tom shares how it has been our way to try to control and bully external environments
– Understanding that we are one with the ecosystem and that short term gain is not the answer if it results in long term loss
– Understanding the difference between killing for pleasure or out of fear, versus for survival of some sort
– The importance of intent in guiding any of our actions
– Tom shares how not to be paralyzed by not knowing and do the best you can and learn as you go
– The importance of not justifying our actions, which only fuels the Ego

4. Tom shares closing comments about how not to get lost in the intellectualizing of MBT and focusing on the theory, but rather putting it into practice and having a personal experience. (53:00)
– The fallacy of intellectualizing ideas and forming beliefs
– The importance of acting from a state of being, rather than doing
– The importance of holding a good intent and moving towards love
– Applying love in parent-child relationships, not manipulation
– The importance of bringing up fear and dealing with it on an experiential, not thought level
– Understanding that love is the answer and that we need to focus on our personal growth and evolution, not trying to fix others

The Nature of Reality, Consciousness & Evolution with Tom Campbell

[Part 1] Host Evita Ochel hosts physicist Tom Campbell as he discusses his MBT Theory and he begins by delving into transcendental meditation, and then dovetails into other aspects of his theory of everything which include out of body experiences, what is reality, parallel processing in multiple realities, knowing vs experiencing, the limitation of words to describe experiences, the non-objective nature of our reality, double slit experiment, the probabilistic nature of reality, the origin of the Big Bang, the limitations of Albert Einstein’s work, the definition of consciousness, connection of reality to consciousness, the nature of reality as virtual, placebo effect and mind healing, is it possible to be an objective human being, the uncertainty of our reality, the subjective nature of our reality, the rule set of reality, the consistency of reality, the power of intent, the role of fear and ego in creating our reality & tips for creating an optimal reality

[Part 2 Below ] Topics include further exploration of what it means to live in a virtual reality
– the possibility of breaking the rule set of reality
– the role of free will
– the role of personal responsibility
– how the mind can change reality
– the potential of prayer
– the ego’s influence on reality
– implications of positive thinking vs negative thinking
– how we can change the world – collective reality
– what is the purpose of life
– what is the purpose of a virtual reality
– the role of evolution in a digital information system
– the role of interaction and relationships for evolution
– how the rules of a virtual reality system relate to our evolution
– the role of love and fear in evolution
– feedback in a virtual reality system
– reincarnation and role of death
– the limitations of beliefs with regards to evolution
– explanation of entropy and its importance for our evolution
– what makes us more powerful people
– an explanation of decision space and what influences it
– entropy in relationship to personal decision space
– understanding the potential and limitations of the Law of Attraction
– the value of intent

[Part 3 Below] Tom talks about and/or explains the following topics:

– the impact all of our choices (work, relationship, food, entertainment, etc) on the quality and nature of our reality
– how we create our own reality
– the role of physics in a future consciousness awakening/expansion
– Dr. Edward Fredkin’s work of reality as a simulation
– the role of “other” in the creation of reality
– the limitations of science
– the merging of science and spirituality
– the science of consciousness
– spiritual evolution and 2012
– Earth changes in relevance to 2012
– the need for spiritual and scientific preparation
– advice for personal spiritual evolution
– the nature of relationships and falling in love
– the importance of doing things for the sake of being, rather than doing
– the importance of being the change we wish to see
– spiritual quest dynamics
– the value of being versus doing
– expectations, ego, fear and how they relate to spiritual evolution
– the current and future state of planet Earth

Esoteric Agenda [Documentary]

Kymatica [Documentary]