Dr Ramesh Manocha recently had a paper published titled “Using meditation for less stress and better wellbeing; A seminar for GPs”. The paper detailed a study in which 293 doctors were taught meditation in order to reduce stress and increase wellbeing. The abstract and full paper can be found here.

Using meditation for less stress
and better wellbeing
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As far as mindfulness meditation itself is concerned, the Sahaja Yoga Meditation (SYM) approach has some important similarities to mindfulness, in that it also emphasises awareness of the present moment and the idea of disengaging attentional processes from the flow of internal and external events (rather than reduction of physiological arousal). A critical difference however is that this state of “present moment awareness/passive observation” constitutes only the prelude to a more important and specific experience of mental silence — nirvichara Samadhi. Thus while SYM is a specific experience that can be preceded, if not facilitated by present-moment observation and other mindfulness methods, the sine qua non feature — elimination of thought activity — distinguishes it from mindfulness meditation.

You can find information about the implications of the similarities and differences between mindfulness-oriented meditation and mental silence based meditation at Dr Ramesh Manocha’s blog.

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Findings suggest that the mental silence experience may be associated with a specific pattern of activity in both the central nervous system and autonomic nervous system which is more complex than simple reduction of arousal and yet different from the cognitive changes seen in association with mindfulness meditaton.

Thus, although Eastern and Western ideas of meditation may seem externally similar (as might meditation and relaxation) and may initially share a number of physiological similarities, the point of both physiological and philosophical divergence between the two paradigms may be with the onset of the mental silence experience.

Ramesh Manocha

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