In reality, any meditation that requires discipline is mindfulness meditation. When you shift your focus to singular, essential functions within your body, this is mindfulness.
As of late, the psychoneuroimmunology specialists have latched onto the “mindfulness” concept because it’s relatively easy: Simply focusing on one significant body function like the breath has already had amazing success in departments of integrative medicine all over the world.
Medical doctors all over the world are just now beginning to realise that complementary alternative medicine is far more effective in its treatment modalities AND far more cost effective in contrast to mainstream allopathic drug treatments. Here is a small excerpt from More physicians suggesting meditation, acupuncture:
..Five chronic conditions — mood disorders, diabetes, heart disease, asthma and high blood pressure — account for more than half of all U.S. health expenditures, according to the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the federal government on health issues. But these are the disorders that conventional medicine struggles to treat, according to the institute.
“Studies show that $2.5 trillion is being spent in a system that is not improving the overall health of our citizens,” according to the institute. “Incidents of chronic disease are on a sharp rise and by 2023 will cost our nation $4.3 trillion.”
Proponents say CAM, which is also called “integrative medicine,” is a cost-effective solution.
Integrative treatments fall into four main categories: natural products (vitamins and supplements), energy medicine (acupuncture), manipulative practices (chiropractic work) and mind-body medicine (meditation or deep breathing)…
For Now, let’s talk about mind-body medicine.
In a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Study cited by the article, Scientists explore how Zen meditation reduces pain perception, researchers discover how zen meditation or zazen decreases individual receptivity to pain. I’m not sure how a hot plate on the thighs compares to chronic joint, muscular pain, or otherwise, but let’s see how their research panned out:
Dealing with pain
During meditation-like conditions, it appeared that meditators further reduced their pain partly by breathing more slowly: 12 breaths per minute versus an average of 15 breaths for non-meditators.
“The Zen practitioner senses pain but deals with it in a different way,” said Myokyo, a monk and teacher of Zen meditation at the Abbess Centre Zen de la Main in Montreal.
It could be that slower breathing was linked to reduced pain by keeping the body in a relaxed state, Grant said.
“While previous studies have found that the emotional aspects of pain are influenced by meditation, we found that the sensation itself, as well as the emotional response, is different in meditators,” he said.
Psychologist Ann Amsa teaches techniques such as visualization and breathing to help people with chronic pain.
Amsa said Zen meditation also works on the mind to lessen pain. Meditators observe good and bad sensations and then accept and release them so painful stimulation is felt less intensely, she said.
If meditation changes the way someone feels pain, then people would need to take less pain medication, Grant said.
The next phase of the research will involve MRI scans to learn how mediation affects brain activity…
The only item missing from this article is a citation on how Zen Meditation is done. Here is an excellent pictorial reference from Zen Mountain Monastery: Zen Meditation Instructions. It even includes a .pdf manual to take with you and study at your leisure.
As you see from the method, there is focus on the breathing to be sure. Notice something similar between all the Zazen positions? The hand positions, right? Better known as the mudra. Notice where the mudra is. According to the Zazen instructions, we place this mudra directly over the hara, or tan tien in Chinese, or better known as the center of gravity of the body to the western mind.
This place is also one of three major energy centers of focus in Eastern types of meditation (which are probably three of the seven chakras in the body). When you focus at the main energy center, at the center of your gravity, you draw energy there. The power of your intention is placed at the hara.
This energy center is the main energy well utilised in soft/hard style martial arts like aikido and taijiquan. Martial arts practitioners focus on the hara/tan tien during meditation exactly because they know this place is like a giant capacitor; the hara is capable of delivering tremendous amounts of energy from one living being to another. The usual mode of energy transfer from one body to another is through the hands.
Do you recall that post I made on Dynamo Jack? Super Human Morals of a Qigong Master. The follow up is called Keys to Qigong Meditation: Yin / Yang Perspective wherein I explain how energy is delivered from the hands.
This is a deeply academic subject. I know about it because I have a passion for it.
Since we’re talking about passion, we need to cover several other topics that this Canadian Institutes of health study seems to be leaving out: Life style of zen meditators and their intention when using meditation in their lives. I guarantee you that zen meditators have passion, not only for meditation, but for what they gain from meditation, a better passion for their lives.
Some may argue that these meditators have discipline which is why they are so good at meditation. Of course, they have discipline. What I’m saying is that a person needs passion for something first before they dive into the discipline for what it takes to do it. Did you read the article previous to this one? You love what you do and you do what you love.
Passion and Pain
Can a person who is experiencing chronic pain who has never had a passion for meditation use meditation as a tool to combat pain? Let me say this: People with chronic pain are very susceptible to suggestion. Just ask the U.S. prison guards at gitmo bay. In fact, ask any U.S. prison guard or any orderly at a mental institution. Pain causes obedience.
Does this mean pain creates passion? No. If anything, a person under chronic pain is going to have severe discipline problems when trying to practice Zen Meditation. There’s no amount of head knowledge, celebrity endorsements, or testimonials that’s going to induce passion and discipline in a person riddled with chronic pain. People in pain are looking for immediate relief. That’s why drugs are so popular; that’s all most people in pain are educated about, that’s all they know.
An Alternative Mindfulness Meditation that works for Everyone
Since most people want instant gratification from their pain, there is an alternative that helps within minutes, be it physical or emotional pain. I discussed this modality of healing a number of times; it’s called emotional freedom techniques, a form of energy psychology.
I call it a form of meditation because it does involve deep breathing and your focusing or “tuning” on one thing at a time: First your problem of pain, then self acceptance, then revealing underlying causes of the pain, then further self acceptance, then your desire to rid yourself of the underlying problems, then transitioning through your own strength to overcome the pain.
All of this involves deep breathing and tapping upon key acupuncture “shotgun” points around your body with the tips of your fingers or even your knuckles. In fact, you can even imagine the tapping; you don’t have to do it physically. It still works.
There are all kinds of example of people defeating their pain. You can see their reports at the EFT site. I will provide a few common examples, so you can have an idea about what’s going on and how it works:
- 25 years of pain from experimental surgery was eliminated with 90 minutes of EFT — Follow-up: no recurrence of pain after 8 months
- Using EFT for Pain Management – New Discovery Can Bring Major Pain Relief Without Drugs – It Can Work Where Nothing Else Does
- Intense back pain and numbness
- Tapping on love pain leads Marta to her traumatic birth experience
Those are all the examples I have to to show you right now. There are thousands more at the EFT website. Please pick up your free EFT Tutorial + Manual and check out the EFT videos. These provide all you need to know to use EFT for your self.
You will quickly discover that when your intention is directed towards healing rather than the pain, then you are expressing the power of your intention. There is much more to human intention than mainstream researchers are willing to understand because it seems to “mystical” for them.
In fact, we are spiritual beings intimately attached to physical bodies. When our focus is on healing, the healing is what we have. Energy psychology like EFT is a natural mind-body healing modality that sprang from observing nature – just like meditation. Meditation rose from the intention of healing. This is the power of your intention.
Healing Thoughts, HealingMindN