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I have a question for the Atheists

  1. andycool profile image68
    andycoolposted 6 years ago

    I have a question that's basically a food for thought I guess, at least to me. It's medically proven today that "meditation" brings  physical changes in the structure of our brain. I wrote a hub also long ago about the changes... the change is mainly at the amygdala, brain’s prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula region.

    Now meditation is chiefly a spiritual practice, and its origin lies in Hinduism. That doesn't mean an atheist can not involve in meditation. Theoretically it can be practiced without being religious. Not only that, atheists can experience the changes in their brains by separating the spiritual aspects of meditation from the scientific aspects.

    How many atheists are there who believe in meditation? And how many of them practice it? Is it literally possible to practice meditation without being religious, since meditation has its origin in religion?

    If a believer gains direct help from meditation and lives a quality life (in this case I'm assuming for most of the people practicing meditation is impossible without being religious and as a student and teacher of Statistics, Mathematics and Economics it's impossible for me to no relying on assumptions), how the atheists would love to respond and react if I say at least in case of meditation being a believer pays.

    1. pearpandas profile image62
      pearpandasposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I'm agnostic, and I meditate.  It is great for calming down and improving focus.  I am confused as to why you would need some kind of religious affiliation to do this?

      1. andycool profile image68
        andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        No confusion please, I'm not raising the issue to favor either the religious or the atheists. I love to discuss and analyze people's opinions. I made it clear in the original post, didn't I? Thanks for your response! smile

        1. profile image60
          tajiatalposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          No, you were not clear.

          "I'm assuming for most of the people practicing meditation is impossible without being religious"

          A mental exercise does not require belief in a religion.

    2. profile image0
      Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      can you provide some articles about meditation causing structural changes to brain?  I hadn't heard that before - I was aware that meditation & relaxation techniques can change brain wave activity

    3. kwade tweeling profile image82
      kwade tweelingposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Great question!

      Meditation exercises your mind and body and helps you connect the two. All too often in our modern world it is easy to neglect our bodies and their ability to tell us what they need.

    4. qwark profile image59
      qwarkposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I'm not an atheist, agnostic, deist or a believer in "superman."
      I've never "meditated."
      I've never felt I needed whatever "meditation" is supposed to provide.
      Jeez! Have I missed sumthin'?
      Qwark

      PS I do take an afternoon nap! Does that count?

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        There is evidence that it help with health and feelings of well-being.  But then, so does wine and dark chocolate.  I know which I prefer.

        1. qwark profile image59
          qwarkposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          I'm with ya Psyche!

  2. psycheskinner profile image81
    psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago

    There is plenty of scientific evidence that meditation can be very good for many people.  It is something you can do, or not do, that will either help or not help you.  I don't see that as a matter of belief any more than information about not smoking or jogging or having friends is.  (Meditation has helps people who did not have prior belief and do not practice it spiritually--being a believer actually doesn't help when it comes to getting the health benefits.)  These are good health practices.  I don't meditate, but I don't jog either.  That's just me being a hedonist, not me being a heathen (although I am both).

    1. andycool profile image68
      andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      You're absolutely right, except "being a believer actually doesn't help when it comes to getting the health benefits". I've seen a lot of believers directly benefited by meditation... that's why the root of meditation is found in religion. Anyway, thanks for your enriching response. smile

      1. profile image0
        Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I recall my pentecostal mother declaring yoga, meditation etc all evil.

      2. kwade tweeling profile image82
        kwade tweelingposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Placebo effect. When you believe in something, it will work for you. With meditation, it has natural physical effects anyway and it's easy to see the good. Easy to believe in.

        I have seen a lot of religious people poo poo mediation to death. I have seen a lot of other religious people try it and decide it was some "new age BS." I have also seen a lot of atheists and non religious spiritualists connect well with meditation and benefit greatly. In my experience, those who do not tie themselves to an organized religion benefit the most. But then again, I have lived mostly in areas populated by dominating religions who think they have a free ticket to heaven because their religion is the right one.

        1. earnestshub profile image89
          earnestshubposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Can you move elsewhere? That would drive me nuts!

          1. profile image0
            Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            me?  I moved country from NZ to Australia!

            1. aka-dj profile image79
              aka-djposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              Isn't that a move of states and not countries? lol

            2. earnestshub profile image89
              earnestshubposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              No Not you BB, you live in paradise. I was speaking to someone surrounded by fundies. I hope you are not surrounded by fundies!

              There is a beautiful valley just North of Brisbane that is well worth a miss! lol

        2. andycool profile image68
          andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          To kwade tweeling:

          You're right... blind religion and blind atheism lead you nowhere, "Sanatana Hindu Dharma" was not blind and it's the oldest organized religion today.

          But unless one studies the Vedas and Upanishadas extensively, one cannot understand it.

          "Sanatana Hindu Dharma" is far more life-enriching and enlightening than the other prominent organized religions of today! Thanks! smile

          Sanatana => Developed spontaneously for ages without the help of any single preacher (like Christ or Mohammad)
          Dharma => Religion

  3. melpor profile image89
    melporposted 6 years ago

    Meditation is simply the practice of relaxing your body and mind. You do not have to be involved in any religious activities to experience the benefits of meditation. People basically connect meditation with religion and vice versa. Both atheists and religious people can enjoy practicing meditation.

    1. andycool profile image68
      andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Fine, thanks a lot for your reply! smile

  4. profile image0
    Muldanianmanposted 6 years ago

    There are religious practices from a variety of religions which are good for the mind.  Meditation is not just a Hindu practice, but has also been used by Christian mystics from the earliest of times.  I attend yoga classes, which I feel I benefit greatly from, but I know nothing of the religious history behind it.  But this makes no difference.  Prayer is a kind of meditation, which has been shown to be good for the mind.  However, none of this points to there being a god or to any truth behind any religious belief. Anything which stills the mind can only be a good thing.

    1. andycool profile image68
      andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Thanks for your reply with some humble corrections:

      Meditation and yoga originally are tools to calm the mind and body that were invented by the Hindu Priests. Prayer is simply not meditation.

      Otherwise you're right. smile

      1. psycheskinner profile image81
        psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Prayer may however have similar effects on our physiology etc that meditation does--especially as it is practiced by mystics.

        1. andycool profile image68
          andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Not really, prayer can't change the structure of your brain unless you do it like doing meditation. But if somebody says "I do my prayer the way you do your meditation", I have nothing to complain. smile

          1. psycheskinner profile image81
            psycheskinnerposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Nobody has done an active MRI study on it which controls for the type of prayer just as meditation studies control for the type of meditation.  partly because most people don't enter controlled experiments where they agree to start or stop praying according to strict protocol.  If they did I expect it might well have similar effects for prayer that has meditational qualities.  I doubt that the fact one meditates on breath or a chant is crucial and meditating on God, or a flower or a gerbil would likely work in a similar way.

            1. andycool profile image68
              andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              "I doubt that the fact one meditates on breath or a chant is crucial and meditating on God, or a flower or a gerbil would likely work in a similar way."

              Great answer, I like it really. Thanks! smile

      2. profile image0
        Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        what do you consider references in the bible of 'meditation' to be?

        http://www.bukisa.com/articles/193786_b … meditation

        1. andycool profile image68
          andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Bible owed it to the Hindu Priests... Mantra, Tantra, Yoga and Meditation were invented several thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ (to be precise 3000 BC)! smile

          http://www.meditation-techniques-for-ha … ation.html

          1. profile image0
            Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            this article says meditation gave rise to religion, not other way around.

            What about verses in the bible that say to meditate - how is this different from other forms of meditation?

            1. aka-dj profile image79
              aka-djposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              My understanding of the differences is in Eastern Meditation you are supposed to "empty" your mind, but the Biblical version is to focus on scripture, IE, fill your mind with the Word.

              I'm no expert on it, but that's what I thought. hmm

              1. andycool profile image68
                andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                aka-dj, you're absolutely right. Thanks! smile

                1. aka-dj profile image79
                  aka-djposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  Just call me dj. smile

                  1. andycool profile image68
                    andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                    I've a tendency to copy the name and then paste it... sorry for that! smile

              2. profile image0
                Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                my pentecostal mother was paranoid the devil would enter an emptied mind

                1. aka-dj profile image79
                  aka-djposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  sad

                  1. profile image0
                    Baileybearposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                    I had drummed into me that I was not allowed to 'relax' in the bathtub for fear the devil would enter my mind

  5. Beelzedad profile image60
    Beelzedadposted 6 years ago

    I don't meditate, I play hockey and golf instead. smile

  6. literarychimp profile image59
    literarychimpposted 6 years ago

    I think by defining "meditation" as health therapy you are already removing it from its religious context. It varies from tradition to tradition but meditation was a process to achieve transcendence. Now whats transcendence one may ask? Well, transcendence always involved separating yourself from bodily existence but most of the supposed health perks you attribute to meditation pertain to bodily and cognitive existence. The irony to your post is reducing mediation to a health utility is a typically modern post-religious way of looking at it.

    1. andycool profile image68
      andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Actually what I tried to convey subtly is to state that medical science owed it to religion so far as prescribing meditation to a patient is concerned. Please check out the category of the post. Thank you! smile

      And wanted to know how the atheists react... but it seems nobody's around!

      1. literarychimp profile image59
        literarychimpposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        No you asked "Is it literally possible to practice meditation without being religious, since meditation has its origin in religion?"  Well if you see the point of mediation as "bring(ing)  physical changes in the structure of our brain" then you are not looking at it in a religious way but rather a typically modern, utilitarian, scientific way. So I think its a case of the tea-pot calling the bottom of the saucepan black.

        1. andycool profile image68
          andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Thank you for being able to read my mind... I love you! smile

  7. literarychimp profile image59
    literarychimpposted 6 years ago

    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your meaning? But that might be because your original post is confusing. I'm not the first respondent to have this confusion am I? Is what you are saying 1 we should acknowledge the role religion had in developing beneficial practices or 2 that one has to be religious in order to appreciate these practices? If you mean 1 then my criticisms are valid since you are defining meditation in a non-religious way, if its 2, then yes then meditation originates in an ancient religious technique but I think what we call "meditation" is a secularised version of that ancient technique.

    1. andycool profile image68
      andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I think human civilization thrives on confusion. What's your take?

      According to politicians like Truman, "If you can't convince them, confuse them." smile

      1. literarychimp profile image59
        literarychimpposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        So that what you are at with me is it? Well I bet Truman wasn't confused himself though, he just confused people so they would believe what he believed. Interesting quote though. When and where did he say that?

        1. andycool profile image68
          andycoolposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          That I don't know... maybe in one of his speeches, but it's a famous quote and I just love it and try to apply it wherever possible... like now I'm trying to apply it at the so called atheists! big_smile

      2. Jerami profile image78
        Jeramiposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I think it went something like  If you can't impress them with your intelect...  then baffle them with your B.S.

           At least that is the way I heard it.

  8. dutchman1951 profile image60
    dutchman1951posted 6 years ago

    Andy, sorry but, after reading all of this, your answers etc...

    I think you are an example of the very quote you use, or at least as baffeled and confused. Possily you need to take your advice and Meditate!

    no religion is required nor will non belief ever be required to meditate and practice relaxation techniques?????

    why even suggest it..?

  9. earnestshub profile image89
    earnestshubposted 6 years ago

    As a carpenter, I would make a good blacksmith! lol
    I can't even cut wood straight, my dog is probably better at it than I am. I'm jealous, as I love timber. I just seem to be hopeless at it. I did renovate a very large Victorian I owned many years ago.
    it took me 11 years! No, not a typo .... eleven years! lol

  10. Mikeydoes profile image80
    Mikeydoesposted 6 years ago

    When dealing with the brain there really are so many unknowns. It is absolutely amazing what the brain can actually do. Your subconscious holds so much information that you are unaware of.

    How you use it is apparently up to you. I try to use it on things that will directly help me make money, or become smarter or better at something. For instance if I wanted to get better at doing flips off of a diving board. I would spend my time visualizing every step my brain must take. I do this with my left hand constantly and boy is it getting good.

    As for meditating. 100% yes. I love to go in my bathroom, shut the door, turn off the lights and sit in my jacuzzi and just think. Relaxing the rest of my body so that my brain has nothing to do lets me unlock creativity, new ideas, solve problems, and so much more.

    It honestly is in my top 3 of things to do, and it is a rather new hobby.

    I used to notice myself doing it and at that point it would screw me up! Because my brain would be very engaged in a topic. And out of the blue I will move or think of me actuallly being in the tub. At that point I try to remember everything I "dreamt" or Meditated" up. I'm liking it more and more because it is extremely relaxing and lets me get a grip on life.

    I do this for 30 mins to an hour a day when I can.

 
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