Mindfulness - an ancient meditation technique and an approved medicine
Mindfulness – an ancient meditation technique and an approved medicine
Most of the people agree that Yoga, listening classical music, chanting Om, etcetera are all great for health. The truth is no doctor can prescribe yoga or any of the other activities mentioned before to his patient – he is not allowed to. A doctor will certainly have no problem if his patient wants to try these and might even recommend some of these activities but he can not write it on his prescription. Any medicine or activity can only be prescribed if its efficacy has been tested with experiments in lab and approved by the medical fraternity.
A doctor can certainly prescribe mindfulness though. Mindfulness is usually prescribed for reducing stress and alleviating mental ailments like depression. Its efficacy has been tested and it has been accepted by the medical science. Mindfulness is found to be highly effective in preventing recurrence of depression.
John kabat Zinn is a pioneer scientist who started studying mindfulness scientifically. The medical fraternity looked at Zinn’s research with great skepticism initially. Many scientists carried on the research on this ancient form of meditation and the results came out to be promising. It was accepted as a therapy and psychologists formed a package in which mindful meditation was combined with the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Mindfulness is based on vipassana meditation of Buddhism. Its practice helps the meditator to be aware of his experiences by observing them mindfully and accepting them without judgement. It is like a martial art for mind and practicing it desensitizes the ‘mind’s knuckles’—pain and pleasure do not have much impact on the well-practiced mind and it attains a peaceful state.
A mindful person develops a deeper (yet detached and non-judgmental) appreciation of life as it unfolds. Her mind attains a state where she does feel the pain but her suffering is reduced; she understands what pleasure is but her desire is tamed.
fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) images of meditators’ brains who have been practicing mindfulness for many years show that the activities in their brains exhibit a different pattern than common people. There is a monk named Matthieu Ricard, who has been doing meditation for more than thirty years, is said to be the happiest man alive. The claim is not verifiable, and Ricard himself refutes it blithely with a cheerful grin, but fMRI image of his brain does show ‘peaceful’ patterns.
Mindfulness has been studied comprehensively and numerous researches have verified its efficacy. It has been developed from an ancient Buddhist meditation technique and it is an effective modern day medicine.