(NaturalNews) In addition to bringing peace of mind and greater mental clarity, meditation has anti-aging and disease prevention qualities that are now being scientifically proven in western medicine. Thousands of years ago, meditation practices focused on gaining spiritual insight to one's being. Today, though many conceptually recognize meditation's stress reduction potential for better health, few have the patience and perseverance to practice daily. It may be worth the effort, all things considered!
Nobel Laureate Elizabeth H. Blackburn, who specializes in cellular biology, discovered a link with stress to telomeres and telomerase. Telomeres are chromosome protective caps. Blackburn likens them to shoelace tips. When those tips fray, the whole lace begins to deteriorate. And the shoe laces in this case are chromosomes, which carry genetic information to our cells.
Telomere length is a determining factor in aging and longevity. As cells divide, the telomeres get shorter. Eventually, when the telomeres get too short to protect the chromosomes, the cells will die to prevent them from mutating because they lack chromosomal protection. So maintaining telomere length is vital to anti-aging and longer good health.
Telomerase is the enzyme capable of repairing and lengthening the telomeres, which shorten and wear down with aging. Exercise promotes telomerase. So both exercising and meditating seem righteous. But don't feel guilty if you prefer getting on your duff instead of off your duff and into a gym. Meditation has a lot to offer.
Blackburn conducted a study of mothers who were care givers for chronically ill children or wives caring for dementia addled or Alzheimer diseased husbands. She compared that to comparable mothers and wives of healthy children and husbands, and found longer telomere lengths among the latter group.
Dr. Robert Keith Wallace devoted several years to studying the anti-aging potential of meditation. He determined that those who practiced meditation had younger biological age markers than normal for their chronological age, often by 12 or more years. Conversely, those who led stressful lives and consumed toxic substances to relieve that stress had higher biological ages than their chronological years.
Designate a calm area to meditate and a schedule. The right time is not as critical as steady practice. Sit cross legged comfortably on a blanket or cushion on the floor. If that's too uncomfortable, start with sitting straight in a comfortable chair with both feet on the floor. Relax, close your eyes.
Don't be tense. Don't have expectations. Your attitude should be that you're going to be there as an impartial observer, without judgment, attachments or aversions to whatever comes to mind.
You're not meditating to force thoughts out of your mind. Nor are you there to intentionally visualize any fantasies or think through whatever you consider as necessary to resolve. The purpose is to allow your mind to unwind, freeing it of clutter. An analogy is watching the sky passively as clouds come and go while changing shape.
Focusing on the breath without attempting to control it is a common method for maintaining focus in meditation. Some prefer mantra repetition. If you find yourself wandering too much or dozing, gently bring yourself back to that focal point.
It may take a short while or long time before you notice results. Consistency matters most. You could seek a meditation teacher or attend group meditations to help you along.
The goal is letting go. Stress induces physiological harm and telomere damage because of our emotional reactions to external events, not the events themselves. Developing equanimity leads to less stress reaction, better health, more clarity, and a sense of being more in the now.
Paul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com