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Perhaps someone can eventually work these books somewhere into the article?The Goonie 1 (talk) 05:32, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

What have a series of philosophical discourses from Emperor Marcus Aurelius to do with meditation? Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 05:37, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
Never mind. I jumped the gun suggesting that, before I actually read through them. Cursed wikipedia reading misleading me.The Goonie 1 (talk) 05:41, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

More detail?[edit]

I think this article is lacking on the scale of pseudo-science behind meditation; it may lead to quick dismissal of the practice, although it looks to me as if the attempt was made to be somewhat specific. In general, this is not feature-quality material; that's probably the whole of the issue.

I'll preface this by stating that it's my personal belief that many philosophies and religions--and the whole concept of "spirituality"--have a proper, worthwhile basis. I'm inclined to interpret "spirituality" as more a matter of the self, whether you ascribe the self to chemical reactions in the brain or a metaphysical presence of consciousness (a soul, spirit, whatever). In that sense, the "mind" may be ill in some way, while the "spirit" is brought to peace by facing, analyzing, and accepting the difficulties the mind encounters; spirituality may be considered a subset of psychology, although psychology is a pseudo-science in itself beyond the very shallow surface.

With this understanding, many practices of meditation tend towards "healing the spirit" or other such goals. For example, Taoism teaches us that everything has a dual nature, for example that violence is necessary to maintain peace; it also teaches us that everything requires a balance of its dual nature. One form of meditation involves exploring such truths internally and allowing your mind to draw the conclusions it will, without consciously interfering.

A person troubled by their desire for safety and peace but faced with violence they don't understand how to answer will be sickened physically by stress; but by meditation, they may relax themselves enough to reduce the stress response triggered by trying to consider the virtues of violence in these situations as self-defense. Consequently, they may be willing to defend themselves physically when needed; and they may also gain an understanding of balance that tells them not to injure their opponents just because they've made violence necessary. Thus, they may come to peace, abandon their constant fear and stress, and become capable of taking necessary actions without taking excessive actions--and without experiencing stress due to their actions.

By this example, at the very least we can rationally conclude that meditation enforces a person to relax and think; it trains their homeostatic stress reaction to settle at lower levels, and trains their mind to allow both pleasant and unpleasant thoughts. This in turn teaches them to relax, and to accept that they and the world around them are full of unpleasantness; which, in turn, leads to a reduced constant stress response, and increased physical health.

Being a "spiritual" concept, meditation is something very personal; it's impossible to qualify as a science, or directly as a medicine, because the deciding factor of what form of meditation is most beneficial is specifically what the person desires. Fancy tests and guidelines may steer a person towards a form of meditation that is unhelpful to them; while pure interest may drive them to something that seems to oppose their needs and even seems as if it would cause severe stress reactions (for example, someone who is uncomfortable with sexual imagery may practice Tantra meditation specifically to teach their mind to relax and embrace sexuality).

For this reason, attempting to quantify meditation "rationally" falls short; while attempting to discard it wholesale also falls short. Until someone brings the spirits of the dead to talk to me, I will remain skeptical of the power of drums and quiet humming to raise consciousness to contact the invisible world; however, I can plainly see and explain the psychological reaction garnered by deep insight meditations, and the physical reaction caused by the reduction of stress. The exact procedure will always be a very personalized quality that only the individual can truly determine for themselves; but the benefits, for some, are there.

I say all this because it is interesting: Meditation is not something we can explain scientifically; but it is something we can demonstrate has a real effect scientifically. We can even explain that effect. Yet we cannot explain the actual process in any scientific terms; it is, for the most part, a very large hand wave. It's not even placebo; very real psychological activity is taking place during meditation, and the fundamental procession of thought is being retrained. For that reason, rationalizing it and rationalizing it away are both fundamentally flawed.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

FTA From a rationalist and secularist standpoint, meditation is a valid practice that does not have to be linked to any religious belief at all. The psychology community may promote meditation as a general stress-relieving technique. Hardly dismissive. If you want more than that please feel free to add and amend. This is a Wiki after all. Jack Hughes (talk) 18:02, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

I've found these two studies. I don't know how serious they are, if their effects have been confirmed or not. Do you know anything about them?

Gianga23 (talk) 21:59, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Thing is that the "benefits" of it are not the end result. If you feel peace, joy, or calm then you are essentially doing it wrong. Meditation was never intended to be a self help thing.Machina (talk) 23:25, 10 January 2019 (UTC)

Switching the template[edit]

I'm going to switch the template on the side of the article to the psychology template. If you have a problem with this, feel free to roll it back. I would however like to note that as a valid practice that has legitimate psychological benefits, it doesn't need the stigma associated with the New Age template. Necromancer 16:14, 31 January 2015 (UTC)