Propelled by technological breakthroughs in neuroscience enabling researchers to monitor brain activity, the medical community is awash in studies showing that meditating has beneficial physical effects on the brain. Those studies are being joined by others demonstrating that advantages include everything from raising the effectiveness of flu vaccines to lowering rejection rates for organ transplants.
So mediation is good for your health. Both physical AND mental. So is exercise. Both physical AND mental. So is food. So what's new here?
Why are these things getting so much ink? Why are the findings such a surprise?
It's the old mind vs. body thing.
Descartes stirred up quite a fuss with his model of mind-body duality, and we still haven't recovered. But here in the 21st Century, we're discovering there is no mind-body duality, there is only mind-body unity. Not dualism, unifism... or something like that. The mind is the body, the body is essentially the mind. According to some, the mind extends even beyond the body, into the things we use to help us think and without which our brains could never have developed into what they are today.
Evolution happens much faster than we once thought. So does climate change. So does social change. We find that our bodies and other bodies, such as heavenly bodies, such as the Earth, are also not as separate as we once thought. The dynamic push and pull of influences is ongoing and unstoppable.
Michael Douglas revealed on the weekend that his throat cancer is due to cunnilingus he performed sometime within the past 20 years. Turns out that four in five male throat cancers are due to this, compared with one in five twenty years ago, and the age of contraction is going down to the 40s from the 60s. Is this the result of the women's revolution? Has women's claiming of their pleasure produced an STD no one ever contemplated? Well, what if it has? Social change is about change, but exactly what changes cannot be predicted. The point is we are all part of the same circle. Our interdynamism with our environment, which includes one another, requires we put dualism behind us and realize not only that we are one with everything, but that everything is one with us.
The mind is a prediction machine, but we can't know what will happen long term as a consequence of what, and that's frustrating. That lack of control is something which we can overcome to some extent, but to the extent to which we can't, we have to find inner peace. Which brings us back to mediation.