Buddhists here in Syracuse and elsewhere are often less stressed out and in touch with their emotional ability to share compassion due to meditation. The Buddhist Channel, http://www.buddhistchannel.tv, has written “Meditation reduces stress, instills compassion”.
Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta are reported to have said a meditation practice invented more than 1,000 years ago may have real health benefits for people today.These scientists have been researching how an ancient Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice called Lojong may help reduce stress itself, as well as to improve the immune system’s response to stress, said Dr. Charles Raison, principal investigator of the study at Emory. Raison presented preliminary results of the study to the Dalai Lama, who attended the Compassion Meditation Conference in Atlanta on Monday. This project is called the Compassion and Attention Longitudinal Meditation Study (CALM).
“Lojong” means “mind training,” and this meditative practice is aimed at making a person more compassionate toward other people, including friends and enemies. This is the type of meditation that the Dalai Lama primarily practices. Raison has also said about Lajong “It tries to train people to rethink and reimagine their relationships with other people. It’s a series of visualizations and mental challenges where you use meditation to challenge why you feel the way you do about people.”
People who learn Lajong are taught to look at all people equally as being valuable and important, and then attempt to develop strong feelings of compassion. These people first examine compassion towards people whom they already care about, then towards people about whom they feel neutral, and then finally towards enemies. Raison has gone on to say “In its purest form, it’s a way of practicing, of learning to become very thankful for your enemies because they help teach patience and caring.”
These researchers have found that the more a person practices this meditation, the more stress-reduction benefits he or she receives. It appears you can get stress-related benefits from meditating three to four times a week. And Raison has said “It’s not necessarily something that would require a complete change of life. You don’t have to go off and go to a monastery.” Raison feels the best venues for meditation are quiet places where the person feels peaceful, which may be somewhere outside. Preliminary data from the studies of these scientists have also suggested that meditation did make the participants more compassionate in their interactions, but more study needs to be done to confirm this, Raison has said.
Buddhists here in Syracuse and elsewhere should therefore continue practicing the type of Lajong meditation that the Dalai Lama himself practices in order to help reduce stress and nurture compassion.
Mandel News Service: www.mandelnews.com