Meditation, much more than a fad!

So many benefits

Soothing against stress

Regular practice of meditation leads to a decrease in the production of cortisol, the main stress hormone, as well as an increase in the secretion of oxytocin (soothing hormone) and endorphins (well-being hormones).

Effective against aging

A study conducted on participants in a meditation retreat (compared to a control group) suggested that intensive meditation practice is likely to increase the secretion of telomerase (an enzyme that protects chromosomes from senescence) and therefore slow down cellular aging.

Useful against overmedication

Meditation helps people taking medication to treat chronic illnessfor example diabetes, to reduce the doses for the same effectiveness. It can also help to better support the side effects of heavy drug treatment. and make it more effective. For a long time, our Western societies have considered meditation as a spiritual practice reserved only for followers of Buddhism, casting a cautious eye on it. In the 1980s, it became secularized and became a privileged object of study for scientists. Contributing to its recognition, hundreds of publications have highlighted its countless benefits on physical and mental health. We now know that meditation reduces stress, improves sleep, increases immune defenses, limits hypertension, lowers the risk of death from heart attack or stroke, boosts cognitive performance, prevents relapses after depression, contributes overcoming addiction…

Meditation, a valued presence in the hospital

Widely validated scientifically, meditation is also present in many hospital departments where it is proving to be very effective in improving the quality of life of both patients and caregivers. “His approach to thoughts, emotions and sensations, which the person is invited to accept as they are, without judging them, is particularly interesting in the management of the pain and anxiety associated with them, advances the philosopher Fabrice Midal. By acting on the suffering – these negative thoughts that we add to the pain (it will never stop, I will not be able to bear it for long, it prevents me from living…) – meditation has a impact on the pain itself.”

Is meditation the recipe for happiness?

Outside the walls of the hospital and research labs, meditation has met with real success. The books giving the keys to daily meditation and the courses offering an introduction to this practice meet with the support of the general public. Such enthusiasm is probably explained because beyond the benefits highlighted by scientific studies, it can bring us much more. “To meditate is to offer ourselves the opportunity to profoundly change our way of being, insists Fabrice Midal.

Thanks to meditation, we can learn to meet everything we live with attention, presence, benevolence, without judgment and thus manage to transform it.. Not only what is painful and saddens us, but also what is pleasant and which we tend to let pass without enjoying it as much as we could.” Could this be the recipe for happiness? “In any case, meditation makes happy, that’s for sure”, smiles the of such a stay organized by a naturopath.

An encounter with yourself

According to Fabrice Midal, one of the virtues of meditation is to allow yourself to be left alone. “By meditating, we learn to let go of the innumerable pressures resulting from social and family injunctions, which prevent us from really being who we are, he says. When we meditate and we welcome with honesty what we feel in this moment, we cannot be anything other than ourselves, neither more nor less, as we are and without playing a role. In this exercise, we are necessarily sincere with ourselves and then touch our deepest being. And we experience an invaluable relief.” What a relief indeed to no longer struggle to be a parent, a grandparent, a perfect spouse but to allow oneself to feel imperfect, sometimes not at all up to the task and other times quite formidable!

Beware of misconceptions!

A very attractive program but which may seem abstract to neophytes. Because, basically, what does it consist of to meditate? And watch out for misunderstandings. “Meditation is often misunderstood and badly taught, reduced to a simple technique for well-being or personal development, to a standardized protocol, annoys Fabrice Midal. This is how we can believe, wrongly, that to meditate, you have to clear your head. Or watch your thoughts go by, as if they were clouds, without trying to stop them. Or eat, cook, walk… in short, do everything in full consciousness. absurd injunctions that lock us in a straitjacket and make us feel very useless when we can’t do it.” The specialist confides that he once tried to swim in full consciousness and that he… sank! Impossible to be fully aware of the movement of his arms at the same time as that of his legs! “Meditation should be a liberation, a relief, a practice without stakes that one does not need to succeed”, he adds.

Allow yourself to take a break

It can be summed up in one attitude: be present. That is to say intentionally focus our attention on what is happening, around us and within us. Of course, this requires taking a break from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. “The first step is to land on the ground, observes Fabrice Midal.

Whatever our meditation posture, sitting cross-legged on the ground or on a cushion, or on a chair with our feet firmly planted on the ground, we are grounded, anchored and therefore reassured. This is one of the first virtues of meditation. As soon as we begin to meditate, the simple fact of asking, of allowing ourselves to sit, of really being where we are, soothes, relieves and gives strength.

Break away from your thoughts

Once posed, how to succeed in being “present”? A small exercise proposed by Fabrice Midal to beginners can help to better understand this concept. “It’s about listening to what you hear around you, he describes. Just listening, without passing judgment, without thinking that the noise of cars is unpleasant or the song of a bird, pleasant. Without even immediately putting the words “car” or “bird” on these sounds, like an extraterrestrial who would hear them for the first time and would be unable to characterize them. We listen, we don’t look for anything, we are there, in the present moment.”

In a second step, we can try to hear the emotions present in us, in the same way that we listen to the noises. “Here too, we don’t put words right away, suggests Fabrice Midal. We start by being in the experience: I feel that I have a tight throat or tension in the solar plexus. Then, rather than to say to myself “I am anxious”, let us formulate it differently: “Anxiety comes to visit me”. Thus, we do not cling to this emotion, we do not identify with it. It is there, simply, we welcome it but it is also brought to leave”.

Some present meditation as a form of gymnastics which one should practice daily to obtain results. A utilitarian discourse incompatible with this practice. “Meditation should not create any obligation, notes the philosopher. One can meditate in a completely punctual way, in the face of a specific difficulty, for example when one has insomnia. his quality of life, a certain assiduity will have to be considered in the long term.” To each according to their needs and desires…

Fabrice Midal, philosopher and founder of the Western School of Meditation is the author of

Meditate for Dummies

(ed. First, October 2021, €22.95).

The voice, a precious help

Are you worried about not knowing how to go about it? Opt for guided meditation, podcasts recorded by experienced meditators. You will then have nothing else to do but let yourself be carried away by their voice and follow their suggestions. Fabrice Midal has designed thirty-five in his book Meditating for Dummies in the form of QR codes to flash with a smartphone.

You will also find some in the books of Christophe André, Meditate day by day (€24.90) or time to meditate (€19.90), accompanied by a CD, published by L’Iconoclaste.

Meditate with grandchildren

You can share this activity with your grandchildren, provided that it is not intended to calm them down because you find them restless. “Meditation should not be seen as a way to silence children or make them more attentive at school, but it is a light and playful tool that can help establish a relationship of trust and complicity, warns Fabrice Midal. This may lead them to confide in the cause of their agitation. He recommends the youth album My Little Meditation Journey, by Clément Cornet, ed. Gründ (€12.95)

Sectarian excesses, let’s remain vigilant!

In his last rcontribution published in July 2021the Miviludes (Interministerial mission for vigilance and the fight against sectarian aberrations) warns of the increase in reports linked to practices derived from yoga and meditation (159 in 2020, almost twice as many as in 2019).

In general, remarks that are too esoteric or pseudo-scientific should alert.

Same circumspection in the face of a coach who always asks you for more personal investment or seeks to distance you from your loved ones.

Caution again when a course suggests associating meditation with fasting.Finally, it is essential to check the seriousness of the supervision. Last August, a 44-year-old woman died during such a stay organized by a naturopath.

We wish to thank the writer of this post for this incredible material

Meditation, much more than a fad!

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