Monday, October 24, 2011

Pain Is No Matter for the Meditative Mind

Remove your opinion about that which appears to give you pain and you stand painless.
— Marcus Aurelius

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
— Dalai Lama

The insight of Marcus Aurelius and the Dalai Lama about the nature of pain alludes to the practical knowledge that physical pain can be managed effectively through proper training and mental discipline, neatly summarized by the popular phrase “mind over matter.”

In the West, the notion of “mind over matter” has been circulating for centuries (at least since Aurelius and previous Stoic philosophers), yet it has been relatively recently that a technique that puts this insight into practice became the subject of serious scientific examination, namely mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation achieves this effect by cultivating a sense of equanimity through objective observation of the internal processes of the body. Over the past decade, the science of mindfulness meditation has revealed a wide range of cognitive and emotional benefits conferred on practitioners including enhanced attention, lower pain sensitivity, and reduced emotional reactivity. The evidence for these benefits has also been supported by brain imaging studies in long-term meditators showing that change occurs at the physiological level. (MORE)

Source: Brain Blogger

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