Vipassana Meditation Dracut MA

When they try to empty their minds, all they can do is think about the Visa bill that's due, the kids' next soccer game, the sneaking suspicion that they're about to be broken up with.

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Meditating with an Open Mind

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Some people find the quiet rhythms of meditation just plain annoying. When they try to empty their minds, all they can do is think about the Visa bill that’s due, the kids’ next soccer game, the sneaking suspicion that they’re about to be broken up with. For folks like these, there’s another option.

It’s called mindfulness meditation, also known as Vipassana, and according to researchers at the HealthEmotions Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin, it may bring just as many health benefits as more mainstream meditation. In Vipassana, you don’t exactly embrace your anxious thoughts, but you don’t have to push them out the door and move the dresser in front of it, either. Instead, you observe and appreciate the distracting thoughts for what they are: part of life, part of the moment.

By not resisting, you can quiet your mental chatter for a time, gain some perspective, and continue to move toward a more relaxed state. To test the effect of mindfulness meditation on overall health, the researchers assembled 25 members of a study group that was trained in the ancient practice by researcher Jon Kabat-Zinn, who tailored it as a remedy for stress back in the 1970s. Before starting to meditate, each person was given a flu shot to stimulate the immune system; that way re-searchers could compare their bodily responses pre- and post-meditation.

Sixteen people who didn’t meditate were given flu shots and included for comparison. The change was dramatic: The study group developed a significantly larger army of flu antibodies than did the nonmeditators. Also, tests showed increased electrical activity in their frontal lobes, the part of the brain associated with happiness and other positive emotions.Next, the researchers plan to study a group that’s been meditating mindfully for 30 years. In the meantime, don’t let unwelcome thoughts keep you from giving this technique a try. (But do pay that Visa bill!)

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