4 of 4
4
God of the Gaps
Posted: 21 November 2007 10:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Brennen,

I can see how a “walking meditation” can be beneficial. But I still fail to see the point of fighting the invisible samurais in a slow motion (Thai chi). It reminds me of what Doug has recently said when discussing health:

dougsmith - 30 October 2007 07:37 PM

Well, honestly, I think the real take-home message here is not to worry yourself so much about food. Eat a balanced diet, relatively low meat consumption, make sure to thoroughly wash and cook food, do not cross-contaminate, etc., don’t smoke, don’t drink to excess ... that’s really about 99% of what you need to know.

People end up obsessing about the other 1%, but it’s really not worth the time and effort.

Again, outdoor activities are certainly very important. I just don’t see why you should get any healthier if instead of walking in the park you will stay still on one foot with your eyes closed and your hands pointing to the sky. I don’t think there is any harm in it, but I am very skeptical about any additional effects this might have on your mental or physical health.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2007 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15435
Joined  2006-02-14

Good to be skeptical, George. I did Zen meditation for a number of years and found it pleasurable. Had I not enjoyed the process (and how I felt afterwards, which was more important; meditation is hard work, like exercising) I wouldn’t have done it.

Meditation may have some health benefits. I do know that doctors prescribe meditation-type exercises for people with high stress levels. But AFAIK the health benefits are unproven and largely hypothetical. Which means, if you don’t enjoy the process, don’t do it.

That said, like exercise, it gets better the more you do it. When you start out it’s a PAIN.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2007 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

What are the chances of meditation acting as a mere placebo? (But I guess that’s what “mental health” is all about.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2007 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4108
Joined  2006-11-28

Well, I have no idea if meditation improves any aspect of physical health. It seems to help me feel less scattered, frazzled, and disatisfied with my life, but I’m not making any claims beyond that. Perhaps, George, you don’t feel that way, or you have naturally an easier time focusing, shutting out distracting thoughts and anxieties, etc than I do, in which case you likely wouldn’t find the activity useful. My response was primarily directed at what I perceived as a disparaging tone in your eariler post that suggests the activity is pointless and about equivalent to a quick nap. I just think that misses the intended purpose of the exercise and ignores a lot of people’s experiences with it. Insofar as it is directed at changing one’s subjective experience and attitudes, it’s not easy to say anything scientific or objective about it. Apart from some interesting but not very strong fMRI studies, I don’t think we know if it’s anything more profound than a way of improving focus and mood by practice. Doesn’t matter to me, since I don’t have any particular faith in the metaphysics behind the activity anyway. It seems harmless (unlike so much of religion), so I’m happy to get what I can out of it without necessarily knowing why. I’m certainly not selling it to anybody, anyway.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet Blog
You cannot reason a person out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place. 
Johnathan Swift

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 November 2007 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

Okay, I am filing meditation back in my indecisive dilemmas part of my brain and try to come back to it in my life when I am ready.

Profile
 
 
   
4 of 4
4