Many people are discussing the benefits of meditation, including how it is beneficial to keeping the body healthy and that meditation is where you find God/Universal Spirit/Creator/Om. I believe in meditation. I believe it is the way. That is where you discover and know who YOU are in that quiet still space and you take that YOU with you when you go out into the world –and start getting affected by everybody else’s energy (like the cashier who’s boss yelled at her, the couple who’s having an argument, etc.) Just keep showing up–some days are blissful and some days the brain will not stop chattering away and it’s all fine.
Anyway, the book “Super Brain” by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. (the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School) is very informative and interesting and has this to say about meditation:
“It turns out that anti-aging is a gigantic feedback loop that lasts a lifetime…In 2010 an exciting joint study from the University California at Davis and UC San Francisco revealed that meditation leads to an increase in a crucial enzyme called telomerase. At the end of every chromosome is a repetitive chemical structure called a telomere, which acts like the period at the end of a sentence–it closes off the chromosome’s DNA and helps to keep it intact. In recent years the fraying of telomeres has been connected to the breakdown of the body as it ages. Due to imperfect cell division, telomeres get shorter, and the risk emerges that stress will degrade a cell’s genetic code. Having healthy telomeres seems to be important, and therefore it’s good news that meditation can increase the enzyme that replenishes telomeres, telomerase.
“This research sounds highly technical, mainly of interest to cell biologists, But the UC study went a step further and showed that the psychological benefits of meditation are linked to telomerase. High telomerase levels, which also seem to be supported by exercise and a healthy diet, are a part of a feedback loop that results, surprisingly enough, in a sense of personal well-being and the ability to cope with stress. This one finding helps cement the most basic tenet of mind-body medicine: that every cell is eavesdropping on the brain. A kidney cell doesn’t think in words; it doesn’t say to itself, I’ve had a horrible day at work. The stress is killing me. But it is participating wordlessly in that thought. Meditation brings a sense of well-being to the mind, while silently spreading the same feeling, via a chemical like telomerase, to your DNA. Nothing is excluded from the feedback loop.
“The mind-body connection is real, and choices make a difference. With those two facts in place, the anti-aging brain holds untold promise.” (p. 210)