Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brain Training

It's only been relatively recently that we've realized that physical exercise was of benefit to us.

It's pretty common to hear that someone is going to the club or gym to work out, or going to play tennis or basketball, for example. People walk or run and part of the reason that they do this is they expect some kind of benefit from it.

What's less common is that people will have, or talk about a mental practice.

I'm not sure why. There are people who take drugs to increase their concentration, for example, or to feel less depressed, but the idea that their is "brain exercise" or that there is a need for such exercise does not seem all that widespread.

And yet the benefits of even a simple and brief meditation practice are well-documented and undeniable. We can be calmer, with greater concentration and creatively. We can be less reactive and more kind. We can have more mental endurance. Our immune system function is enhanced and blood pressure is lowered. We experience less reactivity.

And the first step is just to notice what's happening. What's happening right now? What are your thoughts telling you? And how much of it is actually true? Do that a few minutes each day and you have a proven practice for training your brain.

Someday, maybe soon, "What kind of meditation do you practice?" will be just as common a question as "Where do you work out?" is today.


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