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Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen. - Bodhidharma

If you want to meditate, the main things are getting a fine method that suits you, and learn to practise it safely and soundly and reap benefits. Some accumulate over time; others may be felt for each sitting.

And then, when you sit down to meditate, disturbing thoughts and emotions may come to awareness. There is a need to deal with it. Rudolf Steiner tells something intensely interesting here:

Steiner Destiny is the result of two factors which grow together in the life of a human being; one streams outward from the inner depths of the soul; the other comes to meet man from the world around him. - Rudolf Steiner (In Bryant 1993, chap. 5, beginning)

Steiner speaks on the one hand of vibes from inside, and on the other hand of outer designs or schemes in life. In meditation we could get better aware of the destiny impulses from within us and deal with them better too. Maybe we get tough enough to deal with what meets us in the world outside as well.

May all who meditate improve their fate in so doing? It would depend on (a) a good meditation system practiced with skill; (b) our dominant choices in life; (c) our support, for example familiy and friends; (d) overriding conditions, and (e) age - and further.

It stands to reason to suspect that meditation is what we may be able to do. It may give lots of strength to carry on, improve intelligence, give better grades in schools, and in such ways can help us make better choices in life too, and sort impulses with skill. [◦Research on TM]

The factors c and d above may at least in part be outside of our reach - or maybe not. As for aging, those who have practiced TM for five years or more, are 12 years younger than peers, according to various biological measures. TM also gives happier aging, less hospital visits, money saved, less risks for heart attacks, stress diseases, and so on. It improves our odds to deal with what meets us from the outside, then. Suppose we get disturbed by vibes, thoughts, impulses and much else while we meditate. May it work for our good! The proper TM way is to resume the TM method as soon as we manage it, as long as our method is safe. And there is evidence that ◦Transcendental Meditation helps our minds much, and is very, very safe in addition. Research in Sweden by Dr Jaan Suurküla shows how much:

As early as in the 1970s, the Swedish government's National Health Board conducted a nationwide epidemiological study that found that hospital admissions for psychiatric care were 150-200 times less common among the 35,000 people practicing Transcendental Meditation in Sweden, than for the population as a whole. The calculation was made by Professor Jan-Otto Ottoson, Scientific counsellor of the National Health Board in Sweden (Suurküla, University of Gothenburg, Vasa Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1977.)

Source: Paper 127: Jaan Suurküla. "The Transcendental Meditation Technique and the Prevention of Psychiatric Illness." Vasa Hospital, University of Gothenburg, Sweden - Paper prepared in May 1977.

Dr Suurküla ends the paper thus:

The remarkably small incidence of psychiatric illness among the population of individuals who had learnt the Transcendental Meditation technique compared to the general population indicates that the TM technique is not only safe but also has considerable value in the prevention of psychiatric illness.

Dr ◦Suurküla further concludes in 2010:

TM has not only a preventive effect against psychiatric illness but effectively promotes mental stability and improved mental health, even in severely disturbed cases. . . .

Considering that there are important differences between the TM technique and [other] meditation techniques, there is no scientific basis for concluding that these results are valid for meditation techniques in general. [◦Suurküla findings]

More: ◦David Lynch Foundation.

A study in the American Journal of Managed Care indicates that there are no known side effects associated with the Transcendental Meditation technique.

So far, so good? Some use other methods, and call for other forms of mind-work than TM. If you want to make your mind matter to you, there are many books about it, such as psychoanalysis after Freud, and lots of others. Such books may or may not contain unverified claims. They may become causes of problems also. You are entitled to ask against being taken in: "Where many schools of psychology and thought teach differently, who teaches right? And where is the good evidence?"

Anyway, we do not have to believe a lot in order to take up meditation, generally speaking. We can begin to notice how many thoughts and feelings distort our experience and keep us from getting calm and energetic - and as soon as we notice them, we just resume the meditation method calmly, without getting ruffled, or overly ruffled. If we can do that, we may not need specialist help, as the findings of Dr Suurküla document (cf. Bodian 2006, 71).

As for "There is such a hope," the fit thing to do is to check the foundation of it. Expert findings that a method "effectively promotes mental stability and improved mental health, even in severely disturbed cases", tells "There are statistically founded, good reasons for hope."

A further step is to take up a fit meditation method and try it out for some time. It the method has not been studied or researched, it may or may not work well, may or may not be safe to all or nearly all. That is a caveat of a sort.

Mind-work, mental clarification, Literature  

Bodian, Stephan. 2006. Meditation for Dummies. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing.

Bryant, William. 1993. The Veiled Pulse of Time: An Introduction to Life Cycles and Destiny. Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Press.

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