The Power of Prayer and Meditation
Since the beginning of man, there has been prayer and meditation. While that may be common knowledge, most do not know the effects prayer and meditation have on the human mind and body. Many people may regard these practices as useless and archaic, however many also believe they have powerful effects; such as stress relief, and improvement of mental and physical health and even brain growth. Although it may be a controversial subject, there are many studies on the effects of these practices. In the end, the actuality of these affects remains a mystery.
Though both claim to produce much of the same effects, prayer and meditation are ...view middle of the document...
One claimed effect of prayer and meditation is a feeling of a spiritual high, euphoria, or a feeling of loosing control of your body. These feelings are believed by some to be because you are experiencing a spiritual contact with your god, or you are finding spiritual balance. Others believe that this is because of changes in the brain during these practices. Studies by a scientist named Newburg and his team have shown significant brain changes in people who pray or meditate a lot. “Pray and meditate enough and some changes in the brain become permanent. Long-term meditators--those with 15 years of practice or more--appear to have thicker frontal lobes than non-meditators. People who describe themselves as highly spiritual tend to exhibit an asymmetry in the thalamus--a feature that other people can develop after just eight weeks of training in meditation skills.” (Jeffrey, Kluger, Park, Walsh p.1) This effect on the brain growth is very positive since growth of the frontal lobes and thalmus can increase memory.
Another effect that prayer and spiritual meditation may have would be the inner or emotional healing it can provide. “Prayer provided a framework around which the interdependence of inner and outer transformation and healing could occur” (Stanley, p.11). The act of praying for forgiveness, or communicating or meditating on the one you believe is the creator of the universe and yet loves you unconditionally, can give you a sense of peace and purpose. Since peace would be the opposite of stress, and stress can cause negative emotions, it wouldn’t be farfetched to state that prayer increases emotional health.
Some believe that beneficial health effects of prayer and meditation are non-existing or a placebo effect, much like when a person believes they were healed by a product that has no healing qualities. Many believe prayer is close to useless, judging from the fact that people who pray are struck will illnesses just as well as the ones who don’t, and...