Clinical, Mystical & Practical angles to Meditation

A conclusion one can reach from reading a recent article in WSJ, is that meditation is finding its way into the US primary-care settings, such as clinics and hospitals, having spent time incubating in research institutions such as Harvard medical school. Institutions such as NIH (National Institute of Health) are becoming more comfortable with meditation as a symptom management solution. Many physicians recommend meditation as a complement for treating depression, panic, anxiety disorders, ongoing stress, or cardio health. The South Asian Heart center in SF Bay area suggests its patients to begin meditation practices. Clinical dose of mediation dose for insomnia patients starts at 5 minutes, working up to about 20 minutes twice a day.

Meditation in the east has been a mystical practice for centuries. Mystical experiences, often referred to as energy awakening are reported by those practicing meditations for a while. Chris Dale, a long time meditator write about how in his case such mystical experiences created a craving for the high from his meditation sessions until he started understanding the mechanism behind it. He describes the shift "...I feel that the mystical has become the normal. Exotic experiences now seem like sweets. I have them occasionally but am not craving for them..." No wonder physicians are cautious about the dosage of meditations to be about 20 minutes. Instructors of popular meditation practices such as Sahaj Samadhi also recommend a 20 minute practice for non-monastic folk.

The west is discovering the benefits of age old practices from the east but the east appears drawn more towards alcohol as an escape its mental turmoil. The situation is dire in Indian villages. Increasing suicides among its farmers points out to increasing mental symptoms as listed in the first paragraph. Meditation and related techniques were once well grounded in Indian village life and traditions. Singing while sowing, sitting with one's eyes closed, listening to temple bells and chants, an entire village coming together to celebrate gram-devatha festivals were parts of finding a natural outlet to one's stress. Yet, the education system in India today is undermining these very practices. Back to the Roots Project is unlike any other NGO program in drawing awareness to the benefits of native wisdom along with service activities addressing the material comfort of Villagers.