As we know, in recent years meditation has gained popularity in the West, with some frequency as a way to “treat” the mind, troubled continually by the type of society that we have formed: so full of distractions, demands, of ghosts that oblige us to pursue, and more. In this context, it is logical that the promise of stillness which brings meditation is for some just as attractive.
What does the meditation that so many people have devoted to your practice? Of entry (and leaving for a moment aside the fact that there are various forms of meditation), a haven of peace, authentic to the subject able to focus. The general premise of meditation is to observe without judging, observe without clinging, to observe without going: to observe and nothing more than observe. What in specific? The thoughts, the ideas that both in times of tranquility as in the voltage cross on our head, and to which our most common response is to get us hooked to them, let take it and drag our attention and lure us out of what we are, outside of our here and our now.
That loss of mental and momentary our present is the source of many of the states of mind for which, with some frequency, an individual is about to meditation to combat them or eradicate them from your life: the fear, the anguish, the anxiety, the sadness, and some other related.
However, there is also a possible discrepancy between what is intended to find the approach to meditation and, on the other hand, their effective results. Some studies argue that meditation reduces stress, strengthens the resilience and even help you lose weight, but what is not always said is that this does not happen the same way or with all people. To the extent that each mind is a world, as we pray in the common place, the meditation can come to affect that world in function of those same circumstances, depending on how it’s configured that mind.
As proof of this we may cite a recent research from Brown University in which it was noted that meditation has a better effect among women, whereas for men it seems to be a method of minimal results.
The study participants included 77 college students, who took a 12-week course of meditation mindfulness. In parallel, the young people attended weekly seminars on the theme and sessions of 3 hours per week in a lab where we measured the effects of meditation in your life and your psyche.
According to the report of the experiment, the average overall time of meditation was 41 hours per person for the 12 weeks that lasted the study and including practice in the home. However, when you do the division by gender, the scientists noticed that, on average, men think about a total of 7 hours more than women.
To obtain a comparison of the effects of meditation, the researchers applied a questionnaire to students at the beginning and at the end of the study, in which they asked that they will require the frequency and intensity with which they felt both positive emotions (curiosity, excitement, joy, etc) and negative (shame, anger, irritability, etc) in your daily life; also, in another section they had to express their degree of agreement or disagreement with phrases related to meditation, such as “I can observe my emotions without getting lost in them.”
In general, both men and women reported a significant improvement in many aspects of life associated with the practice of meditation. But in particular, only the women reported a decrease sensitive in their negative emotions, categories in which change for men was minimal.
Willoughby Britton, head of the study, said that this same phenomenon happened in another couple of investigations that are about to be published. In your opinion, the difference between men and women may be due to the ways so different, in both genders, in the cultures of the West, respond to the negative emotions: women tend to “internalize” their emotions and process them with the critical towards themselves, while men tend to overcome and get distracted with other outside activity.
Meditation, in this experiment, perhaps taught women to be less critical about themselves (and hence the report of the substantial improvement), but in men it reinforced the habit of “not thinking about that,” which often apply their own feelings.
Be that as it may, this experiment can also show the difficulty involved in bringing a technique formed in another cultural environment, with other ideas and other ways of thinking, a different and alien. And it is not that meditation is useless per se for westerners, but without a doubt it would be worth taking it in the right context of the tradition to which it belongs, and, on the other hand, the cultural environment where it has been built our own psyche.