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Should I Stop Meditating?

Discussion in 'Meditation, Mindfullness, Religion, Spirituality' started by jandrade1997, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. jandrade1997

    jandrade1997 Member

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    I've come across studies showing that meditation increases serum serotonin, melatonin, oxytocin and GABA. Ray Peat's articles have helped me understand why melatonin and serotonin are harmful by increasing inflammation, harming the thyroid etc. Does this mean the elevated melatonin and serotonin in meditators is harmful? If so, should I stop meditating in order to prevent an increase in melatonin and serotonin? It seems odd that the body perceives a relaxation technique as stress and feels the need to produce more serotonin.
     
  2. Mittir

    Mittir Member

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    Do you have a link to that study? How would anyone know what you are talking about?
    Before you stop meditating it would be a good idea to make sure that study is a good
    study. I believe you know the difference between hard science and soft science.
    Medical literature is full of conflicting studies and many worthless studies.
    RP pointed out studies where they used lard to show saturated fat is harmful.
    But these " scientists" did not notice grain fed lard has 30 percent PUFA.
    You will find many examples like this in RP's articles. Even when you have good studies
    you have to be able to interpret that in bigger context. This is why you need
    people like Ray Peat, who has depth of knowledge to be able to pick good studies
    and then explain those studies.
     
  3. pranarupa

    pranarupa Member

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    There are multiple studies showing benefits, increased DHEA, decreased lactic acid, increased cortical surface area etc. Benefits can also be felt.

    I have seen some studies showing increased serotonin METABOLITES, interpreting exactly what is going on here is difficult.

    Given the fuzzy, abstract ideas about meditation floating around its difficult to say whether people in some of these studies were even meditating.

    Meditation / Dhyana is a development of focused concentration / Dharana, if you can't focus with unwavering attention for at least a short amount of time then you cannot meditate (imho).

    I don't think its accurate to describe meditation as a "relaxation technique".

    It might not be a good idea to base all of your decisions on clinical studies.
     
  4. Pointless

    Pointless Member

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    I know it's an ancient thread, but I was hoping to revive it to get some people's perspectives on meditation. Is limiting your focus to a single point, such as concentrating on your breath, for extended periods of time, beneficial metabolically or not? Does it reduce stress, or does it cause stress through sensory deprivation? Any long-term meditators want to weigh in on this?

    I found this study on meditation and serotonin/melatonin, but it raises as many questions as it answers: The effects of long meditation on plasma melatonin and blood serotonin. - PubMed - NCBI
     
  5. lvysaur

    lvysaur Member

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    I clearly remember a quote from either Peat or Haidut claiming that "stimulus deprivation" acted differently (probably less bad) from other stresses in some context.

    I'll post it if I find it
     
  6. Elephanto

    Elephanto Member

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    It's stressing to high energy people, like children. Most monks represent the polar opposite of youthfulness and health, often they are bald, fat and with poor skin. They go through a lot of restraint and that is stress.

    Sure but "less bad" doesn't mean good and can mean "still pretty bad". Peat advocates a stimulating life.
     
  7. Ahanu

    Ahanu Member

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    I believe that limiting your focus or narrowing it, is a bad idea for the most of us as. Les fehmis work is about that. shows what different Styles of attention do to our brain. Also, a lot of advanced methods at least in buddhism are the total opposite of the "narrow" styles. See dzogchen, choiceless awareness etc
    EDIT:
    "This is from a famous dzogchen teacher about meditation:
    The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit.

    We should realise openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

    We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases
    tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by
    which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life..."
    Copy Paste in Google and u find the whole Text. I like it because it stresses the importance of including and not excluding
     
  8. Sheik

    Sheik Member

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    Meditation is not limiting your focus. Most or all of the mistakes people make in practice seem to be due to misunderstandings. If you suppress your thoughts and it causes you stress, you're not doing it right. Mistakes are part of learning.

    Monks being stressed may have nothing to do with meditation itself. There is a culture of self-denial in certain communities. You don't have to starve yourself, and you don't have to sit indoors for 16 hours a day if you want to have a meditation practice. 20 minutes may be enough.
     
  9. Pointless

    Pointless Member

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    I read the article, and I find it pretty interesting. I think it goes to an extreme, though.

    I think there's a lot of truth to this, but I'm a bit skeptical that just sitting and practicing "everyday life" is going to have any benefits for me. Still, the intentional practice of carefree acceptance and openness, that is at least something. I'm experimenting with resting my awareness on different parts of my body and seeing what thoughts arise with carefree acceptance.

    After reading some other posts here on this forum, I'm more and more skeptical of traditional concentration meditation or deep breathing exercises. I'll see how this works. I guess I'm hoping for more mindfulness and a reduction in stress that lasts throughout the day.
     
  10. tara

    tara Member

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    I am not an experienced meditator (maybe one day), so this doesn't represent any expertise, just musings.

    My guess is that there are potential physical benefits from meditation from at least 2-3 mechanisms, quite possibly more.

    1. It is often accompanied with more relaxed breathing (or in some cases, reduced breathing). For many people this would probably result in a slight improvement in CO2 status.

    2. It can often practice the ability to either focus stably on something very present and real and/or to observe ones thoughts and sensations with acceptance and without either changing something to make them stop, or following them down habitual thoughtways. Either or both of these may help make us less reactively triggered by potentially stressful thoughts and feelings - ie it may help reduce our tendencies to get stress hormones up when noticing potentially annoying/stressful events in the past/present/future. (Eg like not repeatedly rehashing old conflicts/traumas, etc, and setting off the same stress hormones that arose when the threat was real and present.)

    3. Meditation is often done with some thought to posture, particularly spinal alignment. This might mean there is easier blood circulation (and maybe neurological flow?) to the central nervous system.

    4. Meditation that observes physical sensations throughout the body may help maintain innervation whereever one attends? Innervation is good for physical maintenance of tissues.
     
  11. Ahanu

    Ahanu Member

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    Sounds good! All the best! It is good to be sceptical and cautious. Meditation can easily be used to escape reality. Especially the ones with heavy concentration focus and it is always helpful to stop and see what and why one is doing what one is doing. This was/is one of the most helpful techniques for me: observing the motivation behind everything i do through out the day. Very funny :)
     
  12. CoolTweetPete

    CoolTweetPete Member

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    Meditation is a great tool for focusing on the present. A lot of people go through life in a continuous string of disjointed never ending thought,

    "I like this song".. "Maybe I should have brought a jacket".. "Is my phone ringing?".. "Maybe I'll have soup for dinner", and so on.

    I think meditation can teach folks to get off their run away train of thought and enjoy the present as Tara mentioned. Certainly did so for me. I never even noticed I couldn't stop thinking until I finally stopped thinking.
     
  13. Such_Saturation

    Such_Saturation Member

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  14. lisaferraro

    lisaferraro Member

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    Thanks @Such_Saturation! The funny thing is I practice mindfulness and spent 12 years in India HEAVILY meditating :): I enjoy exploring the topic from all corners, each adds in an interesting piece to the puzzle.
     
  15. Thoushant

    Thoushant Member

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    maybe something intersting to add to Tara and CoolTweetPete:
    I used to "practice" meditation by focusing on a single chakra at a time, with some chakra music. It feels like a very fine tuned/ precise form of spinal alignment to me, pressure builds up in whatever area(typically solar plexus chakra for me) and eventually fade(or breathed out) and I can push the spine back to alignment.

    I meditate using a paced breathing app and when I reach a daily less than 3-4 breaths pr min, with every breath I feel the air going in slowly, I feel the blood flowing to the feet/hands, I feel my heartbeat, and my focus is just on point with anything(that is in the 20s it takes to breath out, before I breath in again, I sorta shift focus to breath and back to whatever again). I'm just more comfortable in my own body
    I find the greater focus comes from having time to identify new emotions, and dealing with them before my next breath in, so I don't get overexcited/overstimulated/overwhelmed.
    from that point, I think it decreases inflammatory signals, as emotional wellbeing is improved.
    after achieving presentness, meditation is kinda useless, it can be kept by journaling and dealing with new emotions as they arise. but it's good from time to time to to keep you balanced.
     
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