It has been written that at least two well known people experienced some form of enlightenment while sitting under a tree.
Isaac Newton is believed to have been sitting under an apple tree when he developed insight into his theory of gravity. Buddha was sitting under the Bodhi tree when he experienced enlightenment.
This was a sacred fig tree with heart-shaped leaves; perhaps both men were in a meditative state at the time of their revelations. Newton's was more scientifically oriented, and Buddha's was more of a spiritual experience.
In the past 40 years, there has been a “surging interest in meditation” and meditation has been reported to have “significant psychological, physiological and therapeutic effects.”
For example, one study documented increased concentration and attention where attention was related to performance.
There was an increase in cognitive abilities and creativity. Those who meditated were more relaxed, confident, more conscientious and less anxious.
In medical students who meditated there was an increased level of empathy and a decreased level of anxiety and depression.
Also meditation has been noted to result as “effective intervention” for patients with cardiovascular disease, chronic pain, substance abuse and hypertension.
Meditation can be good for your mental and physical health according to the Huffington Post. It can lower stress and has helped college students improve their grades by improving cognitive function.
In some instances meditation was better than blood pressure medication in helping to treat hypertension.
Meditation helps to protect telomeres or the protective end caps of chromosomes which therefore helps with “anti-aging.”
Psychology Today reports that without meditation the brain may become in a “stuck on me” mode leading to over thinking and worrying about yourself.
If you meditate on a regular basis, several positive things can happen. This includes less stress and less worrying.
In the end, this means that you are able to see yourself and everyone around you from a clearer perspective, thus helping you to become more compassionate and empathetic.
Meditation has been described by one author as being a bench press for your brain.
Meditation may increase the number of folds or gyri in the cerebral cortex of the brain and therefore increase the number of neurons or brain cells.
Meditation is often used to clear the mind and help ease some health issues. It has been practiced since antiquity yet has different meanings in different contexts.
Buddha attributed the paramount mental qualities of insight or samatha and insight or vipassana to meditation.
I would encourage you to at least learn something about meditation through the many helpful books and instruction CDs available.
It is not necessary to sit still in an uncomfortable position for hours at a time.
As little as 15 minutes a day will be helpful, and this could even include what some call a walking meditation; therefore, you could exercise your body and clear your mind at the same time.
EB White is probably best known for his children's book “Charlotte's Web,” but he wrote a short story called “Second Tree From the Corner.”
Because of the recent ice storm, the second tree from our corner in our neighborhood is no longer there.
The massive hackberry tree uprooted and fell, missing hitting our house by only a few feet on the night of Feb. 12.
I am glad that it missed as enlightenment could have been rather painful in this instance. Now that is something to think about.
David Keisler is a gastroenterologist and internist in Aiken.
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