If you have arrived at this page, there is a good chance you have just joined one of our classes or are thinking about doing so. If you want some general information about who we are and what we do, visit the about page. To find out more about meditation read on or send us an email, sign up to our mailing list or Twitter feed.
Meditation for Health in Kent (MFHIK) started life as simply a teaching organisation. Experienced meditators that shared knowledge about meditation by giving classes and respond to invitations to lecture publicly. As public and scientific interest in meditation and mindfulness have grown exponentially, secular meditation teachers1 now require an engagement with science to stay abreast of developments in this field. Popular meditation reflects a fusion of traditional knowledge with scientific thinking. There are problems however in the integration of these two approaches. MFHIK is one of the few organisations able to draw together the vast experience of traditional meditation and combine it with a comprehensive scientific training. The result is secular practices built on traditional methods; but based on the most reliable of the available cognitive and neuroscientific research.
There are three elements of traditional meditation which are particularly useful for practitioners today.
- a dualism free approach
- methods able to stimulate augmentation in brain structures
In essence by meditating on compassion for self and other, using reliable methods, students can gain many of the benefits of traditional practice in a contemporary setting. Nowadays meditation is fully embedded in the mainstream, it is undertaken by people from all walks of life and it’s known to be able to offer wellbeing support and stimulate increases in brain structures.
Is meditation for you?
There are different ways of evaluating the benefits of meditation, they include personal experience, common sense and empirical measurement. Despite a great deal of scientific inquiry (see the Science of Meditation website), there is little consensus regarding a causal relationship between meditation and specific wellbeing benefits. There are thousands of studies that individually suggest meditation has an ‘effect’, but the cause of benefits that any individual might obtain is still not proven.
If you are thinking of joining an established group you may wish to consider if the experienced members reflect the kind of personal development you are looking for. Most reliable meditation and mindfulness teachers will be happy to answer questions like ‘what will this meditation do for me?’ or ‘how do I know if it’s working?’ The links below illustrate general information and wellbeing claims associated with meditation from across the last two decade. As already mentioned specific scientific issues are discussed on the Science of Meditation website. Relevant material is also included on our blog pages. You can now find reports about meditation through the mainstream media; but my advice is to use a critical eye to judge reports. The mediaNewspapers like extravagant claims regarding the benefits of meditation.
- Meditation appears to be better than gardening for busting stress.
Effects of mindfulness meditation: growing insights into neurobiological aspects of the prevention of depression here.
- “There is increasing evidence that meditation is a useful and, for some people, a powerful therapy” Dr Adrian White, University of Exeter. Full article here.
- “Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana), date to 1500 BC in Hindu Vedantism. Around 500-600 BC Taoists in China and Buddhists in India began to develop meditative practices.” Wikipedia here.
- People who learn how to meditate using Buddhist techniques not only may find a bit of peace in life, but also can improve their attention and focus a study shows.” More details here.
- BBC Woman’s Hour presented by Jenni Murray. “We’re told that meditation is good for us but why is it meant to be so beneficial? Jenni explores these questions with a meditation teacher and a seasoned practitioner.” BBC Iplayer here.
- Jon Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He teaches mindfulness meditation as a technique to help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain and illness. Full details here.
- “People who meditate say it induces well-being and emotional balance. In recent years, a group of neuroscientists has begun investigating the practice, dubbed ‘mindfulness’.” Full article here.
1 Traditional meditation methods such as those present in Tibetan Buddhism have been developed over hundreds, in some cases thousands of years. They are based on knowledge systems both conflicting with and complimentary to current western scientific thinking. Therefore they are rarely subject to the radical revisions that are a feature of contemporary meditation and mindfulness approaches.
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