If meditation was available in capsule form, it would be the biggest selling drug on the planet. As the powerful effects of meditation have been validated by all manner of research teams and institutions, a gathering chorus of scientists are voicing this same theme. Describing the main, physical benefits of meditation in a short blog is not only ambitious, but also somewhat contrived. The more we understand the impact of meditation, the more we realise that describing a benefit as ‘physical’ or ‘psychological’ is an artificial construct. For example, reducing high blood pressure through meditation may seem a measurable and purely physiological benefit, but it only happens because of the psychological change that precedes it.
Given that the wish to be happy is universal, you’d think that happiness would be a core subject at school, and that we’d all be pretty expert on happiness and its causes. But the truth is, most people are somewhat hazy about it. The title of a recent book by Daniel Gilbert, Prof of Psychology at Harvard University, says it all: ‘Stumbling on Happiness.’ In the book - which I recommend highly - Prof Gilbert explains the pitfalls into which we stumble in our pursuit of happiness.