The California Cure Mind Works: Meditation Myth Busting

Science is showing that meditation can improve health and increase well-being at relatively little cost, time and trouble.

So if mediation is so great, so helpful and possibly part of the answer to the current health-care crisis, why isn’t everyone doing it?

Well, for one thing, people don’t know how. Like just about anything else, finding the right program and meditation practice requires investigation and careful scrutiny, including a very healthy suspicion of programs that cost a lot or require you in any way to “give up” power to someone else.

Meditation often starts with an individual concentrating on his or her breath, but it can be physical like yoga, tai chi, running and other movement practices. Meditation might even look artistic, as in practices using drumming or calligraphy.

But the biggest reason mediation isn’t practiced by everyone is elementary: It is simple to learn but can be hard to do. While some of the greatest physical and mental differences are seen in persons with thousands of hours of practice, some studies suggest that benefits may be seen in as little as five days (at 20 minutes a day). I don’t know about you, but 20 minutes a day seems like a small price to pay for benefits. The journey begins with the first step.

For free guided meditations go to marc.ucla.edu and click on Mindfulness Meditations. —Sue Smalley