Mystics talk about it all the time. Some doctors are getting wise to the idea. Simply put, there is an incredibly strong link between he functioning of the mind and the physical body. But some people demand proof. For those I would direct your attention to the April 6, 2011, issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. There you’ll find an article written by six researchers entitled “Brain Mechanisms Supporting the Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation.” If you don’t want to pay $30.00(!) just to read the article and if the abstract isn’t enough, you can go to this article by Anne Harding which explains the paper.
To put it briefly, some subjects were given a pain to experience. Next, over four days they received instruction in meditation. The instruction was for a mere twenty minutes each day, a total of eighty minutes of training. After the four days of coaching, the subjects were again given the same amount of painful stimulus. Â The subjects described the amount of pain experienced after meditation compared to the same pain experienced before meditation. The result: on average, the pain was an astounding 57% less unpleasant after meditation. It was also 40% less intense.
In recent posts I’ve said that I consider myself to be a skeptic. So could something else explain this dramatic difference? For example, could the meditation just be a placebo, like a pill that had no active ingredients but that I thought would be effective? Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, said that the “reduction in pain ratings was substantially greater than those seen in similar studies involving placebo pills, hypnosis, and even morphine and other painkilling drugs…” [quoting the article]
Let me repeat that for you: meditation is more effective than morphine at relieving pain.
Was this just a psychological interpretation of pain reduction from the subjects? The article goes on to reveal that “…[b]rain scans conducted during the pain experiments showed that this technique appeared to cause a number of changes in how the participants’ brains responded to pain.”
The conclusion drawn from this article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal is inescapable. Medicine of the mind should be studied and taught right along with standard drug/surgery based medicine. It’s far less expensive (sorry, drug companies) and has none of the negative side effects found with drugs. For example, side effects of morphine include headache, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, difficult breathing, reduced sex drive, severe constipation and seizures. Side effects of meditation and other mind medicines include lowered stress levels, lowered blood pressure, improved cardio-vascular condition, improved self-image, greater ability to deal with stress, etc. Which side effects would you want?
I have to admit that I must take issue with one aspect of the article. Specifically, the claim that meditation is more effective than hypnosis in revealing pain. Usually, studies such as these involve giving a script to students or researchers to read in order to hypnotize test subjects. I would suggest that if they used professional hypnotists who specialized in pain reduction the results would be much different.
Mind, Magick, Obligation
But there is yet another aspect of this report I’d like to focus on. Specifically, the use of mind power during meditation (or hypnosis) doesn’t merely change the way you think, it actually changes “…how the participants’ brains responded to pain.” The mind (non-physical) is capable of changing the brain (physical). The mind and the way you think can actually alter the physical body.
Magickally, then, the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual activities performed during ritual changes your body. According to biologist Rupert Sheldrake, what you do has an effects on other people through a process known as morphic resonance. The more you practice magick, the more you physically change yourself and help the world to evolve. Regularly performing magick moves civilization more toward the New Age. In my opinion it’s our obligation as human beings to regularly perform magick for the good of humanity.