How do different diets affect meditation? While people with widely different diets may profit from daily meditation, many also reckon that what you eat has an influence on the effects you get. In particular, although some meditative cultures are meat-eating, a vegetarian diet is often considered helpful.
From a completely different point of view, and without regard to meditative effects, a pilot study by two American nutritional experts indicates that avoiding meat and fish may improve your general mood. Thirty-nine healthy omnivores (people who eat “anything”) were randomly assigned to one of the following three groups for two weeks:
- a group consuming meat, fish, and poultry daily
- a group consuming fish 3-4 times weekly, but avoiding meat and poultry
- a group avoiding meat, fish, and poultry
I went to a lecture with one of the foremost spokesmen for mindfulness in the West, Jon Kabat-Zinn, in Oslo last week. There are many interesting parallels with Acem’s approach to meditation, and some interesting differences.
Like Acem, he points out that meditation can build on basic traits of the human mind that are not culture-specific: “Buddha wasn’t a Buddhist.” And: “Anything ‘ancient’ in this lies in our DNA.
He is also concerned with recent research on neuroplasticity and knows, of course, that meditation may change both the size of the brain’s cortex and the way the brain functions. He is interested in epigenetics, the science of how even our gene pool is directly affected by our environment and experiences. For instance, he points out how stress degrades the telemores (the end parts of our chromosomes) and thereby makes us age before time, while meditation may do the opposite. In other words, many of the things we used to think were set from birth have been shown to be much more flexible and adaptable, and meditation seems to have a positive influence.
Embrace your thoughts!
by Ole Gjems-Onstad
Working with moods in meditation helps us see what forms our lives.
It confronts us with the way we create our own destiny.
Do you consider yourself to be a “moody” person? Maybe not. Yet in a sense everyone is. Every human being lives within a field of characteristic moods. Often, however, we do not recognise these moods to be what they really are: individual and psychologically determined fields of resonance.
Our basic moods may have much greater power over us than we realise. We tend to confuse them with objective reality. For example, you may not experience yourself as an anxious person. Instead you see danger all around you – no wonder you’re afraid!