Alternative Treatment Methods (Part 2): Meditation
If you haven’t yet, check out part one of our series: Yoga, an Alternative Treatment Method
Think about how an addiction begins—think about how your addiction began.
Did someone with a re-assuring look place a "harmless" pill in your hand, or hand you a bottle with a trivial amount of alcohol sloshing near the bottom? Maybe you were experimenting, and woke up with a needle hanging out of your arm, or a pipe still smoldering beside you.
Regardless of how it started for you or your loved one, we've all seen the devastating effects of addiction.
But how do drugs, alcohol, or both so quickly take countrol? How can a substance that is pumped into you pump life right out of you? It all starts with a choice.
Our Amazing Brains
Our brains are amazing. Even as I write this article 100 billion neurons are hard at work—passing information around my head at speeds exceeding 250 miles/hr. It isn't possible for me to fully understand or appreciate my brain—but if I wanted to, I could very easily abuse it.
Addiction begins in the brain—that grey stuff under your skull. So your brain needs treatment, right? but how?
This is where meditation comes in.
What is Meditation?
Most likely you've seen people meditating, or maybe you've done it yourself. The practice is a mind-body process that uses concentration or reflection to relax the body and calm the mind.[ref]http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/MindBodyandSpirit/meditation[/ref]
The controlled attention during meditation filters random thoughts and diversions from our distracted brains allowing us to focus on the moment at hand[ref]http://www.mayoclinic.org/meditation/[/ref]. Indians have practiced meditation for thousands of years, and current research and practice shows that the ancient therapeutic routine helps in addiction recovery.
Can Meditation Help Addicts Recover?
Over 1000 research studies have demonstrated the improvements that meditation makes in basic human functioning[ref]http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/meditat/lesson5.html[/ref]. Helping with concentration, relaxation, inner peace, stress reduction and fatigue—meditation has obvious benefits for an addict.
Many addicts become depressed because they can find no happiness outside of drugs and alcohol. This inability to experience true joy without certain substances in their system, causes a buildup of anxiety, stress and pain inside the addict. Meditation works to specifically help addicts deal with these emotions… and others.
Maharishi Mahesh, the modern developer of transcendental meditation (TM), defined the technique as, "A spontaneous, effortless march of the mind to its own unbounded essence.”
Transcendental Meditation causes the mind to unfold its potential for unlimited awareness, transcendental awareness, and Unity Consciousness.
Mahesh goes on to say that during TM, the conscious mind becomes aware of its own "unbounded dignity, its unbounded essence, its infinite potential."
Based on teachings of the Krishna, the Buddha, and Shankara, TM is practiced in treatment centres across India. A number of studies have shown that TM strengthens the individual and produces an overall and stable state of well-being.
Most importantly, TM naturally removes the need and craving for drugs.
Meditation and Deaddiction
Whether you're an addict or an owner of a centre, you should look into meditation and transcendental meditation as an option for treatment.
Continue learning about alternative treatments by reading our next post about Ayurveda