by Evelyn Cash

For those of us who can’t get enough articles detailing the science
behind mindfulness and how it affects the brain, here is a recent
article from Psychology Today: The Neuroscience of Mindfulness
I know I personally love to read third-party, non-Buddhist, scientific
rationales for why mindfulness and meditation work.  I like being able
to point to non-religious sources for why meditation works when people
ask me why I chose Buddhism or why I meditate. 

The article, by David Rock,
touches on some of the debates we’ve had on this blog about
secularizing Buddhist teachings to make them accessible to everyone
(see Jerry’s Buddhism is not a Religion parts 1, 2 and 3).  From the introduction of the piece:

“I have a problem with something as important as deeper thinking being linked to any religion.
Not because I have anything against Buddhism or against any religion at
all. (Of all the organized religions, Buddhism appears to be one that
generates a minimum of human conflict.) The reason I have a problem is

it’s hard enough getting across the idea that being mindful is useful,
without activating a threat response from the billions of non-buddhists
who could benefit from it.”

I
do agree that the world would be a little bit better if everyone
practiced some form of mindfulness everyday, regardless of their
religious leanings.  As the author of the article points out, it
doesn’t need to be religious and it doesn’t even need to be a formal
sitting practice.  Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as taking
three mindful breaths before you eat your meal.  According to the
science, every little bit helps.

More from Beliefnet and our partners