#Karl Marx is best known for saying, “#religion is the opium of the people.” Science, however, is showing that there are tangible benefits to praying and meditating. Dr. #Andrew Newberg, a neurotheologist and director of research at #Philadelphia’s Myrna Byrd Center of Integrative Medicine, found “The more you do a practice like meditation or prayer, your brain physically gets thicker and it functionally works better.” In an interview recorded by #Huffpost.com, he explained the brain is like a muscle, and the more that it is used, the stronger you become. The benefits he found were reduced stress levels, improved sleep, and, for some, mystical experiences.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I would share how I overcame the death of my daughter. Twenty-five days before my due date, my obstetrician told me he couldn’t detect a heartbeat, the baby was dead. He asked me whether I wanted to wait until I went into labor naturally, or have my labor induced. I couldn’t fathom walking around with a dead baby in me. I was too weak, too much in shock to get angry at this doctor’s preposterous question. I thought doctors were supposed to be compassionate. The induction was scheduled for three days later.
With the support of my husband, a bereavement group, prayers and meditation I made it through one minute, one hour, one day, one week at a time. I listened to calming, inspirational music and I prayed continuously. I worked through my feelings of hurt, anger, sadness, and depression as I grieved the loss of my daughter until I got to a place of wholeness. I learned to be still and trust God.
I think it’s fair to say that if religion is the opium of the people, it’s a non-narcotic that has tremendous health benefits. Prayer and meditation brought me peace during my storm and made me a better, more compassionate person. It doesn’t discriminate and is free to everyone—young or old, male or female, Jew or Gentile. Listen to the meditational tape above if you’re having trouble sleeping or want to listen to background music as you pray and meditate. I found it to be quite relaxing.
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In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength… Isaiah 30:15 KJV