Research on meditation has led to startling discoveries on how mindfulness can impact and even physically change the shape of our brains. While meditation typically involves exploring the inner realms of one’s consciousness, some practitioners have been wondering whether it’s possible to transfer the benefits of one’s mindfulness practice.
Meditating for someone else is impossible. Meditation offers tangible benefits that can be observed in each practitioner, and these benefits cannot be transferred. Thus, another person cannot enjoy the benefits of meditation through your practice.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the benefits meditation offers, showing why those who practice mindfulness can reap the benefits only for themselves.
Why Your Meditation Won’t Work For Others
Meditation involves being conscious and attuned to what’s going on within one’s psyche. This focused attention on one’s inner world is the primary reason why meditating for someone else doesn’t make sense.
Meditation is an exploration of the mind and its nuances. The insights we gain and the benefits we reap cannot be transferred to another’s conscious experience. Here are a few advantages that accompany regular meditation practice.
Regular meditation has been linked to a significant reduction in the occurrence of age-related cognitive illnesses. Meditating regularly helps preserve the volume of grey matter in the brain over time, keeping your mind in excellent shape. While there’s still a reduction in grey matter over time, regular meditation can significantly reduce this drop.
The central tenet of meditation is to become aware of passing thoughts, notice when you’re going astray, and bring your focus back to your breath when you can.
The process of repeatedly bringing your focus back to the task at hand can help build attention and concentration in other areas of your life.
Meditation can help reduce activity in the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fear, stress, and anxiety. Regular practice also causes changes in grey matter concentration, which, in turn, helps change our subjective experiences and perspectives on specific events in our lives.
Meditation also helps by making you aware of stressful thoughts before the bodily sensations that accompany them. This interim allows you to choose an appropriate response rather than react to the feelings that surface in stressful situations.
A regular meditation practice helps reduce activity in the brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN), or the part of the brain that’s active when we aren’t focused on a specific task.
Popularly known as the “monkey mind”, the DMN is responsible for ruminating, worrying about the past and the future, and imagining negative scenarios. Meditation can help relieve the unnecessary stress and paranoia that accompanies this thought process by dialing down activity levels in the DMN.
Aside from the benefits I’ve discussed above, meditation can also provide a host of other comprehensive benefits that only the practitioner can experience. The psychological effects of meditation are often accompanied by physiological changes observed in the brains of those who meditate.
As such, it’s impossible to transfer the benefits that come from regular meditation practice to someone else.
How To Meditate for Someone Else
You may not be able to transfer the benefits of meditation to someone else. However, you can develop a mindfulness practice that involves focusing your attention on other people in your life. There are two main ways to include others in your meditative practice.
- Metta Meditation
While prayer and meditation differ significantly, both practices require a degree of mindfulness and involvement in one’s thought process. Through these practices, you can send love, positivity, and compassion to the people in your life.
Also known as loving-kindness meditation, metta is a form of meditation that promotes self-care, improves our capacity to forgive, and enhances our well-being in the process. To engage in metta meditation, you should:
- First, find a quiet space to sit comfortably and relax. Close your eyes, sink into the practice, and focus on your breath to deepen your state of awareness.
- Once you feel a little settled, start to envelop yourself in a bright, healing, and rejuvenating light. Visualize yourself in a state of optimal physical and emotional wellness, and allow this healing light to transform you into this perfectly healthy image you’ve created.
- Let yourself bask in this glow and envelope yourself with warmth and compassion. Once you’ve done so, you can begin to envision your loved ones being surrounded by this light.
- Start with those closest to you, such as a spouse, child, or parent. Be grateful for their existence and picture them being encompassed in this healing light. Allow this light to transform them into their peak physical and emotional states of wellness.
- Continue to transfer this warmth and love to the people closest to you. After them, you can move on to more distant friends and acquaintances.
Metta is a Buddhist practice believed to benefit the practitioner and positively impact the lives of those you meditate for.
While there’s no scientific evidence that proves the benefits of metta meditation on others, practitioners of this style have reported a rise in their capacity to love, forgive, and be grateful for what they have.
Prayer is another mindfulness practice that can be used to focus on the well-being of others in your life. It involves moving outward and believing in a higher governing power.
There’s no scientific evidence proving that praying for someone positively impacts their life. However, for those who believe in prayer, it’s the ideal way to include someone else in your thoughts and send them positive, loving vibrations.
If you’re looking to help others through meditation, it’s best to share how it has transformed your life with your loved ones and allow them to observe the results. While it would be simpler to meditate for those who don’t (or can’t) do it for themselves, a part of meditation involves putting in the effort to recognize your thoughts and delving into one’s psyche – and that’s a journey we must all take on our own.