Measure for Measure

The latest study on the benefits of meditation was released this week in JAMA and covered by all the usual suspects (Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes). The study concludes there is no evidence that mindfulness meditation is an effective tool to control substance use, sleep or weight.

imagesStill, we all come to meditation seeking something: more focus, relief from pain, less anxiety. And we want to know if it works. Yo! It's way more subtle than that. If you stick around long enough, you start to see that what you sought was mostly valuable because it brought you to the practice and what you find has little to do with what you sought.
Meditation is experiential. I have a moment of clarity. I notice a cry for help disguised as a fib. I remain calm as the airline agent insists I told her to discard my boarding pass. I think of an old friend and the next thing I know, I see her walking down the street. Oh, that's happened to you too? But I'm not thinking it's a coincidence.
As per the Serenity Prayer, there are two categories of situations in life: the things you can change and the things you can't. Meditation brings you closer to acceptance of this basic reality. How much closer? Can the benefits of love be scientifically measured? These type of metrics are best left to poets and philosophers.