MEDITATION MIND BODY SPIRITUALITY

15 Surprising Health Benefits of Loving-Kindness Christian Meditation

Author: Jeffrey Ordonez

The Matthew 22:37 - 40 meditation packs a powerful punch when it comes to your health & happiness!

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37 - 40

Many of us hear about the benefits of loving kindness meditation (LKM) and compassion meditation (CM), but what us rarely discussed is how and why the human body adjusts so well to the intentional power of love. For those who believe in God the answer is quit simple. God is love and the creator designed us to in the image of love, therefore all biological functions follow the order of God's love.

Today we have scientific proof that God's greatest commandment should be followed not just as an act of obedience, but for our health.

What is Christian Loving-Kindness Meditation?
Loving kindness Christian meditation (LKCM) focuses around the command located in Matthew 22:37 - 40. This scripture verse explains that we should love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. The second part of this verse explains that we should love people without restraint. Additionally, Matthew 5:43 - 48 expresses the sentiment that we should be loving and compassionate to even our worst enemies. In the last verse, Jesus explains that if we follow His advice we will enter into greater spiritual perfection with God.

So, LKCM allows us to cultivate love (God is love 1 John 4:8) to the highest degree possible. Interestingly, scientists have recently caught up to the biblical meditation and are impressed by all the health benefits. They say developing feelings of goodwill, kindness and warmth towards others (Salzberg, 1997) has tremendous health benefits ranging from feelings of well-being, to giving relief from stress, illness and even improving emotional intelligence.

The findings have been so impressive that the benefits of practicing even the most basic emotions of compassion, kindness and empathy are the subject of discussion on TEDx. So here's the top 15 health benefits you may receive if you practice LKCM.

1. Increased Positive Emotions & Decreased Negative Emotions

Practicing a simple loving and kindness meditation for just 7 weeks showed and increase in love, joy, contentment, gratitude, hope, interest, reverence, and awe in participants according to Fredrickson and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Department of Psychology. These positive emotions were observed to produce increases positive feeling about life, purpose, social interactions, decreased symptoms of illness. The findings also became predictors of overall life satisfaction and reduced depressive symptoms.

2. Physiological Improvements To The Vagal Nerve In the Brain

Improvement in the performance of the vagus nerve in the brain has increases in positive emotions – a physiological marker of well-being. A study by Kok et al (2013) discovered that individuals who enjoy practicing a Loving Kindness Meditation had improved function of the vagus nerve.

3. Decreased Migraines

In one of the latest studies by Tonelli et al (2014) researchers were astounded to at the immediate effects a Loving Meditation had on migraine sufferers. The intervention reduced migraine pain and alleviating emotional tension associated with chronic headaches.

4. Decreased Chronic Pain

A pilot study conducted by Carson et al., (2005) conclusively demonstrated how patients with chronic lower back pain experienced decreased pain after practicing simple Loving Kindness Meditation techniques. Additionally, subjects reported reduced anger, and psychological distress than the control group

5. Decreased PTSD

PTSD symptoms that affects millions of Americans were observed to be curtailed with a 12 week Loving Kindness Meditation program. Kearney et al (2013) recorded a significant reduction in depression and PTSD symptoms among veterans diagnosed with the problem.

6. Decreased Schizophrenia Disorders

Also, a pilot study examining the effects of Loving Kindness Meditation on individuals with schizophrenia disorders found that the technique was undoubtedly associated to decreased symptoms. Negative emotions were also combated while positive emotions improved. Johnson et al. (2011) 

7. Activates Your Empathy and Emotional Paths in the Brain

Simply put, cultivating a loving attitude with meditation helps your brain socially associate with others in more harmonious ways. (Hutcherson, Seppala & Gross, 2014) and (Hoffmann, Grossman & Hinton, 2011)

8. Increases The Gray Matter in Your Brain

Vigorous scientific research and study by Leung et al (2013); Lutz et al (2008); and Lee et al (2012)  revealed how even gray matter improved with new structures in the brain!

9. Increases Respiratory Sinus Arrythmia (RSA)

Researchers were surprised to discover that loving-kindness meditation had an almost immediate effect the respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), an index of the parasympathetic cardiac control. By exercising your ability to enter a relaxed state of mind your natural restorative powers are summoned while respiration rate decreases. (Law, 2011 reference)

10. Slows Biological Aging

Telomere chromosomes, the biological makers that determine longevity in your DNA appear to be controlled by Loving Kindness Meditation. Hoge et al (2013) discovered that who regularly practice Loving Kindness Meditation had relatively longer telomeres compared to age-matched subjects! Proverbs 3 states that if we keep God's commands of being merciful, or expressing loving-kindness (mercy), we will live a long life. Science once again proves the wisdom of God's word true.

11. Makes You a Better Person

In 2011, Leiberg, Klimecki and Singer learned that Loving Kindness Meditation had positive effects on social behavior compared to a controlled group.

12. Increases Your Compassion

A 2012 review of a Loving Kindness Meditation experiment showed it to be very effective at increasing compassion in people. (Boellinghaus, Jones & Hutton, 2012)

13. Increases Empathy

In a similar study conducted by, Klimecki, Leiberg, Lamm and Singer (2013) found that a loving kindness meditative practice increased a participants’ empathic responses to the distress of others. They observed that it also had a positive effect reactionary responses when witnessing others in distress.

14. Increases an Open Heart

Jesus once stated that we should love and be kind to all people, including our enemies and those who hate us. In a recently published study by Kang, Gray & Dovido, 2014 found that Loving Kindness Meditation training decreased bias in people.

15. Increases Social Connection

A study by Kok et al (2013) positively found Loving Kindness Meditation successfully changes a person's perception of social connection.

Questions? Comments? Ideas? We'd love to hear about how Christian Loving Meditation has changed you. Post your comments below. We love you and we're praying for you. God bless.

No doubt you're probably ready to start your own Christian loving kindness meditation practice. No need to pay gurus, hire consultants, or find monks living in seclusion. Here's a helpful article about Christian loving-kindness and how to practice it as a meditation. God bless. We love you and we're praying for you. See you in the kingdom.

 

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