Science uncovers a meditation surprise
Psychology Professor Kenneth Pargament wondered if the nature of a mantra would affect the quality of the meditation experience. To test this he had two different groups of people meditate. The first group was given a spiritual 'mantra' to repeat over and over, such as "God is Love" while the second was given a meaningless mantra, such as "Grass is green." To his surprise, he found that those meditating with a spiritual mantra were able to keep their hands in a bucket of ice water twice as long as those using the secular mantra.
This discovery was disturbing to some in the scientific community who, while acknowledging that value of meditation in lowering blood pressure and offering other physical benefits, had insisted that the value of meditation was simply in the act of clearing one's mind - that any mantra would work as the content to focus the mind and prevent distraction.
But the finding of Pargament's study indicate that the content of meditation is a critical piece of meditation's effectiveness. Why do you think this is the case? Is meditation nothing more than a mental/physiological way of slowing breathing to lower blood pressure? Or is it possible that by invoking one's awareness of truths regarding God's character by meditating on truth's revealed in Scripture the meditator is grounding him/herself in the Source of Life, the same source which we're told will give life to our mortal bodies.
I always find it interesting when the scientific world runs into these kind of surprises.