Scientific Research & Benefits
I won’t repeat what you can already Google. There is a lot of research out there, some well designed and executed. None of the research has shown any adverse effects from meditation. All research has focused on measuring physical or emotional stimuli.
One cannot directly measure spirituality and this is the limitation of any research. One should remember that the goal of meditation is to proactively connect with our inner self or source. Any other results are in fact side benefits, although they are important.
The obvious side benefits are lowered negative stress levels (which leads to a healthier body and mental frame), reduced blood pressure and increase in creativity and attention span. These are the most common findings of research.
Based on my own experience and that of other meditators I have observed over the last few decades, here’s my list of some benefits that research has not hi-lighted yet. These benefits are in proportion to the depth and frequency of ones practice.
Improved strength and fortitude in the face of adversity.
Increased sense and prevalence of quietness and calmness.
Fearlessness and less worrying.
Breaking away from destructive habits e.g. smoking.
We live in a physical body and we are an intimate part of our loved ones and society. Death, disease, making mistakes (often many times over) and pain are a part of living as is learning to forgive and depend on each other. Such events and especially the fear of such events cause us to behave in fearful ways. Fear of losing ones job can cause one to behave negatively towards other colleagues. Losing a job can cause one to go into a negative spiral of low self-esteem. Similarly finding the next job, pushes ones emotions to the other end of the scale. In this way we swing from one emotion to another. We are prisoners of our feelings and we always try to maximise the positive ones.
This continual jostling, like a rudderless boat on a rough sea, from one emotional state to another, is what drains us of our energies and balance.
The more we practice meditation, the more we consciously connect with our one true source. This in turn results in us being less fearful of losing control. This is why research shows that those who meditate, experience lower negative stress levels and more of the associated benefits.
The improved ability to withstand pain, stress, loss; the increased tendency to drop harmful habits and bad behaviours and the high prevalence of calmness and inner sense of quietness are a direct result of experiencing deeper and persistent connections with your inner self.
The meditator will still experience pain and loss, but it will be tempered with wisdom and spiritual insight in proportion to the level of spiritual realization achieved.
Balance and “earned wisdom” create a restful, calm energy with an “effortless focus”.
Establishing oneself within the highest levels of the meditative state, yields direct, unbiased experiential knowledge of life, death, time and space and thus the very nature of existence itself. It is in this state that our ancestor Yogis, realized Vedic scriptures such as the Katha Upanishad, the Bhagavad Gita, the Patanjali Sutras and so on. None of these scriptures are concerned with mundane topics such as sexual (neo or new age) tantra, gender based roles, diet, attending Church or Temple etc. They are only concerned with spirituality; with life, birth and death!
Business (& Non-Business) Benefits
A happy and calm workforce and leadership leads to less stress, a sense of purpose beyond just increasing profits and market share. Some tangible benefits include:
Clarity and space in thinking through business challenges.
Easier focus and prioritisation.
Improved creativity and a natural ability to think out of the box.
Fearlessness and improved decision making.
Improved working relationships. More respect, integrity and calmness.