Does Chi energy exist? This video suggests that it does:
This video, on the other hand, seems to have been made to challenge the testimony in the first:
While I agree with the premise that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof I think that this is an example of what I would call the ‘conjurer’s fallacy’, the notion that any feat, claimed to be paranormal, that can be reproduced by conjuring has been produced by conjuring. There is more to the video about Dynamo Jack than the burning of a newspaper and it is the whole testimony rather than a part of it that is suggestive of a paranormal energy.
This article sparked some thoughts about meditation, both my own meditation and meditation in general.
A new study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison found that adults who practiced mindful meditation or moderately intense exercise for eight weeks suffered less from seasonal ailments during the following winter than those who did not exercise or meditate.
The study appeared in the July issue of Annals of Family Medicine. Researchers recruited about 150 participants, 80 percent of them women and all older than 50, and randomly assigned them to three groups. One group was trained for eight weeks in mindful meditation; another did eight weeks of brisk walking or jogging under the supervision of trainers. The control group did neither. The researchers then monitored the respiratory health of the volunteers with biweekly telephone calls and laboratory visits from September through May—but they did not attempt to find out whether the subjects continued meditating or exercising after the initial eight-week training period.
Participants who had meditated missed 76 percent fewer days of work from September through May than did the control subjects. Those who had exercised missed 48 percent fewer days during this period. The severity of the colds and flus also differed between the two groups. Those who had exercised or meditated suffered for an average of five days; colds of participants in the control group lasted eight. Lab tests confirmed that the self-reported length of colds correlated with the level of antibodies in the body, which is a biomarker for the presence of a virus.
“I think the big news is that mindfulness meditation training appears to have worked” in preventing or reducing the length of colds, says Bruce Barrett of the department of family medicine. He cautions, however, that the findings are preliminary.
What’s interesting in this article is not just the conclusion that meditation has verifiable health benefits but that it is apparently more effective that exercise. However this is hardly the ‘big news’ that the article claims; the benefits of meditation have been known many years. The proponents of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in particular have pointed to research detailing the effectiveness of their particular technique:
I was introduced to TM many years ago when I was in my twenties. I continued to use it occasionally but was never a persistent or consistent practitioner. I have tried other forms of meditation also but again without consistency. Dr Hageiln’s exposition on TM appears quite partisan in extolling the virtues of TM above that of other meditation techniques but from what I’ve read TM is the most researched meditation technique.
There is a comparison of meditation techniques on the Institute for Applied Meditation website. This article promotes ‘Heart Rhythm Meditation’, which I had not heard about previously, but nevertheless provides thumbnail outlines of the other meditation forms. These are of course quite incomplete but the notes are a useful starting point. The Secrets of Yoga website offers a comparison between meditation styles that is a bit more detailed somewhat less partisan.
I’ve been reading ‘Countdown to Coherence’ by Hazel Courteney, on and off for the past several days. Almost halfway through and it’s still not very coherent. The book entitled ‘A Scientific Journey Towards a Theory of Everything’, details Courteney’s meetings and discussions with the likes of Villoldo, Gary Renard, Gary Schwartz and William Tiller. Courteney is coming from a position, which I subscribe to, that the Universe is consciousness based and that we and everything are part of that Universal Consciousness that can be called God. The book is essentially a set of notes about people presenting ‘evidence based’ propositions that consciousness and human ‘intention’ directly affect what we see as physical reality and that there is a non-physical reality that directly impacts on us. These propositions suppose a Ground of Being that connects everything.
As I read I look up the people Courteney refers to. Villodo looks like one of the more coherent (good word) teachers.
Didn’t take to this because it seems beyond common sense (also I have a prejudice against men with big hair talking to a roomful of people as part of a LGAT event) but not common sense is either nonsense or uncommon sense.