What is the power of meditation and how can it be used in coaching today?
How powerful are the effects of a meditation practice?
Scientists are discovering in the lab about the power of meditation …that meditation may be as important as physical exercise
(Salzberg, 2011, p.7).
Meditation not only relaxes the body and stills the mind and brings one into the present moment; it has powerful transformational effects on the mind and the body. Within the mind, meditation expands and deepens awareness,
improves concentration, mindfulness and compassion towards others
(Salzberg, 2011, p. 11).
Meditation strengthens relationships with family, friends and everyone who crosses our path, brings in clarity, peace to infinite possibility, creativity and imagination. It ignites the power of intention, opens to a depth of consciousness, renews energy and, allows one to be kinder to self and to trust in something bigger. Meditation connects one to their true nature while tapping into the wonderful qualities of self and increases self development toward a deeper fulfillment.
Through meditation practice, judgments and limiting conditioned beliefs about self that block happiness and joy are released and replaced by feelings of truth, positivity and inspiration. Salzburg explains that
meditation isn’t self-indulgent or self-centered. Yes, you’ll learn about yourself-but its’ knowledge that will help you better understand and connect with people in your life. Tuning in to your self is the first step toward tuning in to others,
(Salzberg, 2011, p. 15).
She discusses published scientific studies on how meditation is changing brain science today in her work, Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation:
In the last decade and a half, neuroscientists and psychologists have demonstrated again and again that the adult brain is capable of neuroplasticity-that is forming new cells and pathways…A number of recent studies confirm that meditation can bring about significant physiological changes in the brain that create welcome changes in health, mood and behavior.
In 2005, a pioneering study led by neuroscientist, Sarah Lazar of Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital proved that meditation practitioners (ordinary Boston professionals) of insight meditation had measurably thicker tissue in the left prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain important for cognitive and emotional processing and well being (Salzberg, 2011, pp. 25-26).
Since then, many more clinical studies have been published out of UCLA’s Lab of Neuro Imaging, University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, Harvard University, University of Wisconsin, and the Department of Defense citing meditation effects on: shrinking the amygdala-a portion of the brain that initiates the body’s response to stress, growing the memory part of the brain, strengthening brain concentration and problem solving, initiating feelings of well being, retaining emotional stability, improving cognitive functioning in treating ADHD, lowering anxiety, decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones and treating PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain injuries.
The powerful effects of meditation are transformational and
among these studies, our United States Government has embraced meditation as a legitimate area of scientific study
through the sponsored meditation studies in the last decade by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NCCAM (Salzberg, 2011, pp. 25-31).
More than five million people worldwide have learned the simple TM, Transcendental Meditation technique taught thousands of years ago in ancient India.
The TM technique effortlessly allows your mind to transcend, to settle inward beyond thought to experience the source of thought — pure awareness, also known as transcendental consciousness. Neuroscientists describe this as ‘restful alertness.’ It is the most silent and peaceful level of consciousness — your innermost Self.
The TM technique has been cited in 600 scientific research studies which have been conducted at more than 200 universities and medical schools throughout the world. The APA, American Psychological Association, American Medical Association and the American College of Cardiology have all conducted research studies on TM
verifying the wide-ranging effects. During its annual conference last year, the APA featured research on the TM technique that documents the positive, long-term benefits of the practice for ‘increased’ self-actualization and self-development,
(Maharishi Foundation USA, 2012).
Since meditation practice has been proven to deliver powerful transformational results–to a deeper self awareness, deeper connection to others, to truth within and to
…increased self-actualization…becoming actualized to what one is potentially,
then it is no surprise that meditation can be used as a tool in the coaching profession today (Maslow, 1943, p.370). According to the International Coach Federation, ICF Code of Ethics
coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential
(ICF Code of Ethics, 2003).
Certified Professional Coaches today have developed “mindfulness” meditation techniques such as “body-centered coaching” to use in their coaching practice (Nelson-Garrison, 2012, p. 13). As coaches work with clients to discover their true self, to identify and align with their values, to release self defeating beliefs, to explore possibility or to move into action, the coach may use a simple meditation exercise in the coaching session to jump start the shift in the clients’
energy and create sustainable change
(Nelson-Garrison, 2012, p. 13).
In conclusion, meditation is more than relaxation. It effects a transformation to self actualization, to maximizing potential from a professional and self development perspective. Meditation elicits feelings of inspiration, truth, compassion, positivity, infinite possibility, trust, happiness, joy and gratitude. Introducing a simple meditation exercise to clients and supporting them to develop a meditation practice throughout the coaching process will deliver powerful transformational results and happier healthier clients.
Harpo, Inc., Meditation Techniques Demonstrated by Deepak Chopra. Retrieved October 15, 2012 from
Holland, John (2003). Born Knowing, Carlsbad, CA: Hay House Inc.
ICF (2012). The ICF Code of Ethics, International Coach Federation, 2012. http://www.coachfederation.org/ethics/code_ethics.asp
Maharishi Foundation USA, The Transcendental Meditation Program Research, Retrieved October 25, 2012 from http://www.tm.org/research-on-meditation.html
Maslow, Abraham H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370- 396.
McLean, Sarah, (2012). Soul Centered: Transform Your Life in 8 weeks with Meditation, Hay House Inc. Publishing, Carlsbad, California.
Nelson-Garrison, Marcy (2012, June). Body Mind Spirit Coaching: An Integrated Body- Centered Approach. Choice, 10, 13.
Salzberg, Sharon (2011). Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, New York, New York: Worman Publishing Company.
Tolle, Eckhart (2005). A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, New York, New York: Penguin Group.
Van Praagh, James (2003), Meditations with James Van Praagh, New York, New York: Simon & Schuster Publishing.