Interesting read from one of the first Doctors to incorporate Eastern and Western medicine. Noting the Physiology of Stress (How Stress, which is mental, manifests itself physically through high blood pressure, anxiety and depression).
It appears to be a theme of 4’s, with the 4 things necessary to practice what Benson preaches. All you need to practice is:
1.) A quiet environment;
2.) A mental device such as a word or phrase which should be repeated in a specific fashion over and over again – (I actually use my breath instead of words, including counting time with breath, but whatever works);
3.) The adoption of a passive attitude, which is perhaps the most important of the elements;
4.) A comfortable position. (You do not need legs crossed to meditate, be comfortable).
The goal is the practice for 10-20 minutes a day, twice a day. Ironically, the book came out before meditation was really big, but the book itself is about meditation. Spending 20 minutes forgetting the world and just identifying with yourself has crazy benefits on physical health.
Goes into how the “Fight or Flight Response” increases our heart rate and Blood Pressure, even in mundane situations.
The “Relaxation Response” is the opposite, handling everything with calm and keeping blood and oxygen normal.
Very simplistic book that came at the outset of the meditation craze. Provides an insight into where the cross between Eastern and Western ideas combined.