Okay, Meditation is Good...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT7Ptg9uYVA Christof Koch writes for Scientific American about his encounter with the Dalai Lama and friends:

I have never experienced a single man, and an entire community, who appeared so open, so content, so happy, constantly smiling, yet so humble, as these monks who, by First World standards, live a life of poverty, deprived of most of the things we believe are necessary to live a fully realized life. Their secret appears to be mind control.

Western universities do not teach methods to enable the developing or the mature mind to become quiet and to focus its considerable powers on a single object, event or train of thought… We prefer to be distracted by external stimuli, conversations, radio, television or newspapers. Desperate not to be left alone within our mind, to avoid having to think, we turn to our constant electronic companions to check for incoming messages.

He also highlights an experiment at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. Fifteen volunteers were recruited to lie in a scanner while a small metal plate was attached to their right calf. While the heat generated by the plate varied from pleasant to painful volunteers who underwent 4 days of basic mindfulness meditation training "reduced the unpleasantness of the pain by a whopping 57 percent and its intensity by 40 percent".

Another  EEG study comparing a group of monks and a group of students further revealed that..."even when the monks were not meditating, but simply quietly resting, their baseline brain activity was distinct from that of the students. That is, these techniques, practiced by Buddhists for millennia to quiet, focus and expand the mind—the interior aspect of the brain—had changed the brain that is the exterior aspect of the mind. And the more training they had, the bigger the effect."