Reconciling Western Science and Eastern Traditions of Meditation

Manocha, Ramesh, et al. "Sahaja yoga." Australian Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis 26.1/2 (2005): 22.

Why is it that meditation is popularly perceived as uniquely beneficial and yet there is no substantive scientific proof for its effectiveness? One explanation is that scientific activity has focused mainly on a Westernised interpretation of meditation as a method of relaxation rather than the traditional Eastern idea of meditation as an experience stemming from mental silence. This argument is supported by a growing number of scientific evaluations of Sahaja Yoga Meditation (SYM), which uses the mental silence experience. Rigorously designed clinical studies of SYM suggest its effectiveness, while physiological studies of SYM also suggest a fundamental distinction between mental silence and simple relaxation. Population surveys indicate that long term users of SYM experience better mental and physical health scores than the general population, and that these scores are significantly related to the practice of meditation.