The more I read and practice, the more benefits I am seeing that are lasting. After meditation, it is common for me to have a calmer mind and better quality response to the stresses of the day. Sometimes, joy and bliss appear and can last for hours. Two weeks ago I took my son to Santa Cruz Island for a camping and kayaking trip. Every morning we meditated on a hillside overlooking the campsite. The breeze, the birds, the sounds of kids playing all helped create a pleasant environment for peripheral awareness. It was kind of like having a Muse headband on as birds landed nearby. At one point, the sound of a crow's wings flying by were amplified and filled sensory awareness. The effects of that short trip lasted for days. My wife even commented that our son was more calm and seemed more mature after coming home.
There has been a strong interest in research on altered traits from meditation. I recently finished the book Altered Traits which is a great summary of all the research all the way back to the sixties and the more comprehensive research happening in the last decade. The authors seek out research that shows fundamental physiological and psychological changes from meditation and it turns out that we now have evidence of long-term trait changes which should help spark further research. In my own experience, I am experiencing lowered blood pressure, resting heart rate, and less attachment to the daily stress and inflictions that happen to all of us. I can't say this is all caused by meditation as I have started other healthy habits such as walking a lot and eating better. I do feel that I would not have done those things without the increased awareness of how my body and mind feel.
Eric is a traveller, hacker, and experimenter who is currently researching how to become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate human being.