What is meditation?
Meditation is a mental and spiritual discipline whereby a specialist endeavors to get past the reflexive, ‘thinking’ mind into a deeper state of mental calmness and physical relaxation. Meditation has been practiced antiquity and remains a constituent of many diverse religions. It involves intense focus upon an object, sound, visualization, movement, breath or attention.
In doing so, one heightens consciousness of the present moment, reduces stress, promote relaxation and most importantly, meditation enhances personal and spiritual growth. In its complex form, meditation aims for the realization of peace of mind, inner silence and spiritual awakening. It entails channeling all your the attention inwards, away from the external world. The mind always drifts away during meditation and the practitioner has to summon its attention. This of course involves some effort in the beginning, but with gained proficiency, one can keep the mind calm and free from destructive thought naturally.
Origin of Meditation
The truth about the origin of meditation is neither here nor there. Numerous debates have merged on its historical discourses. Historians have recorded early cases of meditation from the 14th century or before. Buddhism is considered the first religion to practice meditation. The influence and the soul healing qualities of meditation in the years to come provoked religious leaders across the divides to take up the art. Although the Americans knew about meditation for many decades, it was not until the 1960s and 1970s that the practice found popularity.
The popularity of meditation was amplified by the many cultural personalities exploring the Eastern traditions and practices especially among the Beatles and their overtly influential stay in India. Meditation among the Beatles was incorporated in the formal education system and taught by the Maharishi which means a spiritual leader in Hindu. Meditation has gradually grown to become one of the world’s famous forms of healing process divorced from drugs and other physical substances. In the 21st century it is mainly employed to aide a person’s remedial process and to lower stress levels.
Major Types of Meditation
There are several types of meditation. The following are the major types of meditation:
Transcendental type of meditation
This type of meditation originated from Asia and was introduced in the West by the popular Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This form of meditation tops the list as the most practiced type of meditation especially in the West.
Relaxation Based Meditation
This is a type of meditation that is practiced for the purpose of relaxing one’s mind. It has been widely researched by doctors like Dr. Herbert Benson in the West with a view to establish its profound health advantages. It has been found to a great source of mental calmness. People engaged in it conduct meditation through repetition of certain words.
Mind Based Meditation
This was practiced first among the Buddhists. Modern psychologists have succeeded in getting it appreciated as cure for many psychological problems. The meditator goes through the process with closed eyes.
The following are the purposes of meditation:
Developing an informed sense of spirituality regardless of religion.
1) Enhancing the understanding of realities of life and the power of one’s mind
2) Exploring various ways through which one can manage stress.
3) It is a therapeutic process fitting both the sick and psychologically disturbed persons.
4) Exploring pleasure and quality of life from within through interrogating the soul, the body, the mind.
5) Providing unparalleled feeling of relaxation, calmness and equanimity.
6) Nurtures humane feelings of empathy and tolerance.