Meditation is part of every spiritual tradition in the world. Meditation has been around in recorded history for thousands of years. The history of Meditation dates all the way back to ancient times. The word meditation originates from the Sanskrit word ”medha” which translated means wisdom.
Researchers suggest that primitive hunting and gathering societies may have been the ones to have discovered meditation and its many different states of consciousness while gazing into the flames of their fires. The history of Meditation has evolved over thousands of years, into a structured practice that people use daily. Meditation is a natural state of each living being.
The goal of meditation is to remove that which prevents the natural state of being from being a real experience.
To have any spiritual experience, the body must be still, the mind must be still, and the feelings must be still.
Meditation is not only physical expression as sitting down and stilling the mind. It is not an Indian method; it is not simply a technique. It is a state of consciousness and awareness that allows the flow of creativity and action to happen. You cannot learn it. It is a growth: a growth of your total living, out of your total living. Meditation is an adventure, the greatest adventure the human mind can undertake. In today’s world where stress catches on faster than the eye can see or the mind can perceive, meditation is no more a luxury. It is a necessity. To be unconditionally happy and to have peace of mind, we need to tap into the power of meditation.
Types of meditation
There are a wide variety of meditation techniques available, some for specific purposes and others just variations with the same ultimate purpose.
Concentrative meditation focuses the attention on the breath, an image or a sound, in order to still the mind and allow a greater awareness and clarity to emerge.
Mindfulness meditation’s purpose is to increase awareness of the inundation of “sensations and feelings” around oneself, but at a distance. In mindfulness meditation, you experience every aspect of your environment without consciously thinking about it. “The person sits quietly and simply witnesses whatever goes through the mind, not reacting or becoming involved with thoughts, memories worries or images.
The five major religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all practice forms of meditation.
While many religions offer the same essential meditation practices, each religion has its unique orientation; drawing on its own special symbols, stories, and teachings; favoring certain practices, subjects, and goals.
Meditation in Hinduism
Meditation plays a part in all aspects of Indian spiritual life, to greater and lesser degrees depending on the individual practitioner, his or her chosen path and stage of life.
The term Hindu means India, a highly diverse country with a long history that has many interwoven traditions, including Buddhism.
Meditation in Buddhism
There are many things in life that are beyond our control. However, it is possible to take responsibility for our own states of mind – and to change them for the better. According to Buddhism this is the most important thing we can do, is to develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things.
Buddhism has numerous variations of meditations including Zen, Tibetan, and Theravadan. Most Buddhist traditions involve finding the path to Enlightenment, and meditation is an essential ways to do this. Meditation is important on the pathway to enlightenment and nirvana in the Buddhist faith, which are believed to help reach a state of serenity and insight.
Meditation in Judaism
The Hebrew word Qabalah means both to receive and to reveal. Both a metaphysical doctrine and philosophy, the tradition within a tradition of Qabalah is a symbolic code designed to further practioner’s spiritual development. Students of the Qabalah transform their essential inner natures with the essential external Nature, by internalizing symbols and gradually absorbing their characteristics through meditation.
Meditation in Christianity
Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God.
The Bible tells us that every man knows God from two sources: God’s creation and man’s conscience. Creation is the witness outside of ourselves, while conscience is the witness within.
Meditation can be used as a form of prayer in the Christian faith, to connect with and reflect upon the word of God. It commonly consists of focusing on a series of thoughts, such as a passage from the Bible, and reflecting on its meaning. The Eastern Orthodox traditions practice creating and using icons as a focus for meditation.
Meditation in Islam
The Prophet Muhammad meditated consistently, and in fact was in a state of meditation when first receiving the revelation of the Qur’an upon Mount Hira.
Meditation, or a state of present moment awareness, is essential in Islamic spiritual practice, particularly in Islamic prayer.
Despite the fact that meditation can take many forms, universal principles can be found in all systems. The whole being (body, mind, emotion) is actively applied, through a variety of focus points, to develop awareness, insight, and transformation.