Meditation is an ancient form that has been practiced for many centuries with its roots in religion. The origins of meditation come from Eastern cultures; India being the main example. The basic purpose of meditation is as a form of healing which does not require any medications, relying only on the individuals mind and belief and how it may be finely tuned to achieve the desired effects on the mind and body. The very purpose of meditation is to go beyond “normal” thinking and psychological state and elevate to a higher level of awareness and consciousness ultimately achieving a relaxed state of mind and the ability to focus clearly.
Meditation involves a wide range of spiritual and psycho physical practices.
As mentioned, meditation does have religious roots including customs developed from the practice of the Baha’i faith, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Jainism.
The practice of meditation can take on several forms including focusing on a single object or a process such as a mantra. Meditation can also be performed while walking or engaged in a repetitive task. The object of meditation is to concentrate while minimising disruptions in order to achieve the desired goal of inner peace, self awareness and spiritual growth, transcending the mundane and disruptive cares and thoughts that we all experience.
Meditation practiced in India, has its roots in the Hinduism and Buddhism faith. The original Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama, is believed to have achieved enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree.
Buddhist meditation has 2 forms: the Samatha and the Vipassana, both of which are necessary to achieve enlightenment.
The practice of the 2 forms have been known to merge into one another, with a meditation session starting out with Samatha characteristics while ending up with a Vipassana practice. The Samatha form is based on focusing the attention single-pointedly, the Vipassana form is aimed at seeing things as they really are, in the true nature of reality.
In Vipassana meditation, the focus of awareness is centered on the rise and fall of the breath and when the mind and heart are still, the focus is then placed onto and object such as a symbol or a candle flame.
Meditation has been practiced in Eastern cultures for centuries and there are meditation practitioners and teachers in India who have further developed the practice and principles of meditation into a fine skill which will help other practitioners develop a sense of peace, awareness and greater well-being.