Meditation and Origins of Meditation
Meditation is training our mind to reduce stress and modify emotions. Have you ever had the feeling that you don’t control your mind? What do you live with pending thoughts, feelings and bad habits that you rarely choose? Meditation is the gym of the mind with which you will train it to bring it to a state of peace, calm and serenity.
Modern meditation practices remain based on ancient Asian spiritual and religious traditions. Today millions of people around the world practice this mental training daily. We can all meditate, irrespective of our age, health, or beliefs.
Some various meditative techniques and disciplines fall under the general umbrella of “meditation.” We will delve into them later. The final objective of all of them is to achieve a deep state of relaxation that allows to modify negative emotions and improve health and well-being.
As in the gym, if we train our minds often enough, we will achieve the desired results: developing qualities such as mindfulness, compassion and optimism; and manage difficulties such as stress, anxiety, and obsessive thoughts.
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Meditation is an ancient practice whose origin is in the Vedantism of India around 1500 BC, although there are archaeological records with figures and engravings in meditation position from 3000 BC.
Around the 5th century BC, other forms of meditation appeared in Taoist China and Buddhist India. Some centuries later, references to meditation appear in the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali.
Already in the West, Philo of Alexandria wrote about mental concentration exercises in 20 BC. In the third century, the Greek philosopher Plotinus developed meditation techniques, although with negligible diffusion.
Meditation grew in the East hand in hand with Buddhism. Thus in the 8th century, the Japanese monk Dosho opened the first meditation hall in Japan. In 1227, the Japanese priest Dogen laid the foundations for Zen meditation.
In the West, the monk Guigo II first introduced this terminology in the 12th century. The term comes from the Latin medium, which means “to reflect.” During the Middle Ages, meditation remained introduced into Jewish religious traditions, Islamic Sufism, and Christianity.
The early 20th-century translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead attracted Western public interest in this practice. Next came the vipassana movements and mindfulness.
Meditation remains now practised worldwide, and its beneficial effects on the body and mind have remained proven. Dr Herbert Benson pioneered studies on the benefits of meditation, being one of the first Western physicians to bring spirituality to medicine.
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