Meditation is a practice where an individual operates or trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself. – Wikipedia
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness.
Today, meditation can be used to describe a variety of activities and mental states. It can be proven that the act of meditation has been in existence since time immemorial in one form or the other in every culture of the world.
Medication can simply be defined as being able to concentrate all your attention on something.
Brief History of Meditation
Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana), come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE.
The Vedas discuss the meditative traditions of ancient India. Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.
Dhyana in early Buddhism also takes influence on Vedanta by ca. the 4th century BCE.
Dhyana means to be aware of the oneness of the body, mind, soul, and the universe, while remaining completely detached from it all.
Somehow, from Hinduism, the concept of Dhyana came to Buddhism and Jainism. You can also say that the Japanese concept of Zen is not far from Dhyana.
In so many religions of the world, prayer and reading of sacred text is seen as a form of meditation. These religions include Christianity and Judaism.
You can say the same thing for Muslims in the practice of Dhikr, which has to do with reciting the ninety nine different names of Allah and it has been in practice since the eighth century.
You can correctly say that meditation is as old as the first man that worked out of his cave and tried building a complex stuff. From simple-complex to complex-complex that we have in our today's world. All these wouldn't have been possible.
It is this man's ability to focus his attention on a particular thing for long periods of time that has been the major key in our evolutionary journey.
Different Types of Meditation
There are many types of meditation that are practiced today. This is as a result of the long evolution history of meditation. Below is a list of some of these varying techniques that fall under meditation.
- Controlling the breath
- Focusing attention on the breath
- Controlling your thoughts to eliminate thoughts completely and replace it with general awareness of present moment.
- Slowing down your thoughts and visualizing a safe place
- Praying and meditating on the name of God
- Transcendental meditation
- Practicing mindfulness
- Using prayer bids to recite a mantra a given number of times
- Contemplative meditation
- Reading sacred text
- Singing sacred hymns
- Kundalini meditation
- Sound meditation
- Being in the Flow or Zone
- Focusing attention to feel compassion and gratitude
- New age meditation.
Just going through the list above tells you that there are several similar concepts that all fall into under the term meditation.
All these forms a meditation all work towards achieving the same goal which is to calm the mind down and bring stillness to it. This is what is missing in our normal day to day life.
Talking about lacking stillness and calm, consider how much work your brain puts in, even when you're sleeping. Your brain helps you calculate every move you make. Helps you make judgement. Analyses past data to help you accurate decision making. Considering all the work the brain does, it is a no-brainer to say that the brain needs some rest.
You brain gets rest during cycles of deep sleep. Although some parts of it keep working to make sure your other vital organs are working correctly.
Meditation helps you to clear your busy mind. It makes things becomes clearer as excess thoughts are lost in the background and you become more aware of just the present moment. Doing this everyday will help in the help of your mind and brain.
Considering there is a long list of types of meditation, it can be a problem for a beginner to wrap his hand around one.
Later in this guide, you will be shown which one to start with that will help you stick to the amazing habits of meditation. At least until you understand fully the great benefits of meditation.
Benefits of Meditation
Although there are many forms of meditation, the benefits are all the same. When you start meditating everyday, you will start noticing some of these benefits:
- Improvement in mental health – You'll have internal peace, your thoughts will stop being chaotic.
- Anxiety and stress levels will drastically reduce.
- Levels of concentration will increase
- You'll be all positivity
- You'll learn to focus with increased attention span
- You mind's speed will slow down
- You'll sleep better
- Your physical health will improve because your brains sends the body the right signals
- You will find it easier to stay away from alcohol, tobacco etc
- Productivity levels and efficiency will increase
- You will start making better decisions
- You will be able to stick to a healthier lifestyle
- As you get better, you'll find your real self, find meaning and purpose to life which helps you live a more fulfilled life.
All the benefits you read above plus more can be yours if you can master the act of meditation. You just have to meditate daily. At first, this habit will be hard to stick to, but if you can master this habit. It will all be worth it in the end.
Moreover, you're in luck – because by the time you are done reading this guide, you will be equipped with all you need, you'll know what to expect and how to make this habit stick.