Meditation, not to be confused with mediatation, is an ancient art form that has been practiced for centuries, with origins in the Eastern part of the word; India being a prime example. The basic use of meditation is as a form of healing which does not require the ingestion of any medications, relying only on the individuals mind and how it may be finely tuned to achieve the desired effects on both mind and body. The purpose of meditation is to transcend “normal” thinking and elevate oneself into a higher state of awareness and consciousness, achieve a relaxed state of mind, and be able to clearly focus.
Meditation covers a wide range of spiritual and psycho-physical practices and is not limited to religious traditional practice. The common denominator among all types of meditation, however, is the discipline involved – anyone going into a regime of meditation needs to know the level of discipline that will be required.
As has just been mentioned, meditation does have a number of religious roots including forms developing from the practice of the Baha’i faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism , Judaism, Jainism amongst many others, and more recently, from New Age movements.
The practice of meditation can take one of several forms including the focus on a single object or process such as a mantra. Meditation can also be performed while walking or performing or engaged in a simple repetitive task. The object in all cases is to focus and concentrate while minimizing distractions in order to achieve the desired goal of inner peace and self awareness, transcending the mundane cares that usually bog down a good number of us.
Meditation, as practiced in India, has its origins 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 is classified into two forms: the samatha and the vipassana, both of which are necessary for achieving enlightenment. The two classifications have also been found to merge into one another, with a session starting out with samatha characteristics while ending up with a vipassana practice. While the samatha practice is based on focusing the attention single-pointedly, the vapassana practice is aimed at seeing things as they really are, in the true nature of reality.
In the vipassana style of meditation, the focus of awareness is first of all on the rising and falling the breath and then, when respiration is almost suspended and the mind and heart are still, the focus is then shifted onto either some simple symbol e.g. a candle flame or a body part such as the individual’s thumb; or a concept. This is provided that any of these is not likely to prove emotionally or intellectually disturbing.
Meditation has been practiced in India for centuries and there are meditation practitioners and coaches in India who have further developed the art of meditation into a fine skill which will help the individual gain a sense of peace, awareness and total well-being.
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