Meditation is now a systemized practice that dates back centuries. In fact, this practice started as early as the ancient time. One of the pervasive arguments that continues to rage about the subject concerns questions of when, where, and how meditation originated.
We may never know for sure, but as we have just seen in the introduction, looking at historical evidence points the location (Where?) as the Indus Valley and the time (When?) at around 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.
“How”- is a question that the experts are still at a loss for an answer, though there is an agreement among experts that informal practice of meditation could date back more than five millennia. It is simply hard to trace back how the practice was actually developed.
Today, meditation is an important activity in all the major world religions. Buddhists spend hours in the lotus position, aspiring to achieve what The Buddha realized after 49 days in the meditative state. Meanwhile, Catholic monks meditate by spending hours on end contemplating and meditating on the Word of God. Meditation is dependent on the religion on where it is being practice.
Diverse Cultures And Civilizations
Early civilizations that thrived in China and Japan studied and developed meditation as well as the Indians. Historians often present the argument that meditation is an important element that helped define the spiritual practices of Eastern philosophies. This common element unites the need of humankind to understand himself, the Universe, and the interplay between the two, no matter what culture or religion he belongs to.
When a civilization starts seeking to improve spiritually and socially, then it is very likely that meditation is practiced not only by the religious leaders but by common folk as well.
Aboriginal cultures that existed in Australia at around the same time are believed to practice meditation. However, there is no definitive evidence on record that they did engage in meditative practices. In the meantime, Native Americans who lived centuries ago have passed on numerous cultural practices to their modern counterparts, one of which is meditation.
Some experts argue that the trance-likes states entered by members of indigenous tribes during certain rituals qualify as a form of meditation. In this case, it is reasonable to assume that their ancestors, who occupied the same land centuries ago, were practicing the same method to achieve self-awareness and focused introspection, which is part of the current definition of “meditation.”
One of the biggest influences on the development of meditation was Siddhartha Gautama who lived in India at around 500 B.C. Siddhartha Gautama would eventually bear the title, “Buddha” after attaining enlightenment while seated under a sacred tree in the lotus position, which is an attitude of meditation.
The Buddha’s teachings form the tenets of Buddhism, which is one of the major religions of the world today. The Buddha espouses meditation as a means to achieve Enlightenment, in the same way that he did.
Gautama Buddha was one of the first to establish and formalize meditation in the context of a religious tradition. Buddhist meditation as we know it today comprises four main components. These are mindfulness, concentration, insight, and tranquility. These foundations are inculcated in Buddhist meditation, which is one of the most popular forms of meditation being practiced even by non-Buddhists.
The history of meditation is very rich. It is interesting to discover where it actually originated. The most common questions about it are yet to be answered. No matter where it started, one thing is for sure Meditation has many benefits which we will uncover next.