Healing The Mind And Body With Meditation
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Meditation is an ancient practice that is known to improve the spiritual, mental, and physical well-being of a person. Today it is also considered the highest form of relaxation. In fact tens of millions of people are known to practice this said activity worldwide. Meditation is also known to have numerous health benefits. It is being used to treat mental issues and other problems related to the body. In this guide we dive into the world of meditation and demystify the sometimes shrouded information and illuminate it for the inquisitive mind. Now, Have you ever wondered how did it start?
The Vedas of the Hindu traditions have the earliest records of meditation. Nevertheless, Hinduism does not have monopoly over meditation as a practice, since early records have also been found linking meditative practices to Taoism in China and Buddhism in India.
For many centuries, meditation has served practitioners well. In fact, it has become an accepted approach in dealing with various psychological and physiological conditions that assail modern man. Today, meditation is generally recommended for people who need respite from suffering and stress.
The Purpose Of Meditation
In reference to its religious origins, meditation is originally intended as the means to an end, which is enlightenment or salvation. Through meditation, the end goal can be achieved because it is a practice that increases a person’s awareness of the moment as well as spiritual understanding. Meditation is essentially a spiritual practice; however, its benefits go beyond that of the spiritual. Patanjali, an Indian sage referred to meditation as “self-realization” or absolute awareness of oneself.
In the early days of meditation, the practice could only be bequeathed by a teacher or guru to his student or disciple. Nowadays, anyone can enter into the meditative state and there are no religious sanctions, since the different religions of the world support its practice for as long as their basic tenets are followed.
From The Ancients To Modern Times
Historians believe that meditation was already widely practiced even before recorded history, particularly amongst the first Indian civilizations that emerged at the banks of the Indus and the Ganges. The best guess is that meditation has been in existence for as long as 5,000 years.
Religions were formed and all of these belief systems incorporated meditative practice based on their tenets and philosophies. The major religions that are known to promote the practice of meditation are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism. Since then meditation has evolved into the structured practice that it is today.
Development Of Meditation
The Buddhists were the first to formalize the practice of meditation in India about 2,500 years ago. Gautama Buddha, the founder of this world religion was the first to establish an organized approach to enlightenment that was founded on formal meditation. Buddhist scriptures clearly demonstrated the importance of meditative practice in the attainment of “Nirvana.” This form of meditation spread from India into Tibet, reaching China in the Second Century.
Historical records show that the very first translations of Buddhist writings into Chinese appeared in the 6th century. The Chinese played an important role in the increase in the variations of the forms of meditation, which are practiced today. Buddhism eventually became as important to the Chinese as Taoism and Confucianism. Buddhist principals and teachers were assimilated into Chinese culture and soon enough it crossed the sea to be taken in and embraced in Japan.
In turn, the Japanese were instrumental in developing the practice known today as Zen meditation. On the whole, meditation has many faces and it varies no matter where you are situated. One thing is for sure, Meditation can benefit the body and the mind. Now, Let us start this journey into the ancient practice that can promote not just physical but also spiritual and mental health as well.
See you tomorrow
Keep tuned for more to come around Mindful Meditation