The first in our multi-part series on meditation, let's start by looking at the definition of meditation and the history of this ancient relaxation and fulfillment method.
Not only is meditation a powerful health benefit in your life, it's ability to allow you to take control and manage stress in your life is well understood and accepted.
Several sources, including online encyclopedia site Wikipedia place the origins of meditation some 5,000 years ago with evidence in some circles that natives practiced forms of meditation earlier than this.
For many people, meditation is challenging to understand as it seeks to achieve a mind-state of utter peace and tranquility yet often accomplishes this task by techniques of intense focus on a single or fixed stimuli.
For example, the common chant of ummm is used as a combination breathing and auditory stimuli focusing your mind intently until all energy is used to empty the mind creating the ultimate focus. Some people find a chant useful while others prefer methods such as music, silence or other repetitive stimuli works best.
Meditation, also known as contemplation, started first in the East followed thousands of years later to the Western world where it really caught on to the mainstream in the 20th century. There are many forms of meditation including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, New Age and many others.
One form of meditation places extra focus on being "in the moment" where your awareness is the key focus. Awareness could be of your environment, but is most commonly focused inward – practicing this form of meditation occurs by beginning to focus on your breathing, blood flow, energy through your body or other focus stimuli from within.
Meditation is also often attached to a particular religion and may include a concentration on prayer or words from within a prayer. Meditation need not be tied to any one religion, but in practice often has been.
In modern society meditation is more closely looked at by researchers in the health and alternative health fields for it's impact on…
- mental health
- weight loss
- blood pressure
- heart health
- improvements in the immune system
- stress relief and treatment for depression
In addition, a growing movement from business and sports leaders to acknowledging the role meditation can play in overall character as well as self-confidence and overall happiness.
Meditation has a long, rich history of helping people improve their lives with enough scientific evidence to prove that there are real health benefits of meditation – enough that we should begin to incorporate meditation into our daily lives.
Just as we eat, drink and breath, we should be adding meditation to our daily schedules.