The History and Benefits of Meditation

Meditation can be traced back thousands of years however; it is difficult to find the exact origin of this practice. There are records of meditation practice in the ancient culture of many Asian countries such as India, Japan and China and had a universal presence in these countries, with slight differences in styles, purposes or goals of each type of meditation. Japanese meditation for example, became Zen and Chinese meditation became Taoism, Chi Kung and Wuji Gigong.

Archaeological sites in the Indus Valley in India are dated to 3000bc and reveal figures in a meditative posture used in Yoga. So it seems evident that Yogic knowledge and meditation have been used for at least 5000 years.

After meditation gained popularity in the eastern countries, it was thousands of years before it gained acceptance in the west. During the mid-20th century however, it started to become very popular in the western countries. Research completed during the late 1960s and 70s proved many benefits of meditation and really helped it to become much more accepted in the western culture.

In modern times, meditation is a refined and evolved practice. It helps us to achieve balance physically, mentally and emotionally. Research has shown that if you meditate daily it can reduce anxiety, stress and other emotional disorders.

Meditation is the art of quieting the mind and it is proven that when the mind is quiet, concentration is increased and you experience inner peace in the midst of all the turmoil in the world. This inner peace is what attracts so many people to meditate and is something that everyone can benefit from. Today we live in one of the most exciting and yet turbulent and precarious times in the history of mankind. Despite all of our technological progress, we also live in uncertainty and fear- fear of crime, terrorism and nuclear war. We now have the ability to wipe out everyone on the face of the earth and it is no wonder that more people are turning to meditation. With all the stress of modern society, many feel a fundamental need for silence, a moment of reflection and inner peace. Meditation can reduce stress and help us relax by teaching us to turn off the worries that plague us through the day. It gives us the opportunity to spend time by ourselves.

There are also many health and psychological benefits that meditation can provide, for example, with lower levels of stress and anxiety the probability of heart disease diminishes significantly. This is not to say that meditating guarantees anyone good health. However, there is a growing awareness to the link between our state of mind and our physical health. Daily meditation is also said to decrease anxiety, and depression and increase happiness and emotional stability.

We are all seeking to have peace of mind and meditation can take you to that source of happiness. If you don’t have peace of mind than happiness will elude us no matter how successful we appear to be. By meditating, you will understand that happiness is not dependent on outer circumstances, but comes from within yourself.

While we search for the meaning of life, meditation can be a great tool. Usually we look for life’s meaning through external sources and in other people however, meditation shows us that we can gain a greater understanding of life through a higher consciousness.

Meditation can give you a new perspective on life, unclouded by our egoistic perspective and become a lifelong process of answering the eternal question ‘Who am I’?

For hundreds of years meditation has been an exclusively Spiritual practice. By quieting the mind and relaxing the body the meditator experiences deep inner peace, which leads them to higher states of awareness.

There are also many Spiritual benefits in practicing meditation, it can provide you peace of mind and give you a deeper understanding and fulfillment of ‘purpose’. It can also provide an overall experience of ‘Well Being’. Meditation gives you a much better understanding of yourself and others. It can change your outlook toward life and attain ‘Enlightenment’ with a deeper understanding of the ‘Infinite’. It also helps you to live in the ‘Present Moment’, experience an inner sense of ‘knowingness’, and opens your mind to the ‘Oneness’ in all things. It will give you a sense of ‘Completion’.

Ultimately, meditation is the practice for those of us seeking a union with our ‘Source’.

Bob Toledo
August, 2012