Meditation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: October 1, 2014 at 7:56 am


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This article is about a variety of mental disciplines used to induce specific modes or states of consciousness. For other uses, see Meditation (disambiguation).

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit[1] or as an end in itself.[2]

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration[4] meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs.[5] Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health issues, such as high blood pressure,[6]depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active wayfor instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of the training.

Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that statesuch as anger, hatred, etc.or cultivating a particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion.[7] The term "meditation" can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[8] Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes.[9] The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator. Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as "being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself."[10] In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices.[11]

The English meditation is derived from the Latin meditatio, from a verb meditari, meaning "to think, contemplate, devise, ponder".[12]

In the Old Testament, hg (Hebrew: ) means to sigh or murmur, and also, to meditate.[13] When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, hg became the Greek melete. The Latin Bible then translated hg/melete into meditatio.[14] The use of the term meditatio as part of a formal, stepwise process of meditation goes back to the 12th-century monk Guigo II.[15]

The Tibetan word for meditation "Gom" means "to become familiar with one's Self" and has the strong implication of training the mind to be familiar with states that are beneficial: concentration, compassion, correct understanding, patience, humility, perseverance, etc.[16]

Apart from its historical usage, the term meditation was introduced as a translation for Eastern spiritual practices, referred to as dhyna in Buddhism and in Hinduism, which comes from the Sanskrit root dhyai, meaning to contemplate or meditate.[8][17] The term "meditation" in English may also refer to practices from Islamic Sufism,[18] or other traditions such as Jewish Kabbalah and Christian Hesychasm.[19] An edited book about "meditation" published in 2003, for example, included chapter contributions by authors describing Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions.[20][21] Scholars have noted that "the term 'meditation' as it has entered contemporary usage" is parallel to the term "contemplation" in Christianity,[22] but in many cases, practices similar to modern forms of meditation were simply called 'prayer'. Christian, Judaic and Islamic forms of meditation are typically devotional, scriptural or thematic, while Asian forms of meditation are often more purely technical.[23]

The history of meditation is intimately bound up with the religious context within which it was practiced.[24][clarification needed] Some authors have even suggested the hypothesis that the emergence of the capacity for focused attention, an element of many methods of meditation,[25] may have contributed to the final phases of human biological evolution.[26] Some of the earliest references to meditation are found in the Hindu Vedas.[24] Wilson translates the most famous Vedic mantra 'Gayatri' thus: "We meditate on that desirable light of the divine Savitri, who influences our pious rites" (Rgveda: Mandala-3, Sukta-62, Rcha-10). Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.[24]

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Meditation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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October 1st, 2014 at 7:56 am

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