Meditation is a practice that helps someone achieve a mental, emotional, and physical balance. The practice can be traced back to the ancient times, and this is proven by the discovery of Indian artifacts that date back to 5,000 years ago. Researchers suggest that meditation started with people from primitive hunting and gathering societies, who had meditated while gazing into their bonfire's flickering flames.
Over the years, meditation slowly became a religious practice. It became widespread across Asia due to the religious practices and teachings of Buddha. Soon, it was adapted into various cultures and evolved into different variations and styles. Different religions such as Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Jainism also claim to have a part in the history of meditation. Indeed, these religions have their own meditation practices and teachings, but they do not practice meditation as much as their eastern counterparts.
Meditation became popular in the western world during the 1960s and 1970s, when people in the US began to take interest in eastern religions. During this period of time, the medical and scientific community began to do research on meditation and discovered its significant health benefits. As such, meditation became a therapeutic remedy for alleviating mental and physical ailments. It soon became an alternative form of healing that is widely accepted in the medical world, and the perceptions on meditation transcended from being a religious practice to a form of mental exercise that is able to promote healing. It is also proven that meditation is an effective way to relieve stress, and it has become more widely practiced as more and more people are experiencing greater stress at work.
There are three integral aspects of meditation, namely, concentration, wisdom, and morality. These three are simultaneously developed as they have significant influence on each other. Mastery of these three important aspects will lead to optimum meditation. Meditation involves a deep level of concentration, which enables the mind to develop a deeper level of consciousness. This can be done through a variety of mental exercises, which include breathing exercises, focused visualization, and others. As concentration develops, the meditator will achieve a higher level of mental purity and calmness, and this will lead to the development of wisdom.
Wisdom is the ability to discover and understand the truth about people and things that exist in the world. A meditated person will be able to perceive the true essence of things around him or her, instead of accepting things on a superficial level. Therefore, once the meditator has acquired wisdom, he or she will become more aware of the spiritual states of sentient beings. As a result, compassion will follow. Compassion means restraining oneself from saying, doing, or thinking anything that may harm others. This is the essence of morality. Many people think that meditation is just a way to relax the mind, but true meditation is a spiritual process that helps a person develop a greater sense of morality. Without the right spiritual conduct, it is impossible for people to achieve optimum meditation.
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