Meditation and Mindfulness have been practised for thousands of years – the first known written recordings are said to be found in the Vedas, around 1500 BCE. However there is evidence that meditation was practised even before this time.
For however long it has been around – meditation is still as relevant to us now as it was then. Although the practises might have changed to suit the times, the essence of what it is, to reside in the Self, is still unchanged.
The word Meditation is derived from Old French meditacioun, in turn from Latin meditatio from a verb meditari, meaning to think, contemplate, devise or ponder. Apart from its historical usage, the term meditation was introduced as a translation for Eastern spiritual practices, referred to as dhyāna in Hinduism and Buddhism and which comes from the Sanskrit root dhyai, meaning to contemplate or meditate. This universal contemplative state is also mentioned in their own way in sacred ancient texts across the world, including ancient Sufi, Japanese, Jewish and Christian texts. The word meditation is also related to the word medicine. *med-, which meant “measure” or “take appropriate measures”, and by extension also “to give advice” and “to heal”.
Meditation is intertwined with the path of Yoga. Vedic teachings and hindu philosophy of meditation teach us that the universal divine Self dwells within the heart and the way to experience and recognize divinity is to turn one’s attention inward in a process of contemplative meditation.
Anapanasati, mindfulness of breathing, is a core meditation practise in Theravada, Tiantai and Chan traditions of Buddhism. In modern times it’s now also an essential practise of many mindfulness programs.
Meditation, such as yoga, is scientifically proven to change our physiology, as it directly affects our brains and nervous system which affects our internal organs, our whole way of being and vice versa. Other notable benefits of meditation are emotional and mental equilibrium, sleep is improved, we become calmer, less stressed, less reactive and decreases blood pressure to that effect, and due to all this we’re in better moods because of it. Meditation invites us in silence to deeper healing, to go inwards for resolve, it is the perfect antidote to daily stressors, it provides relief from “stress”, and so much more.
Yuli is a registered Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, Meditation and Mindfulness (100+ hours), with Yoga Alliance Professionals.