According to research meditation originated in the India/Pakistan region. The earliest recorded mention of meditation occurred in Hindu Scripture approximately 5,000 years ago, theses were called tantras. However, it is believed by many that if recorded history dated back further, it would demonstrate signs its presence had been around for much longer.
The first Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama lived from approximately 560 B.C to 450 B, C. It is known he went to study meditation and spiritual affairs with two other holy men. Around this time it was only holy men who practised and taught the art of meditation as a means to enlightenment. The first Buddha meditation spread across Asia and became more wide spread.
Whilst traditionally meditation was practised and associated with religious traditions, it takes on many forms and philosophies and you do not need to follow any religion to practise. The most common forms known today come from the East, these have been practised and perfected by many religions, for example, Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism with a view to attaining spiritual enlightenment.
Though there are many forms of meditation they all have a common aim, to restore calm and inner peace. Meditation works to train the mind to a state of stillness and tranquillity. This can enhance mental, physical, emotional health and well being.
It is said when practised regularly meditation has the potential to bring greater benefits than simple relaxation techniques. Whilst relaxation can reduce symptoms of stress temporarily, meditation aims to promote relaxation of mind and body bringing a heightened state of awareness.
Benefits of meditation
- Ease depression, anxiety and emotional stress disorders
- Reduce anger, irritation and frustration
- Restore inner peace and happiness
- Enhance confidence and self-esteem
- Promote mental, physical health and well being
- Encourage self exploration/acceptance
- Boosts concentration and memory
- Improve insomnia and sleep disorders
- Enhances circulation
- Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduce tendencies towards addiction
- Decrease activity of the autonomic nervous system
Meditation is a skill and like any skill requires practise and patience to be refined. It requires regular commitment and if incorporated into your daily routine it will help develop a strong and stable practise. Scientific evidence shows that daily meditation practise helps stimulate positive changes in the brain. This means new behaviour patterns and mental activity can be created, as old mental activity can be let go of.
As the majority of our mental activity can be habitual the results could potentially be life changing.
Meditation requires a certain amount of self discipline if the habit of daily practice is to be formed. Get into a routine of practising at the same time every day, as little as 10 minutes daily can prove to be beneficial.