Meditation was first thought to be practiced by hunter-gatherers, as evidenced by archaeological findings. First discovering the benefits of meditation, these primitive people passed their knowledge down from generation to generation, setting the groundwork for the history of meditation.

Meditation evolved through the teachings of the Buddha into how we know it today.

Despite the early historic origins and development of meditation via Buddhism, it remained confined almost exclusively within Asia until the middle of the 20th Century.

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It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that meditation became known in the western world, largely with the hippies, whose open minds got to experience the countless benefits of meditation first hand. Since then, meditation has continued to progress, coming into its own, being used by millions of people all around the world for a number of purposes.

In the West, the word meditation means a concentrated state of mind in serious reflection.

The Latin root of the word meditation, “mederi”, means “to heal”.

It is an effort to heal afflictions of the mind, the hurt ego, by trying to understand the cause of the problem and finding a way to solve it, by knowing what counter-measures to take.

For the Hindus meditation is repetition of a mantra, with or without a rosary, but with a feeling of spiritual oneness. According to Zen, meditation does not involve any concept but is an awareness of inner silence.

In Bhakti Yoga, meditation is visualization of the image of a chosen deity, together with mental repetition of a relevant mantra. So, as you can see, meditation can be applied in different ways, though the important aspect to remember is that to meditate is to deepen a state of understanding.

So Here are My 5 Steps on How to Meditate, to Apply in Your Life.

Get Settled:

– Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can sit and relax.

– Allow your hands to rest in your lap or on your knees.

– Whether you’re using a guided meditation or relaxing music, commit to practising for the full time you’ve set aside, whether you find the session easy or difficult.

Scan Your Body and Check in:

– Slowly turn your mind inwards. Scan your body from head to toe, observing any tension or discomfort. Don’t try to change what you find, simply take note of it

– Now turn your awareness to your thoughts. Notice any thoughts that arise without attempting to alter them. Gently note your underlying mood, just becoming aware of what’s there without judgment.

– Acknowledge your senses: notice anything you can smell, hear or taste and sensations of heat, cold or wind.

Allow Your Mind to be Free:

– Spend the first few minutes just sitting. You might find yourself inundated with thoughts and plans, or feel calm and focused. Whatever happens is completely fine. Enjoy the rare chance to let your mind simply be.

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Observe the Breath:

– Bring your attention to your breathing. Don’t make any effort to change it, just observe the rising and falling sensation that it creates in your body. Notice where these sensations occur – be it your belly, your chest, your shoulders, or anywhere else.

For a few moments, focus on the quality of each breath, noting whether it’s deep or shallow, long or short, fast or slow.

– While doing this, it’s completely normal for thoughts to bubble up. You don’t need to “do” anything, just guide your attention back to the breath when you realise the mind has wandered off.

Have Patience:

– Every action has a reaction. It is not possible for you to meditate and not receive benefits. You may not notice those benefits now, though by sowing a seed today; you don’t reap the fruit tomorrow, though eventually you will. It takes time to see results: be gentle with yourself.

– Throughout the day, find small moments to remind yourself what it felt like to have that clarity and focused attention. Maybe when you first sit down at your desk at work, when you drink your morning coffee, or when you’re on the tube or a bus. You don’t need to do the whole exercise – just take a couple of deep breaths, notice how you feel and observe any areas of tension.

Remember, meditation is better than sitting around doing nothing!

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