The origins of meditation are a bit obscure, but the oldest documented evidence of meditation was discovered in the wall arts in the Indian subcontinent in about 5,000 to 3,500 BCE. Those arts showed people seated Indian style, in meditative postures, with half-closed eyes. Written recordings of meditations were seen in the Vedas, which are ancient Hindu scriptures written in Sanskrit, as a spiritual exercise and a religious practice. Despite plenty of research, it is difficult for scholars to pinpoint when and where exactly meditation originated.
The practice of meditation has spanned across the globe, from its origins to the East and to Western cultures and in many different religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. It’s uses in both Eastern and Western cultures span even greater. When it originated, meditation was used as a path towards self-realization and enlightenment. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, research began in the United States to discern with utilizing meditation to reduce stress.
Here are a few different types of commonly used meditations today.
Focused meditations involve focusing on a specific object or on mental events that enter the mind when meditating. The object you focus on can be a physical object, such as a crystal, a sound, memory, or sensation. There is specific care placed on breathing while doing this type of meditation. The goal with focused meditation is not to place yourself within the mental event or within the object, but to observe it.
Mindfulness meditation places focus on the person’s awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are currently residing within the body without the specifics that focused meditation might require. There are two different types of mindfulness meditation. There is internal monitoring, which focuses on emotions, thoughts, and visualizations. Then, there is external monitoring, which focuses on smells, sounds, colors, and other perceptions.
The idea behind sound meditation is that there are different frequencies of sound that connect and resonate with the frequencies within our bodies. As such, with the proper intentions such as wanting to heal a chakra, and the right sound, there can be healing. The most common frequencies utilized in Sound meditations are the Solfeggio frequencies. These are six tones that are believed to have been incorporated in sacred music, which are inclusive of the famous Gregorian chants, can heal things such as fear or guilt within oneself or a chakra.
While some may consider yoga movement meditation, and it can be, movement meditation can also include going outside in a serene environment to obtain the mental clarity that meditation can give us. Those environments can be hiking, walking, gardening, making tea or cooking. Any gentle form of motion that allows us to allow our minds to wander, to relieve stress. Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in certain specific meditative actions, and find moving to be a comfort.
Meditation In Practice
Most of these meditations can last as long as a few minutes to a few hours, depending on your skill level and availability, but all of them help with reducing stress and being more mindful of emotions.
I also want to stress that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate. You can select one of these meditations, more than one of these, and there are plenty other different types of meditations that may suit you, your lifestyle, and your spiritual practice more!