meditation



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A large statue in Bangalore depicting Shiva meditating
Mind-body interventions - [ edit]
NCCAM classifications
See also
Meditation describes a state of concentrated attention on some object of thought or awareness. It usually involves turning the attention inward to a single point of reference.[1] Meditation is often recognized as a component of eastern religions, where it has been practiced for over 5,000 years.[2][3][4] Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which can emphasize development of either a high degree of mental concentration, or the apparent converse, mental quiescence.

The word meditation comes from the Latin meditatio, which originally indicated every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved into the more specific meaning "contemplation."

Eastern spiritual teachings, including meditation, have been adapted and increasingly practiced in Western culture. [5]

Forms of meditation



Meditation has been defined as: "self regulation of attention, in the service of self-inquiry, in the here and now."[6] The various techniques of meditation can be classified according to their focus. Some focus on the field or background perception and experience, also called "mindfulness;" others focus on a preselected specific object, and are called "concentrative" meditation. There are also techniques that shift between the field and the object.[6]

In mindfulness meditation, the meditator sits comfortably and silently, centering attention by focusing awareness on an object or process (either the breath, a sound: a mantra, koan or riddle evoking questions; a visualisation, or an exercise). The meditator is usually encouraged to maintain an open focus:

... shifting freely from one perception to the next... No thought, image or sensation is considered an intrusion. The meditator, with a 'no effort' attitude, is asked to remain in the here and now. Using the focus as an 'anchor'... brings the subject constantly back to the present, avoiding cognitive analysis or fantasy regarding the contents of awareness, and increasing tolerance and relaxation of secondary thought processes.[6]


Concentration meditation is used in most religions and spiritual practices. Whereas in mindfulness meditation, there is an open focus, in concentration mediation the meditator holds attention on a particular object (e.g., a repetitive prayer) while minimizing distractions; bringing the mind back to concentrate on the chosen object.[7] In some traditions, such as Vipassana, mindfulness and concentration are combined.[8]

Meditation can be practiced while walking or doing simple repetitive tasks. Walking meditation helps to break down habitual automatic mental categories, "thus regaining the primary nature of perceptions and events, focusing attention on the process while disregarding its purpose or final outcome." In a form of meditation using visualization, such as Chinese Qi Gong, the practitioner concentrates on flows of energy (Qi) in the body, starting in the abdomen and then circulating through the body, until dispersed.[6] Some meditative traditions, such as yoga or tantra, are common to several religions[4] or occur outside religious contexts.

Hinduism

For more details on this topic, see Dhyana in Hinduism.
Hinduism can safely be considered the oldest religion that professed meditation as a spiritual and religious practice. Yoga (Devanagari: योग) is one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, focusing on meditation. In India, Yoga is seen as a means to both physiological and spiritual mastery.

There are several types of meditation in Hinduism. These include (but are not limited to):
  • Vedanta, a form of Jnana Yoga.
  • Raja Yoga as outlined by Patanjali, which describes eight "limbs" of spiritual practices, half of which might be classified as meditation. Underlying them is the assumption that a yogi should still the fluctuations of his or her mind: Yoga cittavrrti nirodha.
  • Surat shabd yoga, or "sound and light meditation"
  • Japa Yoga, in which a mantra is repeated aloud or silently
  • Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of love and devotion, in which the seeker is focused on an object of devotion, eg Krishna
  • Hatha Yoga, in which postures and meditations are aimed at raising the spiritual energy, known as Kundalini, which rises through energy centres known as chakras

Bahá'í Faith

The Bahá'í Faith teaches that meditation is necessary for spiritual growth, alongside obligatory prayer and fasting. 'Abdu'l-Bahá is quoted as saying:

"Meditation is the key for opening the doors of mysteries to your mind. In that state man abstracts himself: in that state man withdraws himself from all outside objects; in that subjective mood he is immersed in the ocean of spiritual life and can unfold the secrets of things-in-themselves."[9]


Although the Founder of the Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, never specified any particular forms of meditation, some Bahá'í practices are meditative. One of these is the daily repetition of the Arabic phrase Alláhu Abhá (Arabic: الله ابهى) (God is Most Glorious) 95 times preceded by ablutions. Abhá has the same root as Bahá' (Arabic: بهاء‎ "splendor" or "glory") which Bahá'ís consider to be the "Greatest Name of God".

Buddhism

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Buddha in meditation
Main article: Buddhist meditation


Meditation has always been central to Buddhism. The historical Buddha himself was said to have achieved enlightenment while meditating under a Bodhi tree. Most forms of Buddhism distinguish between two classes of meditation practices, shamatha and vipassana, both of which are necessary for attaining enlightenment. The former consists of practices aimed at developing the ability to focus the attention single-pointedly; the latter includes practices aimed at developing insight and wisdom through seeing the true nature of reality. The differentiation between the two types of meditation practices is not always clear cut, which is made obvious when studying practices such as Anapanasati which could be said to start off as a shamatha practice but that goes through a number of stages and ends up as a vipassana practice.

Theravada Buddhism emphasizes the meditative development of mindfulness (sati, see for example the Satipatthana Sutta) and concentration (samadhi, see kammatthana), as part of the Noble Eightfold Path, in the pursuit of Nibbana (Nirvana). Traditional popular meditation subjects include the breath (anapana) and loving-kindness (mettā).

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Zen Buddhist meditation or zazen
In Japanese Mahayana schools, Tendai (Tien-tai), concentration is cultivated through highly structured ritual. Especially in the Chinese Chán Buddhism school (which branched out into the Japanese Zen, and Korean Seon schools), ts'o ch'an meditation and koan meditation practices allow a practitioner to directly experience the true nature of reality (each of the names of these schools derives from the Sanskrit dhyana, and translates into "meditation" in their respective languages). The esoteric Shingon sect shares many features with Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana) emphasizes tantra for its senior practitioners; hence its alternate name of Tantrayana Buddhism. Many monks go through their day without "meditating" in a recognizable form, but are more likely to chant or participate in group liturgy. In this tradition, the purpose of meditation is to awaken the sky-like nature of mind, and to introduce practitioners to that which they really are: unchanging pure awareness, which underlies the whole of life and death.[10][11]

Meditation is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being, beyond all habitual patterns. In the stillness and silence of meditation, we glimpse and return to that deep inner nature that we have so long ago lost sight of amid the busyness and distraction of our minds.

The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life. For it is only through meditation that you can undertake the journey to discover your true nature, and so find the stability and confidence you will need to live, and die, well. Meditation is the road to enlightenment.- Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying[11]


Most Buddhist traditions recognize that the path to Enlightenment entails three types of training: virtue (sīla); meditation (citta); and, wisdom (paññā).[12] Thus, meditative prowess alone is not sufficient; it is but one part of the path. In other words, in Buddhism, in tandem with mental cultivation, ethical development and wise understanding are also necessary for the attainment of the highest goal.[13]

Christianity

Main article: Christian meditation
Christian traditions have various practices which might be identified as forms of "meditation." Many of these are monastic practices. Some types of prayer, such as the rosary and Adoration (focusing on the eucharist) in Catholicism or the hesychasm in Eastern Orthodoxy, may be compared to the form of Eastern meditation that focuses on an individual object.

Christian meditation is considered a form of prayer. Some Christian prayer is made primarily by using the intellect, through the contemplation of the divine mysteries. However, Christian prayer or meditation through the heart, as described in the Philokalia is a practice towards Theosis, which involves acquiring an inner stillness and ignoring the physical senses.

According to the Old Testament book of Joshua, a form of meditation is to meditate on scriptures. This is one of the reasons why bible verse memory is a practice among many evangelical Christians. "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful." (Joshua 1:8)

The use of the word meditation in the western Christian tradition has referred generally to a more active practice of reflection on some particular theme such as "meditation on the sufferings of Christ".

Islam

See also: Muraqaba
Meditation in Islam is the core of Muslim mystical traditions (in particular Sufism). Meditative quiescence is believed to have a quality of healing and creativity.[14] The Muslim prophet Muhammad, whose deeds devout Muslims follow, spent long periods in meditation and contemplation. It on one such period meditation that Muhammad began to receive revelations of the Qur'an.[15]

There are two concepts or schools of meditation in Islam:
  • Tafakkur and Tadabbur, literally meaning reflection upon the universe. Muslims feel this is a form of intellectual development which emanates from a higher level, i.e. from God. This intellectual process through the receiving of divine inspiration awakens and liberates the human mind, permitting man’s inner personality to develop and grow so that he may lead his life on a spiritual plane far above the mundane level. This is consistent with the global teachings of Islam, which views life as a test of our practice of submission to Allah, the one God.
  • The second form of meditation is the Sufi meditation, it is largely based on mystical exercises. However, this method is controversial among Muslim scholars. One group of Ulama, Al-Ghazzali, for instance, have accepted it, another group of Ulama, Ibn Taymiya, for instance, have rejected it as a bid'ah (Arabic: بدعة‎) (religious innovation).
Sufism relies on a practice similar to Buddhist meditation, known as Muraqaba or Tamarkoz which is taught in the Oveyssi-Shahmaghsoudi Sufi order. Tamarkoz is a Persian term that means ‘concentration,’ referring to the “concentration of abilities”. Consequently, the term concentration is synonymous to close attention, convergent, collection, compaction, and consolidation.

Muslims meditate during the second stage of Hajj at "Mount Mercy", from noon to sunset.[16]

Jainism

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Jain sadhvis meditating
The Jains use the word Samayika, a word in the Prakrit language derived from the word samay (time), to denote the practice of meditation. The aim of Samayika is to transcend the daily experiences of being a "constantly changing" human being, Jiva, and allow for the identification with the "changeless" reality in the practitioner, the Atma. The practice of Samayika begins by achieving a balance in time. If the present moment of time is taken to be a point between the past and the future, Samayika means being fully aware, alert and conscious in that very moment, experiencing one's true nature, Atma, which is considered common to all living beings. The Samayika takes on special significance during Paryushana, a special 8-day period practiced by the Jains.

Meditation techniques were available in ancient Jain scriptures that have been forgotten with time. A practice called preksha meditation is said to have been rediscovered by the 10th Head of Jain Swetamber Terapanth sect Acharya Mahaprajna,[17] and consists of the perception of the body, the psychic centres, breath and of contemplation processes which will initiate the process of personal transformation. It aims at reaching and purify the deeper levels of existence. Regular practice strengthens the immune system, builds up stamina to resist against aging process, pollution, chemical toxins, viruses, diseases, food adulteration etc.[18]

Acharya Mahaprajna says:
Soul is my god. Renunciation is my prayer. Amity is my devotion. Self restraint is my strength. Non-violence is my religion.[19]

Judaism

Main article: Jewish meditation
There is evidence that Judaism has had meditative practices that go back thousands of years.[20] For instance, in the Torah, the patriarch Isaac is described as going "לשוח" (lasuach) in the field—a term understood by all commentators as some type of meditative practice (Genesis 24:63).

Similarly, there are indications throughout the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible) that meditation was central to the prophets.[20] In the Old Testament, there are two Hebrew words for meditation: hāgâ (Hebrew: הגה‎), which means to sigh or murmur, but also to meditate, and sîḥâ (Hebrew: שיחה‎), which means to muse, or rehearse in one's mind.

In modern Jewish practice, one of the best known meditative practices is called hitbodedut (התבודדות) or hisbodedus is explained in Kabbalah and Hassidic philosophy. The word hisbodedut, which derives from the Hebrew word "boded", בודד (a state of being alone) and said to be related to the sfirah of Binah (lit. book of understanding), means the process of making oneself understand a concept well through analytical study.

Kabbalah is inherently a meditative field of study. Kabbalistic meditative practices construct a supernal realm which the soul navigates through in order to achieve certain ends. One of the most well known types of meditation is Merkabah, from the root /R-K-B/ meaning "chariot"(of God).

New Age

Main article: New Age
New Age meditations are often influenced by Eastern philosophy and mysticism such as Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism, yet may contain some degree of Western influence. Examples of such meditations include:
  • Passage Meditation, a modern method developed by spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran, involves silent, focused repetition of memorized passages from world scripture and the writings of great mystics.
  • Transcendental Meditation, a form of meditation taught and promoted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  • FISU (Foundation for International Spiritual Unfoldment) was established by Gururaj Ananda Yogi's prime disciples Rajesh Ananda and Jasmini Ananda whom are the leaders ever since.
  • Ananda Marga meditation was propounded by a Mahakaula Guru Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiiji in India, who said that it revived sacred practices taught by SadaShiva and Sri Krs'na. His system of meditation, he said, is based on original Tantra as given by Shiva and has sometimes been referred as "Rajadhiraja Yoga". He revised many yogic and meditative practices and introduced some new techniques.
  • Dying Meditation Which was Developed By Vivek jiIn India , who said " This is the the technique , which is so close to us , we are dying each and every moment , and if we can understand this feature of us then we could be able to live the real life which is eternal".

Sikhism

Main article: Nām Japō
In Sikhism, the practices of simran and Nām Japō encourage quiet meditation. This is focusing ones attention on the attributes of God. Sikhs believe that there are 10 'gates' to the body, 'gates' is another word for 'chakras' or energy centres. The top most energy level is the called the tenth gate or dasam dwar. It is said that when one reaches this stage through continuous practice meditation becomes a habit that continues whilst walking, talking, eating, awake and even sleeping. There is a distinct taste or flavour when a meditator reaches this lofty stage of meditation, as one experiences absolute peace and tranquility inside and outside the body.

Followers of the Sikh religion also believe that love comes through meditation on the lord's name since meditation only conjures up positive emotions in oneself which are portrayed through our actions. The first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev Ji preached the equality of all humankind and stressed the importance of living a householders life instead of wandering around jungles meditating, as was popular practice at the time. The Guru preached that we can obtain liberation from life and death by living a totally normal family life and by spreading love amongst every human being regardless of religion.

Taoism

Main article: Taoism
Taoism includes a number of meditative and contemplative traditions. Originally said to have their principles described in the I Ching, Tao Te Ching, Chuang Tzu and Tao Tsang among other texts; the multitude of schools relating to Qigong, Neigong, Daoyin and Zhan zhuang are a large, diverse array of breath training practises in aid of meditation with much influence from later Chinese Buddhism and with much influence on traditional Chinese medicine and the Chinese as well as some Japanese martial arts. The Chinese martial art T'ai Chi Ch'uan is named after the well-known focus for Taoist and Neo-Confucian meditation, the T'ai Chi T'u, and is often referred to as “meditation in motion”.

Often Taoist Internal martial arts, especially Tai Chi Chuan are thought of as moving meditation. A common phrase being, "movement in stillness" referring to energetic movement in passive Qigong and seated Taoist meditation; with the converse being "stillness in movement", a state of mental calm and meditation in the tai chi form.

Other

Meditation according to Krishnamurti

J Krishnamurti used the word meditation to mean something entirely different from the practice of any system or method to control the mind. He said, “Man, in order to escape his conflicts, has invented many forms of meditation. These have been based on desire, will, and the urge for achievement, and imply conflict and a struggle to arrive. This conscious, deliberate striving is always within the limits of a conditioned mind, and in this there is no freedom. All effort to meditate is the denial of meditation. Meditation is the ending of thought. It is only then that there is a different dimension which is beyond time.” For Krishnamurti, meditation was choiceless awareness in the present. He said "..When you learn about yourself, watch yourself, watch the way you walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy - if you are aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation."[21]

Active/dynamic meditation

Dynamic Meditation is the name of one of Osho's popular Active Meditation techniques. However, in general active/dynamic meditation refers to any meditation technique which does not have one's body assuming a static posture. Such techniques are widely used in Karma Yoga. An example of such activity could be Natya Yoga or a Shamanistic dance, such as described by Carlos Castaneda or simple exercises that focus on certain parts of the body "to give you the power to profoundly affect your mental and physical state directly and quickly".[22]

Osho, earlier named Rajneesh, introduced the meditation techniques which he termed Active Meditations, which begin with a stage of activity — sometimes intense and physical — followed by a period of silence. He emphasized that meditation is not concentration. Dynamic Meditation involves a conscious catharsis where one can throw out all the repressions, express what is not easily expressible in society, and then easily go into silence. Some of his techniques also have a stage of spontaneous dance. He said that, "If people are innocent there is no need for Dynamic Meditation. But if people are repressed, psychologically are carrying a lot of burden, then they need catharsis. So Dynamic Meditation is just to help them clean the place. And then they can use any method ... It will not be difficult. If they, right now, directly try, they will fail." [23]

Sri Aurobindo used to meditate while walking.

Also the Thai monk Luang Por Teean taught a (more conservative) form of active meditation which in Luang Por Teean's translated books is usually translated as 'Dynamic Meditation'. It involves the use of the hands and arms during sitting meditation. He also used walking meditation as a complementary method. His teaching was aimed at developing awareness of the movements of the arms, which are moved continuously in a certain pattern throughout the meditation. The awareness is, however, not limited to the arms but inclusive of the whole life-experience. This type of active meditation is a type of vipassana meditation, which is popular in Thailand, and is becoming more well known in the western countries, too.

Sahaja Yoga

Main article: Sahaja Yoga
Sahaja Yoga is a meditative practice started by H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Srivastava. Sahaja Yoga focuses on awakening the Kundalini, so that practitioners can achieve Self-realization.

Secular

Forms of meditation which are devoid of mystical content have been developed in the west as a way of promoting physical and mental well being.

Jacobson's Progressive Muscle Relaxation was developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s. Jacobson argued that since muscular tension accompanies anxiety, one can reduce anxiety by learning how to relax the muscular tension.

Autogenic training was developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz in 1932. Schultz emphasized parallels to techniques in yoga and meditation, however, autogenic training is devoid of any mysticism.

Australian psychiatrist Dr Ainslie Meares published a groundbreaking work in the 1960's entitled Relief Without Drugs, in which he recommended some simple, secular relaxation techniques based on Hindu practices as a means of combating anxiety, stress and chronic physical pain.

Herbert Benson M.D., of Harvard Medical School, conducted a series of clinical tests on meditators from various disciplines - mainly Transcendental meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. He first described the results in his 1975 book The Relaxation Response where he outlined a secular approach to achieving similar results.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche founded Shambhala Training in 1976, a secular program of meditation with a belief in basic goodness and teaching the path of bravery and gentleness. The 1984 book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior contains student-edited versions of Trungpa's lectures and writings.

The book Sensual Meditation (1980) which was written by the founder of the Raëlian movement outlines a sequence of non-ascetic meditation exercises which emphasize a Sensual Meditation involving a physical and sensual awareness connected with current knowledge of how the body and mind are organized.

The 1999 book The Calm Technique: Meditation Without Magic or Mysticism by Paul Wilson has a discussion and instruction in a form of secular meditation.

Biofeedback has been tried by many researchers since the 1950s as a way to enter deeper states of mind.[24]

Acoustic and photic

Newer forms of meditation are based on the results of EEG (electro-encephalogram) work in long-term meditators. Studies have demonstrated the presence of a frequency-following response to auditory and visual stimuli. This EEG activity was termed "frequency-following response" because its period (cycles per second) corresponds to the fundamental frequency of the stimulus. Stated plainly, if the stimulus is 5 Hz the resulting measured EEG will show a 5 Hz frequency-following response using appropriate time-domain averaging protocols.[25][26] This is the justification behind such inventions as the Dreamachine and binaural beats.

Meditation in a Western context

"Meditation" in its modern sense refers to Yogic meditation that originated in India. In the late nineteenth century, Theosophists adopted the word "meditation" to refer to various spiritual practices drawn from Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions. Thus the English word "meditation" does not exclusively translate to any single term or concept, and can be used to translate words such as the Sanskrit dhyana, samadhi and bhavana.

Meditation may be for a religious purpose, but even before being brought to the West it was used in secular contexts, such as the martial arts. Beginning with the Theosophists, though, meditation has been employed in the West by a number of religious and spiritual movements, such as Yoga and the New Age movement, as well as limited use in Christianity.

From the point of view of psychology and physiology, meditation can induce an altered state of consciousness, and its goals in that context have been stated to achieving spiritual enlightenment, to the transformation of attitudes, and to better cardiovascular health.

Physical postures

Main article: Asana
Enlarge picture
Half-lotus position.


Different spiritual traditions, and different teachers within those traditions, prescribe or suggest different physical postures for meditation. Most famous are the several cross-legged postures, including the Lotus Position.

Spine

Many meditative traditions teach that the spine should be kept "straight" (i.e. that the meditator should not slouch). Often this is explained as a way of encouraging the circulation of what some call "spiritual energy," the "vital breath", the "life force" (Sanskrit prana, Chinese qi, Latin spiritus) or the Kundalini. In some traditions the meditator may sit on a chair, flat-footed (as in New Thought); sit on a stool (as in Orthodox Christianity); or walk in mindfulness (as in Theravada Buddhism). Some traditions suggest being barefoot, for comfort, for convenience, or for spiritual reasons.

Other traditions, such as those related to kundalini yoga, take a less formal approach. While the basic practice in these traditions is also to sit still quietly in a traditional posture, they emphasize the possibility of kriyas - spontaneous yogic postures, or perhaps repetitive physical movements such as swaying etc., which may naturally arise as the practitioner sits in meditation, and which should not be resisted but rather allowed to express themselves in order to enhance the natural flow of energy through the body, which is said to help purify the nadis and ultimately deepen one's meditative practice.

Mudra/Hand

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Bas-relief in Sukhothai, Thailand depicting monks during walking meditation.
Various hand-gestures or mudras may be prescribed. These can carry theological meaning or according to Yogic philosophy can actually affect consciousness. For example, a common Buddhist hand-position is with the right hand resting atop the left (like the Buddha's begging bowl), with the thumbs touching.

Eyes

In most meditative traditions, the eyes are closed. In some such as some Zen sects, the eyes are half-closed, half open and looking upwards. In others such as Brahma Kumaris, the eyes are kept fully open.

Quiet is often held to be desirable, and some people use repetitive activities such as deep breathing, humming or chanting to help induce a meditative state. Practitioners of the Soto Zen tradition meditate with their eyes open, facing a wall, but most schools of meditation assume that the eyes will be closed or only half-open.

Focus and Gaze

Often such details are shared by more than one religion, even in cases where mutual influence seems unlikely. One example would be "navel-gazing," which is apparently attested within Eastern Orthodoxy as well as Chinese qigong practice. Another would be the practice of focusing on the breath, which is found in Orthodox Christianity, Sufism, and numerous Indic traditions.

Cross-legged Sitting

Sitting cross-legged (or upon one's knees) for extended periods when one is not sufficiently limber, can result in a range of ergonomic complaints called "meditator's knee". Many meditative traditions do not require sitting cross legged.

Health applications and clinical studies of meditation



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Scenes of Inner Taksang, temple hall, built just above the cave where Padmasambhava meditated


In their review of scientific studies of meditation, published in the International Journal of Psychotherapy, Perez-De-Albeniz and Holmes[6] identified the following behavioral components of meditation:
  1. relaxation,
  2. concentration,
  3. altered state of awareness,
  4. suspension of logical thought processes, and
  5. maintenance of self-observing attitude.


The medical community has studied the physiological effects of meditation[28][29][30][31] Many concepts of meditation have been applied to clinical settings in order to measure its effect on somatic motor function as well as cardiovascular and respiratory function. Also the hermeneutic and phenomenological aspects of meditation are areas of growing interest. Meditation has entered the mainstream of health care as a method of stress and pain reduction. For example, in an early study in 1972, Transcendental Meditation was shown to affect the human metabolism by lowering the biochemical byproducts of stress, such as lactate, decreasing heart rate and blood pressure and inducing favorable brain waves.[32] In 1976, the Australian psychiatrist Ainslie Meares, reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, the regression of cancer following intensive meditation. Meares wrote a number of books on the subject, including his best-seller Relief without Drugs.''

As a method of stress reduction, meditation is often used in hospitals in cases of chronic or terminal illness to reduce complications associated with increased stress including a depressed immune system. There is growing agreement in the medical community that mental factors such as stress significantly contribute to a lack of physical health, and there is a growing movement in mainstream science to fund research in this area (e.g. the establishment by the NIH in the U.S. of 5 research centers to research the mind-body aspects of disease.)

Dr. James Austin, a neurophysiologist at the University of Colorado, reported that Zen meditation rewires the circuitry of the brain in his landmark book Zen and the Brain (Austin, 1999). This has been confirmed using functional MRI imaging which examines the activity of the brain.[33]

Dr. Herbert Benson of the Mind-Body Medical Institute, which is affiliated with Harvard and several Boston hospitals, reports that meditation induces a host of biochemical and physical changes in the body collectively referred to as the "relaxation response."[30] The relaxation response includes changes in metabolism, heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and brain chemistry. Benson and his team have also done clinical studies at Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan Mountains.

Other studies within this field include the research of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts who have studied the effects of mindfulness meditation on stress.[34][35]

See also

Notes

1. ^ Spiritual Dictionary. Retrieved on:August 21, 2007
2. ^ The Bhagavad-Gita and Jivana Yoga By Ramnarayan Vyas
3. ^ Hatha Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice By Mikel Burley
4. ^ Zen Buddhism: A History (India and China) By Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter
5. ^ Tart, C. "Adapting Eastern spiritual teachings to Western culture". The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 22: pp. 149-166. 
6. ^ Maison, A.; Herbert, J.R.; Werheimer, M.d.; & Kabat-Zinn, J. (1995). "Meditation, melatonin and breast/prostate cancer: hypothesis and preliminary data,". Medical Hypotheses 44 (1): 39-46. 
7. ^ Spiritual Competency Resource Center. Lesson 1: History of Meditation as a Clinical Intervention. Retrieved on 2007-09-02.
8. ^ Vipassana Fellowship. Lesson 1: Chapter 14: Mindfulness Versus Concentration. Retrieved on 2007-09-02.
9. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá [1912] (1995). Paris Talks. Bahá'í Distribution Service, p. 175. ISBN 1870989570. 
10. ^ Sogyal, Rinpoche (1994) The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey eds. New York: Harper Collins.
11. ^ Ground, Path, and Fruition: Mind-Nature Teachings Concerning the View, Meditation, and Action of Dzogpa Chenpo, the Innate Great Perfection. Compiled by Surya Das with Nyoshul Khenpo. Retrieved on; August 25, 2007.
12. ^ For instance, from the Pali Canon, see MN 44 (Thanissaro, 1998a) and AN 3:88 (Thanissaro, 1998b). In Mahayana tradition, the Lotus Sutra lists the Six Perfections (paramita) which echoes the threefold training with the inclusion of virtue (śīla), concentration (dhyāna) and wisdom (prajñā).
13. ^ Dharmacarini Manishini, Western Buddhist Review. Accessed at [1]
14. ^ Dwivedi, Kedar Nath. Review:Freedom from Self, Sufism, Meditation and Psychotherapy. Group Analysis, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 434-436, December 1989
15. ^ Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam. Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 8, 15. 
16. ^ Nigosian, S. A. (2004). Islam. Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 111. 
17. ^ Preksha Meditation preksha.com. Retrieved on: August 25, 2007.
18. ^ J. Zaveri What is Preksha?. .jzaveri.com. Retrieved on: August 25, 2007.
19. ^ Jain Vishwa Bharati Preksha Meditation—Overview. jvbhouston.org. Retrieved on: August 25, 2007.
20. ^ Shapiro, R. A Brief Introduction to Jewish Meditation. tripod.com. Retrieved on: August 25, 2007.
21. ^ Krishnamurti Foundation Trust. Meditation. From Chapter 15 of Freedom from the Known, J. Krishnamurti (1969) Harper and Row. ISBN 0-06-064808-2. Retrieved on: August 26, 2007.
22. ^ Samara, Tony. Simple Meditations. Retrieved on 2007-05-16.
23. ^ The Last Testament, Vol. 3, Chapter 19
24. ^ The Healing History of EEG Biofeedback Eagle Life Communications Accessed March 2007 .
25. ^ Atwater, F. Holmes (1997). Inducing States of Consciousness with a Binaural Beat Technology. Research papers[2]. The Monroe Institute [3]. Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
26. ^ Noton, David (1997). PMS, EEG, AND PHOTIC STIMULATION. Retrieved on 2006-08-14.
27. ^ Perez-De-Albeniz, Alberto; Jeremy Holmes (Mar 2000). "Meditation: concepts, effects and uses in therapy". International Journal of Psychotherapy 5 (1): 49-59. Retrieved on 2007-08-23. 
28. ^ Venkatesh S, Raju TR, Shivani Y, Tompkins G, Meti BL. (1997) A study of structure of phenomenology of consciousness in meditative and non-meditative states. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997 Apr;41(2): 149–53. PubMed Abstract PMID 9142560
29. ^ Peng CK, Mietus JE, Liu Y, Khalsa G, Douglas PS, Benson H, Goldberger AL. (1999) Exaggerated heart rate oscillations during two meditation techniques. Int J Cardiol. 1999 Jul 31;70(2):101–7. PubMed Abstract PMID 10454297
30. ^ Lazar, S.W.; Bush, G.; Gollub, R. L.; Fricchione, G. L.; Khalsa, G.; Benson, H. Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation" NeuroReport: Volume 11(7) 15 May 2000 pp. 1581–1585 PubMed abstract PMID 10841380
31. ^ Carlson LE, Ursuliak Z, Goodey E, Angen M, Speca M. (2001)
The effects of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients: 6-month follow-up. Support Care Cancer. 2001 Mar;9(2):112-23.PubMed abstract PMID 11305069
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34. ^ Kabat-Zinn, Jon; Lipworth L, Burney R. (1985). "The clinical use of mindfulness meditation for the self-regulation of chronic pain". Journal of Behavioral Medicine 8 (2): 163-190. PMID 3897551. 
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References

  • American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Austin, James H. (1999) Zen and the Brain: Toward an Understanding of Meditation and Consciousness, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999, ISBN 0-262-51109-6
  • Azeemi, Khawaja Shamsuddin Azeemi (2005) Muraqaba: The Art and Science of Sufi Meditation. Houston: Plato, 2005, ISBN 0-9758875-4-8
  • Bennett-Goleman, T. (2001) Emotional Alchemy: How the Mind Can Heal the Heart, Harmony Books, ISBN 0-609-60752-9
  • Benson, Herbert and Miriam Z. Klipper. (2000 [1972]). The Relaxation Response. Expanded Updated edition. Harper. ISBN 0380815958
  • Craven JL. (1989) Meditation and psychotherapy. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Oct;34(7):648-53. PubMed abstract PMID 2680046
  • Hayes SC, Strosahl KD, Wilson KG. (1999) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Kutz I, Borysenko JZ, Benson H. (1985) Meditation and psychotherapy: a rationale for the integration of dynamic psychotherapy, the relaxation response, and mindfulness meditation. American Journal of Psychiatry, Jan;142(1):1-8. PubMed abstract PMID 3881049
  • Lazar, Sara W. (2005) "Mindfulness Research." In: Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. Germer C, Siegel RD, Fulton P (eds.) New York: Guildford Press.
  • Lukoff, David; Lu Francis G. & Turner, Robert P. (1998) From Spiritual Emergency to Spiritual Problem: The Transpersonal Roots of the New DSM-IV Category. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 38(2), 21-50
  • Lutz, Antoine; Richard J. Davidson; et al (2004). "Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101 (November 16). doi:10.1073/pnas.0407401101. 
  • Metzner R. (2005) Psychedelic, Psychoactive and Addictive Drugs and States of Consciousness. In Mind-Altering Drugs: The Science of Subjective Experience, Chap. 2. Mitch Earlywine, ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • MirAhmadi, As Sayed Nurjan Healing Power of Sufi Meditation The Healing Power of Sufi Meditation Paperback: 180 pages Publisher: Islamic Supreme Council of America (June 30, 2005) Language: English
  • Perez-De-Albeniz, Alberto & Holmes, Jeremy (2000) Meditation: Concepts, Effects And Uses In Therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy, March 2000, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p49, 10p
  • Shalif, I. et al. (1985) Focusing on the Emotions of Daily Life (Tel-Aviv: Etext Archives, 1990)
  • Shapiro DH Jr. (1992) Adverse effects of meditation: a preliminary investigation of long-term meditators. Int. Journal of Psychosom. 39(1-4):62-7. PubMed abstract PMID 1428622
  • Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, ISBN 0-06-250834-2
  • Tart, Charles T., editor. Altered States of Consciousness (1969) ISBN 0-471-84560-4
  • Trungpa, C. (1973) Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Shambhala South Asia Editions, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Trungpa, C. (1984) Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Shambhala Dragon Editions, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Erhard Vogel. (2001) Journey Into Your Center, Nataraja Publications, ISBN 1-892484-05-6
  • Wenner, Melinda. "Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works." LiveScience.com. 30 June 2007. http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20070630/sc_livescience/brainscansrevealwhymeditationworks

Further reading

  • Krishnamurti, Jiddu This Light in Oneself: True Meditation, 1999, Shambala Publications: ISBN 1-57062-442-9
  • Long, Barry Meditation: A Foundation Course - A Book of Ten Lessons ISBN 1-899-32400-3
  • Eknath Easwaran Meditation ISBN 0-915132-66-4
  • David A. Cooper The art of meditation:A Complete Guide ISBN 81-7992-164-6
Meditation may refer to:
  • Meditation is the practice of quieting stresses to the mind by use of sitting and breathing techniques.
  • For meditation as practiced in Buddhism, see Buddhist meditation
  • For the writings by Marcus Aurelius, see Meditations.

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    Mind-body interventions is the precise name of a U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) classification that covers a variety of techniques designed to enhance the mind's capacity to affect bodily function and symptoms.
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      The term autosuggestion is used for positive or negative physical symptoms explained by the thoughts and beliefs of a person. For example, some will experience more pain when they think it will hurt.
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        Autogenic training is a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Schultz and first published in 1932. The technique involves the daily practice of sessions that last around 15 minutes, usually in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening.
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          Biodanza is a system of affective integration, organic renovation and a re-education in original life functions, based on vivencias (intense experiences in the here and now) created through movement, dance, and encounter situations within a group.
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            Eutony is a mind-body discipline created by Gerda Alexander based upon the experience of one's own body. It develops the ability to be aware and able to regulate muscular tone, adapting it to any life situation.
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              The Feldenkrais Method is an educational system focused on providing functional awareness and expanded use of the self. The method uses movement and awareness as the primary vehicle for improving self use through understanding and the resulting empowerment.
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                Hypnotherapy is therapy that is undertaken with a subject in hypnosis.

                The word "hypnosis" is an abbreviation of James Braid's (1843) term "neuro-hypnotism", meaning "sleep of the nervous system".
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                  The Metamorphic Technique is a gentle form of foot, hand and head massage that can be carried out by anyone with a brief training in the technique. It draws on reflexology in its theory and approach.
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                  Rebirthing may refer to:
                  • Rebirthing-Breathwork, a form of alternative medicine mainly consisting of a breathing technique
                  • Rebirthing (attachment therapy), where a child is laid upon to produce a cathartic response

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                    Somatic psychology, also referred to as body psychotherapy, is an interdisciplinary field involving the study of therapeutic and holistic approaches to the body, somatic experience, and the embodied self.
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                      Sophrology was created by Dr. Alfonso Caycedo in the 1960s.

                      It is a branch of neurological medicine that studies the human consciousness and its positive modifications through practice of specific methodology, inspired in great far eastern yogic sources.
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                        In a support group, members provide each other with various types of nonprofessional, nonmaterial help for a particular shared burdensome characteristic. The help may take the form of providing relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to others'
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                          The Trager Approach is a mind-body approach to movement education. It is a system of gentle, rhythmic movement and touch aimed at facilitating deep relaxation, increased physical mobility, and promoting the body's optimal performance.
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                          Mind-body interventions - [ edit]
                          • Autosuggestion
                          • Autogenic training
                          • Biodanza
                          • Eutony
                          • Feldenkrais method
                          • Hypnotherapy
                          • Journaling
                          • Meditation
                          • Metamorphic Technique
                          • Rebirthing
                          • Somatic Psychology
                          • Sophrology
                          • Support groups

                          ..... Click the link for more information.
                          NCCAM classifications [1]
                          1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
                          See also
                          Complementary and alternative medicine
                          Complementary medicine
                          Alternative medicine



                          ..... Click the link for more information.
                          Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Examples include listening carefully to what someone is saying while ignoring other conversations in the room (the cocktail party effect) or listening to a
                          ..... Click the link for more information.
                          Thought or thinking is a mental process which allows beings to model the world, and so to deal with it effectively according to their goals, plans, ends and desires.
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                          awareness comprises a human's or an animal's perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event. Awareness does not necessarily imply understanding, just an ability to be conscious of, feel or perceive.

                          Concept

                          Awareness is a relative concept.
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                          Eastern religion is a group of religions originating in India, China, Japan and Southeast Asia. This includes the Tao and Dharmic faiths, as well as animistic indigenous religions.
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                          Quiescence (kwē-ĕs-ənts) a Latin derived English language noun referring to a state of being quiet, still, at rest, dormant, inactive; as an adjective, "a quiescent mind.
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                          Latin}}} 
                          Official status
                          Official language of: Vatican City
                          Used for official purposes, but not spoken in everyday speech
                          Regulated by: Opus Fundatum Latinitas
                          Roman Catholic Church
                          Language codes
                          ISO 639-1: la
                          ISO 639-2: lat
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                          Contemplation comes from the latin root templum (from Greek temnein: to cut or divide), and means to separate something from its environment, and to enclose it in a sector. Contemplation is the Latin translation of Greek 'theory' (theoria).
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                          Western world, the West or the Occident (Latin occidens -sunset, -west, as distinct from the Orient) [1] can have multiple meanings dependent on its context (e.g., the time period, or the social situation).
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                          Vipassanā (Pāli) or vipaśyanā (विपश्यना) in (Sanskrit) means "insight" and is often referred to by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike as simply "insight meditation".
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                          This page contains Chinese text.
                          Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
                          Qigong or chi kung
                          ..... Click the link for more information.
                          Yoga (Sanskrit: योग Yoga, IPA: [joːgə]) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India.
                          ..... Click the link for more information.
                          Tantra (Sanskrit: तन्त्र "weave" denoting continuity[1]), tantricism or tantrism is any of several esoteric traditions rooted in the religions of India. It exists in Hindu, Bönpo, Buddhist, and Jain forms.
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                          in Yoga

                          ..... Click the link for more information.
                          Yoga (Sanskrit: योग Yoga, IPA: [joːgə]) is a group of ancient spiritual practices originating in India.
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