A History of Meditative Practice
Meditation is a deeply moving and revitalizing journey into self-discovery. It has the power to transform our entire way of being, more especially our mindsets in correlation to our physical selves.
In consistent practice, meditation can awaken your inner self, making you more conscious of your daily activities. Ultimately, it takes you off of auto-pilot and redirects your focus back towards living presently and purposefully.
Everything in life requires balance – home and work, business, and pleasure. If we sway too far to either side of the spectrum, it can have detrimental effects on our physical and mental well-being.
This book will walk you through how you can incorporate meditative practices into your own life to reap the abundant rewards that it has to offer. If you’ve been feeling burnt out, overworked, and out of balance, meditation is a sure-fire way to set you back on a path to your spirit centre. For you to master your mind, you need to master your body. Everything from your posture to your facial expressions and your breathing has an impact on how you go about your day, as well as on how you navigate stressful situations. Meditation gives you the capability to address these stressors in physical form so that you can control how they impact your mental state – and vice versa.
It’s no wonder why several cultures worldwide swear by meditation as part of a healthy and balanced daily regimen. It is one of the oldest methods for creating a harmonious union between mind and body. Originating in the East, the earliest recordings of meditative practices come from ancient China and ancient India. In China, it was often referred to as protecting one’s centre or tranquil space. In India, on the other hand, the practice of meditation was referred to as a form of mental training. Nevertheless, both regions show strong historical evidence of consistent meditative practice in daily life.
The Origins of Meditation
While there is strong evidence to indicate that the earliest meditation practices stem from India, it is rather difficult to say where the ideology came from. What is important to note is that the meditative practices we know today have roots in several cultures from around the world – the most predominant of Eastern influence.
Taking great precedence in the Vedic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist ideologies around the fourth century, these practices became an integral part of daily life – much like eating or sleeping. From this point in history, it became apparent that focusing on the mind-body connection was vital to sustaining a healthy, lengthy, and fulfilling life.
The Evolution of Meditation
Meditation has since gone in several directions. There are more physically still forms of meditation, such as prayerful meditation, just as there are more physically active forms of meditation, such as yogic practices. There are a plethora of meditative practices out there today, all stemming from different cultural origins, but quite possibly the most important of them all are the following:
✔ Mindfulness Meditation;
✔ Transcendental Meditation;
✔ Loving-Kindness Meditation;
✔ Movement Meditation;
✔ Progressive Relaxation Meditation;
✔ Spiritual Meditation;
✔ Visualization Meditation;
✔ Focused Meditation; and,
✔ Mantra meditation.
Each of these has its merits, and as such, we’ll be exploring them in broader detail throughout this book. In all its forms, meditation provides us with an avenue to do the mental and spiritual work necessary to tap into our inner selves.
Modern Forefathers of Meditation
Paramahansa Yogananda is arguably the premier forefather of meditation in yogic practices, bringing his yogic meditative practices to the West in the 1920s. His writings on the practice would inspire several well-known figures to take up yoga as a form of meditation. However, the honour of the most prominent figure in the modern meditative world has to go to Jon Kabat-Zinn. His mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques have become so critically acclaimed that they are now widely used in several medical institutions as part of either their healing or rehabilitative programs.
Meditation has come a long way since its earliest known recordings. Still, one thing is for certain – we can incorporate this life-changing practice into our daily lives to achieve mental and physical balance. A balanced individual is undoubtedly a happy individual, and as such, we have put together your very own Mindfulness & Meditation Hacks: A Guide to Consistent Happiness! Without further hesitation, let’s dive right in.