You'll need a pen and paper for this stream-of-consciousness practice. Always striving to be somewhere other than where you are right now? Give this a try. Susanna Barkataki and Rina Deshpande share their insights about commercializing the word Namaste. Poses by Anatomy. Poses by Level.
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Yoga FAQs. Benefits of Meditation. Guided Meditation. How to Meditate. Science of Meditation. Yoga Trends. Yoga for Athletes. Yoga Influencers. Yoga Teachers. The sensation of receiving divine inspiration awakens and liberates both heart and intellect , permitting such inner growth that the apparently mundane actually takes on the quality of the infinite. Muslim teachings embrace life as a test of one's submission to God.
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He also encouraged people to reflect on one's actions and worth at the end of each day. Movements which use magic, such as Wicca , Thelema , Neopaganism , and occultism , often require their adherents to meditate as a preliminary to the magical work. This is because magic is often thought to require a particular state of mind in order to make contact with spirits, or because one has to visualize one's goal or otherwise keep intent focused for a long period during the ritual in order to see the desired outcome.
Meditation practice in these religions usually revolves around visualization, absorbing energy from the universe or higher self, directing one's internal energy, and inducing various trance states. Meditation and magic practice often overlap in these religions as meditation is often seen as merely a stepping stone to supernatural power, and the meditation sessions may be peppered with various chants and spells.
New Age meditations are often influenced by Eastern philosophy, mysticism, yoga , Hinduism and Buddhism, yet may contain some degree of Western influence. In the West, meditation found its mainstream roots through the social revolution of the s and s , when many of the youth of the day rebelled against traditional religion as a reaction against what some perceived as the failure of Christianity to provide spiritual and ethical guidance.
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This is often aided by repetitive chanting of a mantra, or focusing on an object. The US National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that "Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.
Low-quality evidence indicates that meditation may help with irritable bowel syndrome ,  insomnia ,  cognitive decline in the elderly,  and post-traumatic stress disorder. A review of the literature on spirituality and performance in organizations found an increase in corporate meditation programs.
As of around a quarter of U. Aetna now offers its program to its customers. Google also implements mindfulness, offering more than a dozen meditation courses, with the most prominent one, "Search Inside Yourself", having been implemented since Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School conducted a series of clinical tests on meditators from various disciplines, including the Transcendental Meditation technique and Tibetan Buddhism.
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In , Benson published a book titled The Relaxation Response where he outlined his own version of meditation for relaxation. Biofeedback has been used by many researchers since the s in an effort to enter deeper states of mind.
The history of meditation is intimately bound up with the religious context within which it was practiced. In the Roman Empire , by 20 BCE Philo of Alexandria had written on some form of "spiritual exercises" involving attention prosoche and concentration  and by the 3rd century Plotinus had developed meditative techniques. The Islamic practice of Dhikr had involved the repetition of the 99 Names of God since the 8th or 9th century. Western Christian meditation contrasts with most other approaches in that it does not involve the repetition of any phrase or action and requires no specific posture.
Western Christian meditation progressed from the 6th century practice of Bible reading among Benedictine monks called Lectio Divina , i. Its four formal steps as a "ladder" were defined by the monk Guigo II in the 12th century with the Latin terms lectio , meditatio , oratio , and contemplatio i. Western Christian meditation was further developed by saints such as Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila in the 16th century.
Meditation has spread in the West since the late 19th century, accompanying increased travel and communication among cultures worldwide. Most prominent has been the transmission of Asian-derived practices to the West. In addition, interest in some Western-based meditative practices has been revived,  and these have been disseminated to a limited extent to Asian countries. Ideas about Eastern meditation had begun "seeping into American popular culture even before the American Revolution through the various sects of European occult Christianity",  : 3 and such ideas "came pouring in [to America] during the era of the transcendentalists, especially between the s and the s.
The World Parliament of Religions , held in Chicago in , was the landmark event that increased Western awareness of meditation. This was the first time that Western audiences on American soil received Asian spiritual teachings from Asians themselves. Thereafter, Swami Vivekananda More recently, in the s, another surge in Western interest in meditative practices began. The rise of communist political power in Asia led to many Asian spiritual teachers taking refuge in Western countries, oftentimes as refugees.
Rather than focusing on spiritual growth, secular meditation emphasizes stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement. Research on the processes and effects of meditation is a subfield of neurological research. Since the s, clinical psychology and psychiatry have developed meditation techniques for numerous psychological conditions.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of meditation on empathy , compassion , and prosocial behaviors found that meditation practices had small to medium effects on self-reported and observable outcomes, concluding that such practices can "improve positive prosocial emotions and behaviors". Meditation has been correlated with unpleasant experiences in some people.
Meditators with high levels of repetitive negative thinking and those who only engage in deconstructive meditation were more likely to report unpleasant side effects. Adverse effects were less frequently reported in women and religious meditators. The psychologist Thomas Joiner argues that modern mindfulness meditation has been "corrupted" for commercial gain by self-help celebrities, and suggests that it encourages unhealthy narcissistic and self-obsessed mindsets.
Many major traditions in which meditation is practiced, such as Buddhism  and Hinduism,  advise members not to consume intoxicants , while others, such as the Rastafarian movements and Native American Church, view drugs as integral to their religious lifestyle. The fifth of the five precepts of the Pancasila , the ethical code in the Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions, states that adherents must: "abstain from fermented and distilled beverages that cause heedlessness.
On the other hand, the ingestion of psychoactives has been a central feature in the rituals of many religions, in order to produce altered states of consciousness.
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In several traditional shamanistic ceremonies, drugs are used as agents of ritual. In the Rastafari movement , cannabis is believed to be a gift from Jah and a sacred herb to be used regularly, while alcohol is considered to debase man. Native Americans use peyote , as part of religious ceremony, continuing today. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the induction of specific modes or states of consciousness. For other uses, see Meditation disambiguation. Main article: Asana.
Main article: Hindu meditation. See also: Yoga.