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Meditation helps heal the mind, balance the body, and restore the spirit – all wonderful pathways of finding peace in modern life. Meditation practice, however, goes back much further than recent history, beginning even before the Buddhist tradition.
Meditation: A quick glance through time:
While early texts are muddled, and archaeological finds sketchy at best, there is enough evidence to suggest that people practiced meditation at the earliest stages of civilization – going far back as hunter-gatherer tribes (5,000+ years ago).
Following the growth of civilization and development of written language, the epic poems and legends from the Indian subcontinent describe meditation as an important practice in the Hindu tradition – one of the world’s oldest organized religions.
The life of Buddha (formerly Prince Siddhartha), around 500 B.C., began another important chapter in the narrative of meditation as a spiritual practice. While Buddha didn’t create or start meditation, his teachings helped its spread across the Asian continent.
Over the next millennia meditation grew in significance as a spiritual practice in many cultures, although it remained confined largely to the Eastern world – spreading to the West only after thousands of years of incubation in Asia.
With the development of convenient intercontinental travel meditation practices slowly traversed into the Western hemisphere, and by the time of the 1960s and 1970s university professors and researchers truly began to study meditation practice and understand its origins and benefits beyond religion.
Today meditation is an accessible, engaging pursuit for many religious and secular people alike – however its significance in our lives can be much deeper than any quick study or shortcut found online (including this brief history!).
The roots of this sacred practice go much farther than recorded memory, and the benefits of real practice (with no aim of promoting ourselves, only finding knowledge within) can reconnect us to a history larger than any modern electronic substitute we may encounter.