Meditation: Training the Mind

Meditation: Training the Mind

As compiled by Etopaul Ayodele. Meditation is a way of training the mind and a way of relaxing the nerves. This is a practical application of medications, but this is much more calming. The individual uses a technique to focus their awareness and achieve an emotionally calm and stable mental state. According to Wikipedia, the

As compiled by Etopaul Ayodele.

Meditation is a way of training the
mind and a way of relaxing the nerves. This is a practical application of medications, but this is much more calming. The individual uses a technique to focus their awareness and achieve an emotionally calm and stable mental state.
According to Wikipedia, the practice of meditation is of prehistoric origins and is found throughout history, especially in religious contexts. Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana), come from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism around 1500 BCE. The Vedas discuss the meditative traditions of ancient India. Around the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India. Dhyana in early Buddhism also takes influence on Vedanta by ca. the 4th century BCE.
The exact origins of Buddhist meditation are subject to debate among scholars. Early written records of the multiple levels and states of meditation in Buddhism in India are found in the sutras of the Pāli Canon, which dates to 1st century BCE. The Pali Canon records the basic fourfold formula of salvation via the observance of the rules of morality, contemplative concentration, knowledge and liberation, thus placing meditation as a step along the path of salvation. By the time Buddhism was spreading in China, the Vimalakirti Sutra which dates to 100CE included a number of passages on meditation and enlightened wisdom, clearly pointing to Zen.
In the west, 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, which however did not attract a following among Christian meditators. Saint Augustine experimented with the methods of Plotinus and failed to achieve ecstasy.
The Silk Road transmission of Buddhism introduced meditation to other oriental countries. Bodhidharma is traditionally considered the transmitter of the concept of Zen to China. However, the first “original school” in East Asia was founded by his contemporary Zhiyi in the 6th century in central China. Zhiyi managed to systematically organize the various teachings that had been imported from India in a way that their relationship with each other made sense. Wonhyo and Uisang promoted Korean Buddhism in the 7th century.
There is evidence that Judaism has inherited meditative practices from its predecessor traditions in Israelite antiquity. For instance, in the Torah, the patriarch Isaac is described as going “lasuach” in the field – a term understood by most commentators as some type of meditative practice (Genesis 24:63). There are indications throughout the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) that Judaism always contained a central meditative tradition.
By the 18th century, the study of Buddhism in the West was a topic for intellectuals. The philosopher Schopenhauer discussed it, and Voltaire asked for toleration towards Buddhists. The first English translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead was published in 1927.
New schools of yoga developed in Hindu revivalism from the 1890s. Some of these schools were introduced to the west, by Vivekananda and later gurus. Other schools were designed as secularized variants of yoga traditions for use by non-Hindus, e.g. the system of Transcendental Meditation popular in the 1960s, and numerous forms of Hatha Yoga derived from the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga school, which became known simply as “((Yoga” in western terminology.
Rather than focusing on spiritual growth, secular meditation emphasizes stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement. Both spiritual and secular forms of meditation have been subjects of scientific analyses and research. However, after 60 years of scientific study, the exact mechanism at work in meditation remains unclear.
The ‘Jubu’ (Jewish Buddhist) group are a very articulate current influence on meditation thinking in the West.
That being said, meditation has a lot of advantages to the health with no side effects unlike modern medicine. It should be a practice that is encouraged especially in our country where stress is abundant. We need to create time to meditate so our thought process will be smoother, and our work efficiency doubled because our mind is clearer. Our thought process is free from hinderance and ideas can easily flow.
If possible, we could register and attend yoga classes if we want both our minds and bodies to be more flexible. Getting in touch with our inner man and achieving Zen is very beneficial for those who are confused about their life problems. The uses of meditation are limitless in both secular and spiritual means, so it doesn’t go against any of our morals. This means it can be practiced by anybody.
You could also try simple breathing exercises and you’d be amazed at the result.

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