Meditation, or the effort to be aware of one's attention and to calm and/or focus the mind in a specific and chosen way, usually combined with stilling the body or by measured and deliberate movement, and letting go of emotional turmoil, has been practiced since antiquity as a way of attaining spiritual insight and beneficial states of consciousness.
Most spiritual traditions, including all the major world religions, include some form of meditation and many regard it as a central and fundamental tool for spiritual development and understanding.
Recent scientific research on the effects of meditation has indicated that it can have significant benefits for health, focus, and has notable long-term effects on a practioner's brain.
Basic Meditation Techniques Different traditions use different terminology and techniques for developing a meditative state. Most share a deliberate focus of attention on one or more of the following areas:
- Sense awareness such as the experience of breathing or attention to sounds
- Focusing on a particular word formulation or mantra
- Emotional or emanative states (such as empathy for other beings)
Many forms of meditation emphasize keeping the body still for an extended amount of time, generally seated in a relaxed upright position with eyes closed or unmoving.