From ArticleWorld

The practice of meditation can be found in a diverse range of religions, martial arts and although it is usually considered as part of a wider spiritual tradition, there are some who practice it nowadays simply for the physical benefits such as a deep state of relaxation. No one definition of what is meditation exists but most would agree that it involves a state of intense contemplation on a single point whether that be breathing, a mantra or a religious statue until the mind dissolves and is opened up to a higher power.

The practice is considered incomplete if it does not lead to a positive change in the practitioner’s life and most spiritual traditions require the practitioner to follow an ethical lifestyle.

Different forms

There are many different types of meditation meaning different things and practiced in diverse ways. Not all of them can be classified but the following list covers the more widely known.

  1. Hinduism, of which there are many different schools.
  2. Transcendental meditation which is based on a mantra given by a teacher.
  3. Sikhism involves contemplation on God’s name.
  4. Buddhist meditation entails two basic goals. One is to focus attention on a single point and the second to understand the true nature of reality.
  5. Taoism incorporates many different traditions.
  6. Judaism where a lot of prayer can be seen as meditation.
  7. Christianity. To give just two examples the Roman Catholic use of the rosary and the Quakers waiting patiently for the inner light before speaking out in a meeting.
  8. Islam which included recitation of divine names.

Physical postures

Again, the physical postures advocated by each form is different but the more characteristic are the crossing of the legs in the lotus position or in the Indian fashion, a straight spine and relaxed shoulders with the mouth slightly open and the tongue touching the roof of the mouth. Whether the eyes are open or shut depends on the philosophy one is following.

The surroundings should be quiet and most practices require a repetitive activity such as breathing, humming or chanting.