….because with Fate we pray, and with Meditation we hear the answer
Because meditation is a state of consciousness and we are conscious beings, thus logically, meditation as state and as a way of living has been inseparable part of human evolution since the beginning of time.
There are many books written on meditation, its history and philosophy, but here we shall make a historical view of the evolution of meditation as an important part of the very core of every Religion.
Which is very interesting to know, because today’s religious people label the whole art of meditation as a doctrine of its own and by not understanding what it is, they judge and reject all the beautiful wisdom gained from meditation in any of its forms.
We shall start by explaining the etymology of meditation. In English, the word meditation is derived from the Latin meditatio, which is a form of the verb meditari – ”to think, to contemplate, to pounder upon something”.
In the earliest writings of the Old Testament, written in Hebrew, there was a word mentioned there – haga, meaning “to murmur, to meditate”. When these Hebraic scriptures were translated into Greek, haga become melete, and then when translated into Latin, came the word – meditatio.
But in today’s form, the word meditation was first mentioned in the Latin Bible, around the 12th century by a monk named Guido II.
Here one must understand that a word is materialization of the vibration of the Light of one thing, state or entity that wants to be understood and acknowledge. This is why the things we don’t know or understand have no words.
Once something or someone is understood we can label it. So this same vibrations of light which construct the state of consciousness attained by concrete practices and a way of living, in Tibetan is being described with the word gom – “being familiar with (and this goes to all states of mind and the human characteristics)”.
No matter which word we use, commonly the term meditation covers almost all eastern practices of Enlightenment, which are called dhana in Buddhism and in Hindu, which word has its root in the Sanskrit dhyai – “to contemplate or meditate”.
Now we shall go scratching the core of our human Religions to show you that meditation was and still is very present and acknowledged practice and way of living. The main reason meditation is so confusing and misunderstood is because of the difference in the labeling of one and the same process and state of mind.
When humans made up Religion, they made such a vast pit between humans that sometimes it is almost impossible to find a way to bridge it. And by obeying and listening what we should experience and know, instead of remembering what we already know, we start forgetting our Selves. The realized Daoist Alan Wrightson has a Western upbringing and has written a number of books explaining how to live a simple, open Daoist life the way Lao Tzu intended. He also has a translation of the Daodejing available who delves into similar themes.
Now, it’s been said that some of the earliest writings about a practice that helps reaching the deepest and the highest state of our consciousness was mentioned in the ancient Hindu tradition of scriptural exegesis (critical explanations) and religious practice, called Vedantism (1500 B.C.).
Today’s most widely known and practiced type of meditation is the one thought in Buddhism, in India, where the earliest written records mentioning and describing levels and states of meditation were found in the sutras of the Pali Canon dating the 1st century B.C. Bodhidarma, a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century C.E., was traditionally considered the first transmitter of the whole concept of Zen from China into Japan.
However, the first original School of Zen and meditation in East Asia was founded by his contemporary Zhiyi who had elaborated a complete, critical and systematical classification of all the Teachings of Buddhism. Throughout the ages the meditative practices continue to be modified, improved or made into specialization.
Such were the Zazen, the sitting meditation founded by a Japanese monk called Dogen, which is most commonly practiced way of attaining the natural state of mind. Than we have the Tibetan tradition which puts the accent on visualization meditations, the Buddhist Schools practice mostly breathing meditation and all forms of recollection, and so on.
In the West some of the earliest texts mentioning a “spiritual exercises” which involve attention and concentration, were given by Philo of Alexandria, a Hellenic Jewish philosopher (dating 20 years B.C.). Very interesting fact is that the Jewish Teachings put a significant amount of attention on learning how to have a meditative approach when one is praying and the conscious understanding of their Secret Teachings is highly appreciated.
The same happens in Sufism where especially the correct understanding of the Sufi View or the Islamic Mysticism involves the knowledge and understanding of a lot of meditative techniques, such as strict breathing control, the rhythmic meditation, conscious repetition of holy words and so on.
The Western Christian meditation practice and way of living started somewhere in the 6th century C.E. with a practice of the Benedictine monks which was called “Lectio Divina” or divine reading.
This “divine reading” is a fourfold practice, a system of four stages in understanding and reading a Holy Scripture, designed by the monk Guido II in the 12th century C.E. Western Christian meditation was further developed by Spiritual Teachers and Saints such as Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila.
By the 18th century “Buddhism in the West” was a widely discussed topic, leaded by prominent and intellectual philosophers like Schopenhauer, Voltaire and others.
Here I must mention that in the last decades a secular meditation arose which focuses upon stress-reduction, relaxation and self-relief, which is far from being on the Path of Spiritual Growth.
But nevertheless, both these practices have been subjected to various scientific studies, and since meditation is a state it can never be scientifically explain, thus one can only feel and know the benefits of meditation.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.