One of the most fascinating things about meditation is its level of antiquity, extending back through time to prehistoric history. It’s been speculated that, at that time, rhythmic chanting was used to induce a state of meditation that resembled hypnosis in nature. We know this from myths and legends that have been transferred by word-or-mouth traditions, in several different cultures and in several different nations. However, in more recent times, meditation has been clarified within highly organized philosophical systems.
For our purposes, we can first take a look at an encyclopedia. These days, looking up encyclopaedic background information has become far easier with the advent of the Internet. This can save us the time, trouble and potential expense that comes with needing to make a trip to the library or having our own encyclopedia set. When we look up meditation in this manner, we discover that the word “Meditation” has been translated from Latin and refers to a “mental action”. This action functions to bring our human psyche to a level of deep and in-depth concentration. This level of focus is then accompanied by relaxation of the body, a calm emotionless countenance and a noted detachment from material objects. There are many different varieties of meditation.
Meditation plays a predominant role in Eastern philosophy – Indian philosophy in particular. This extends to religion and the practice of yoga. Within the many varieties of yoga, the ultimate goal is reaching a specified mental state. This state is the result of the techniques that are involved in meditation and can range from simple breathing practices to far more complex physical exercises coupled with specific forms of concentration.
We know that Meditation existed in ancient Greece as well as in other religions and philosophies. For example, meditation is an integral part of Pythagoreanism, which is a system of metaphysical and esoteric beliefs that were originally held by the mathematician Pythagoras (c. 570 BC – c. 495 BC). Additionally, meditation is also a part of the mysticism of Sufism, Platonism and even Christianity (both Protestant and Catholicism). Names for this practice include; “Chan” (Chinese), “Zen” (Japanese) and “Dhyana” (Indian). From these designations, we have Chan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism.
Due to the levels of mental concentration, along with physical discipline, it isn’t surprising that we find meditation infused within most styles of martial arts. All throughout Eastern culture, meditation is expressed as a spirit of contemplation and can be the inspiration for art (which can also be considered a form of meditation).
Humans possess different latent abilities that can be developed through the practice of meditation. These abilities include; extrasensory perception (ESP), psychic healing, telepathy, clairvoyance and the development of higher levels of creativity.
In Europe, we have a history of many well-known individuals who possessed special abilities and finely honed talents. We know them as Sorcerers, Magicians, Oracles, prophets and even ground-breaking scientists. We find these individuals in many different walks of life that range from emperors and religious leaders to philosophers and commoners. The common factor with these talented people involves the development of their ability to focus their internal attention in order to manage and positively manipulate their own consciousness. This is the essence of meditation.
To truly understand meditation, we have to experience concentration and contemplation that is initially achieved by special practices the will clear the mind of the random thoughts (internal dialog) that we experience on a constant basis. At this point, we have the ability to will our focus in the directions that we specify. This opens up a pathway to enlightenment, through which we can obtain a vast wealth of knowledge from the direction and objects that we focus on. It has been shown that pathways to alternate worlds and dimensions may even be discovered. This is considered an expansion of consciousness. However, this expansion can be focused inwards, towards the subconscious mind. There, we find the unlimited potential that exists within the worlds that we can inhabit – without the limitations of our conscious mind.