Meditation is an ancient practice. Most authorities agree that the first evidence of meditation in recorded history lies in Indian spiritual texts written over 5,000 years ago, and researchers speculate that prehistoric hunter-gatherers may have discovered meditation while gazing at the flames of their fires. Today, meditation has come to Western society primarily through the spread of Buddhist and Hindu practice, although many Eastern regions have their own forms of meditative practice. In the 1970’s, Western researchers began to look at meditation from a clinical perspective, and today it is widely recognized as a component of modern medicine.
There are many, many approaches to meditation. The Internet is a great place to begin your research– a few basic keywords will yield endless guides, products, methods, and teachers. Some are based more on spirituality while others rely purely on physical sensation. Meditation is a wonderful way to regulate all of the body’s systems while providing a respite from the constant sensory input and stream of stressors and worries that so often form the backdrop of our daily consciousness.
Here, the Mayo Clinic gives a simple intro to meditation, with a list of uses and benefits:
The website for Transcendental Meditation, a very popular form:
Some free audio for Mindfulness Meditation from UCLA:
A great resource for Guided Imagery Meditation, with many free downloads:
An excellent introductory guide to Zazen Meditation, with pictures of the recommended body positioning, from Zen Mountain Monastery:
A basic guide to Walking Meditation: