Article by Sam Stieler
The word meditation has taken on a lot of connotations. For many people, sports, exercise, dancing or other strenuous physical activities are a type of “moving meditation.” For others, when they’re really into the work they are doing they describe it as being like meditating. Others still describe mundane things like driving and walking as meditative. What all these activities have in common is the fact that they all involve entering almost a trance like state, where everything else melts away and you enter a state where you aren’t thinking, you’re just doing. A state that’s been aptly called a “no mind” state.
Of course, there is always that most traditional and stubborn image of meditation- a yogi alone, mostly naked with a long beard and head of hair, sitting in the forest or on top of a mountain, twisted into a strange position emitting even stranger chants. Or perhaps even more commonly- when we think of meditation we just think of someone sitting on the floor, doing nothing. And for some reason, sitting on the ground doing nothing doesn’t exactly sound like the most active way to relieve mental tension.
Looks can be deceiving though, and calm meditation is still a great method for centering yourself and relieving mental distress. After all, if all those previously mentioned activities are akin to meditating, than you know firsthand how effective the flowing state can be.
Meditation has been around for a very long time, for millennia in fact, and traces its origins in the Far East. Religious and philosophical practitioners have been using meditation effectively to find inner balance, enlightenment, contentment, and at-oneness with the whole universe.
Meditation has taken a long time to get over to the Western world. We see some of the first indications of acceptance in the 1800’s, when naturalist and transcendentalist writers began reading the great eastern texts and attempted to incorporate the beliefs and understandings into their own lives and works. Eas tern tho ught was taken up by numerous mystical and secret societies in Europe and America, giving it a somewhat unsavory reputation. It first really showed up in popular culture in the 60’s with the Maharishi, and even then it was still seen as aligned with some fringe and radical groups. However, over the past few decades it has carved out a certain level of acceptance, where now its detractors simply feel that it is silly and not outright dangerous as it was once considered.
Meditation’s case has been helped by the fact that a number of prominent business and entertainment leaders (such as Russell Simons and Clint Eastwood) openly meditate, and also by the fact that more and more clinical research is being performed on meditation, most of which just serves to prove its efficacy. In the future, we can anticipate that meditation will gain greater and greater acceptance in Western Culture as a powerful method to reduce stress and achieve peace.
About the Author
Sam has been writing articles for over 4 years. Come visit his latest website over at http://gliderrockingchairs.org/ which helps people find the glider rocking chairs information they need.