- The traditional, in the European context, is to think or ponder over some issue.
- The other one, which is the most common way to understand the word of today, is the systematic pursuit of a mental technique that aims to reach the silence behind the mind and into a deeper state of calm or expanded consciousness.
Meditation exists as a spiritual practice in all the major world religions and has been practiced for over 5,000 years. Meditation is also practiced outside the religious traditions, especially today. Where religions have different myths and look very differently on many things, the thinking behind the spiritual practices is much closer to each other: That the universe arose from a primordial reason of being, which also is the human mind’s primordial reason and that meditation is a tool to access this primordial or being.
The different traditions agree to think that meditation can give us access to deeper layers of our own consciousness and that this has some beneficial effects, such as greater self-awareness , greater emotional freedom, a broader perspective and a clearer and more ethical way of thinking and act on, the methods can be even much different.
While some methods involve concentrated focus on the breath, in God, in the paradoxes of the chakras (energy centers in the body), in others you use it is to observe emotions, feelings or thoughts. In others again different forms of visualization, for example the energy in the body, or the light, or the memory of tranquility or to strive to promote a feeling of love for God.
With so many different approaches to meditation, one must also expect that different methods lead to different results.