What is Meditation?

Meditation Meditation

A basic definition of Meditation is a method of quieting the mind, and opening the practitioner to better connect with divinity. It is practiced as a form of mind body medicine.

Historical Background

Meditation practices have been around for thousands of years across many cultures. Transcendental meditation, the form of meditation that uses a repeated mantra, gained a great deal of popularity in the 60's when the various members of the Beatles learned it, thus bringing immense publicity to meditation. One of the other reason's for the popularity of this form of meditation is due to the ease with which it may be learned and practiced. Many Buddhist traditions tend to focus on the breath as a way to meditate. In addition, there are practices such as Qigong, Tai Chi, and Yoga, which are considered moving meditations or sometimes called biologoical meditations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why would you use Meditation?

Meditation is used to help quiet, center, and ground our minds and ourselves.

2. What are the benefits of Meditation?

The benefit of meditation is that often our minds are running rampant on hundreds of small details. Meditation helps to quiet and focus the mind. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institute of health:

While scientists are studying whether meditation may afford meaningful health benefits, they are also looking at how it may do so. One way some types of meditation might work is by reducing activity in the sympathetic nervous system and increasing activity in the parasympathetic nervous system. Scientific research is using sophisticated tools to learn more about what goes on in the brain and the rest of the body during meditation, and diseases or conditions for which meditation might be useful. There is still much to learn in these areas. One avenue of research is looking at whether meditation is associated with significant changes in brain function. A number of researchers believe that these changes account for many of meditation's effects.

In addition, there are measurable physical benefits such as lowered blood pressure, decreased risk of heart attack, less chance of depression, and greater feelings of satisfaction with life.

3. What should you consider regarding Meditation?

What should be considered is that there are a wide variety of ways to meditate, if one method does not work, the person should not give up on meditation, but rather look for other methods.  If working with a meditation instructor, be sure to ask about their training background and experience.  Remember that complementary and alternative healing and wellness practices are not a substitute for appropriate medical care.


1. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) 

2. Robinson, Jonthan. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Awakening Your Spirituality. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2000.

3. Sharon, Janis. Spirituality for Dummies. New York: Hungry Minds, 2000.