Try something new... Meditation
This month, I’m going to convince you all to try meditation. It’s the perfect way to relax and unwind. The practice of meditation has been around for 5,000 years and with 200-500 million people meditating around the world, they surely must be onto something, right?
If you look back through history, anybody wanting to practice meditation would have to travel to the Far East or South Asia and seek out a teacher in the hope they would pass on their teachings. That’s quite a distance and cost! Luckily the world and technology has progressed a lot. Let’s take a look at that progress with a meditation history timeline:
1500 BCE - Earliest documented records of meditation.
600-500 BCE - Meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.
653 CE - The first meditation hall opened in Japan and Japanese Buddhism began to evolve.
15th-17th Century – European exploration of the world takes place.
18th Century – Western scholars began to discover translations of the ancient teaching of meditation.
19th Century – Awareness of meditation grew in the Western world aided by the improvement of transport and communication across the countries.
1920’s – The novel, Siddhartha and The Tibetan Book of the Dead was published, attracting Westerners to the idea of Buddhism and Meditation.
1950’s – The Post War years saw The Vipassana movement in Burma, also known as the Insight Meditation movement, calming and clearing the mind for insight.
1960’s – The Beatles famously travelled to India in 68’ to take part in Transcendental Meditation training. Hatha Yoga and Transcendental Meditation gained popularity in America and Europe.
1970’s – The Beach Boys penned lyrics to their music and released songs about their experiences of Transcendental Meditation.
1980’s - The Insight Meditation Movement took off in America.
1990’s - Deepak Chopra, founded the Chopra Centre for wellbeing with David Simon.
In 2003 Deepak Chopra published The Spontaneous Fulfilment of Desire. The book claims; “Through specific principles and exercises (meditation), at a time when world events may leave us feeling especially insignificant and vulnerable, Deepak Chopra restores our awareness of the awesome powers within us.”
With the rise and popularity of the internet, mediation was becoming more and more accessible. The creation of YouTube in 2005 helped to catapult meditation into the mainstream. Five years later, Headspace released the first meditation App for phones. It has since been downloaded 11 million times and there are now 2,500 alternative meditation Apps available. So you really can meditate anywhere; your car, garden, bedroom, at the kitchen table or even whilst walking. And you can meditate for as long or as short as you want.
I enjoy my morning, five minute deep breathing and guided meditation. I make sure I’m the first one up, grab my phone, select the meditation I want and close my eyes. After five minutes, I have a clear head and I’m ready to start the day.
Meditation has proven health benefits too, if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, lost, and anxious, stressed or just need some time to yourself, try mediation. It’s a practice that has been around for thousands of years, well and truly tried and tested. Even The Beatles tried it! When we have physical symptoms of illness we take a tablet or medicine. You have the medicine available to you right now, whilst you are sitting in your chair reading this. Why not give it a try, relax and refocus.