Meditation Practices – To train the attention of mind & teach compassion
Meditation can be defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.
Table of Contents
- 1 - The origin of meditation
- 2 - The effect of meditation
- 3 - Books, teachings & practices
- 3.1 - Mandala
- 3.2 - Mantra
- 3.3 - Yoga
- 3.4 - Chakra
- 3.5 - Pranayama
- 3.6 - Third eye
- 3.7 - Inner peace
- 3.8 - Mindfulness
- 3.9 - Contemplation
- 3.10 - Trance
- 3.11 - Kundalini yoga
- 3.12 - Japa
- 3.13 - Bhakti
- 3.14 - Trikona
- 3.15 - Kum Nye
- 3.16 - Kriya Yoga
- 3.17 - Dark retreat
- 3.18 - Conscious breathing
- 3.19 - Japamala
- 3.20 - Samyama
- 3.21 - Self-compassion
- 3.22 - Peace Revolution
- 3.23 - Ekagrata
- 3.24 - Five wisdoms
- 3.25 - Padma Samten
- 3.26 - Nididhyāsana
- 3.27 - Full Catastrophe Living
- 3.28 - Global Vipassana Pagoda
- 3.29 - Jeongang
- 3.30 - Pranava yoga
- 3.31 - Tapas (Indian religions)
- 3.32 - Mindfulness and technology
- 3.33 - Choiceless awareness
- 3.34 - Ananda Yoga
- 3.35 - Mindfulness-based pain management
- 3.36 - British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches
- 3.37 - Breathworks Foundation
- 3.38 - Mindfulness-based stress reduction
- 3.39 - Breathworks
- 3.40 - Transcendental Meditation
- 3.41 - Transcendental Meditation technique
- 3.42 - Astavakrasana
- 3.43 - Primordial qigong
- 3.44 - Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- 3.45 - Moments of Mindfulness
- 3.46 - Movement Medicine
- 3.47 - Mu wave
- 3.48 - Nama sankeerthanam
- 3.49 - Muraqabah
- 3.50 - Naam Japo
- 3.51 - Negative visualization
- 3.52 - Navel gazing
- 3.53 - Passage Meditation
- 3.54 - Om Swami
- 3.55 - Neiye
- 3.56 - Neigong
- 3.57 - Prayer rope
- 3.58 - 5Rhythms
- 3.59 - Qigong
- 3.60 - Techniques of Knowledge
- 3.61 - Zuowang
- 3.62 - Zhou Huo Rui Mo
- 3.63 - Zhong Gong
- 3.64 - Zhan zhuang
- 3.65 - Yangsheng (Daoism)
- 3.66 - World Community for Christian Meditation
- 3.67 - Vow of silence
- 3.68 - Vitarka-vicāra
- 3.69 - Viparita Karani
- 3.70 - Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra
- 3.71 - Vihangamyoga
- 3.72 - Transpersonal psychology
- 3.73 - The Art of Communicating
- 3.74 - Teachings of Prem Rawat
- 3.75 - Ram Chandra (Lalaji)
- 3.76 - Taoist meditation
- 3.77 - Tai chi
- 3.78 - Surat Shabd Yoga
- 3.79 - Sundo
- 3.80 - Sufi whirling
- 3.81 - Soham (Sanskrit)
- 3.82 - Simran
- 3.83 - Self-enquiry (Ramana Maharshi)
- 3.84 - Sant Mat
- 3.85 - Sandhyavandanam
- 3.86 - Sama (Sufism)
- 3.87 - Sahaja Yoga
- 3.88 - Sahaj Marg
- 3.89 - Retreat (spiritual)
- 3.90 - Seder hishtalshelus
- 3.91 - Love-in
- 3.92 - Mind machine
- 3.93 - Brainwave entrainment
- 3.94 - Enlightenment Intensive
- 3.95 - Egonomics
- 3.96 - Effects of meditation
- 3.97 - Dynamic meditation
- 3.98 - Daoyin
- 3.99 - Dancemeditation
- 3.100 - Counting sheep
- 3.101 - Contemplative Practices in Action
- 3.102 - Chu (Taoism)
- 3.103 - Christian meditation
- 3.104 - Canadian Christian Meditation Community
- 3.105 - Calm (company)
- 3.106 - Breathwork
- 3.107 - Brain activity and meditation
- 3.108 - Falun Gong
- 3.109 - Brahmamuhurtha
- 3.110 - Brahmachaitanya
- 3.111 - Bodymind (in meditation traditions)
- 3.112 - Beat (acoustics)
- 3.113 - Autogenic training
- 3.114 - Aspects of Christian meditation
- 3.115 - Asahi Health
- 3.116 - Amritabindu Upanishad
- 3.117 - Amrit Velā
- 3.118 - Altered Traits
- 3.119 - Alpha wave
- 3.120 - Ahimsa – Cheltenham
- 3.121 - Affective meditation
- 3.122 - Acem Meditation
- 3.123 - Experiment with Light
- 3.124 - Fazhengnian
- 3.125 - Microcosmic orbit
- 3.126 - Juniper Foundation
- 3.127 - Meditative postures
- 3.128 - Meditative poetry
- 3.129 - Meditation music
- 3.130 - Meditation Centre
- 3.131 - Meditation and pain
- 3.132 - Meditation (writing)
- 3.133 - Matrimandir
- 3.134 - Mantram Handbook
- 3.135 - A Christian Reflection on the New Age
- 3.136 - Lectio Divina
- 3.137 - Latihan
- 3.138 - Ki Aikido
- 3.139 - Kayotsarga
- 3.140 - Kalani Oceanside Retreat
- 3.141 - Jing zuo
- 3.142 - Gnosis (chaos magic)
- 3.143 - Jewish meditation
- 3.144 - Jesus Prayer
- 3.145 - Jazz meditation
- 3.146 - Jangama dhyana
- 3.147 - Implicate and explicate order
- 3.148 - Holy Cross – Centre for Christian Meditation and Spirituality
- 3.149 - Hitbodedut
- 3.150 - History of Christian meditation
- 3.151 - Hesychia
- 3.152 - Henosis
- 3.153 - Henology
- 3.154 - Heart Rhythm Meditation
- 3.155 - Hare Krishna (mantra)
- 3.156 - Gymnosophy
- 3.157 - Zuowanglun
The origin of meditation
Meditation has been practiced since antiquity in numerous religious traditions and beliefs.
The earliest records of meditation (dhyana) are found in the Upanishads of Hindu philosophy, and meditation plays a salient role in the contemplative repertoire of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Since the 19th century, Asian meditative techniques have spread to other cultures where they have also found application in non-spiritual contexts, such as business and health.
Meditation may significantly reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and enhance peace, perception, self-concept, and well-being.
The effect of meditation
Research is ongoing to better understand the effects of meditation on health (psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular) and other areas.
Meditation has proven difficult to define as it covers a wide range of dissimilar practices in different traditions.
In popular usage, the word “meditation” and the phrase “meditative practice” are often used imprecisely to designate practices found across many cultures.
Books, teachings & practices
The following list includes books, teachings and practices that are claimed to train the attention of mind or to teach calm or compassion.
A mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe. In common use, “mandala” has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.
A “mantra” is a sacred utterance, a numinous sound, a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and spiritual powers.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines. Yoga can increase flexibility and can lessen chronic pain, lower blood pressure, reduce insomnia, and help you cope with the effects of stress.
Chakras are the various focal points in the subtle body used in a variety of ancient meditation practices, collectively denominated as Tantra, or the esoteric or inner traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism.
Prāṇāyāma is a Sanskrit word alternatively translated as “extension of the prāṇa ” or “breath control.” The word is composed from two Sanskrit words: prana meaning life force, and either ayama or the negative form ayāma, meaning to extend or draw out. It is a yogic discipline with origins in ancient India.
Third Eye the ‘eye of insight’ in the forehead of an image of a deity, especially a god Shiva.
Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to a deliberate state of psychological or spiritual calm despite the potential presence of stressors.
Being “at peace” is considered by many to be healthy (homeostasis) and the opposite of being stressed or anxious, and is considered to be a state where our mind performs at an optimal level with positive outcomes.
Peace of mind is thus generally associated with bliss, happiness and contentment.
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.
Mindfulness derives from sati, a significant element of Buddhist traditions, and is based on Zen, Vipassanā, and Tibetan meditation techniques.
Contemplation is profound thinking about something. In a religious sense, contemplation is usually a type of prayer or meditation.
Trance is a state of semi-consciousness in which a person is not self-aware and is either altogether unresponsive to external stimuli or is selectively responsive in following the directions of the person who has induced the trance.
Trance states may occur involuntarily and unbidden.
The term trance may be associated with hypnosis, meditation, magic, flow, prayer, and altered states of consciousness.
Kundalini yoga is a school of yoga that is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of mantra, tantra, yantra, yoga or meditation. Kundalini yoga is often identified as the most dangerous form of yoga because of the involvement of subtle energies.
Japa is the meditative repetition of a mantra or a divine name.
It is a practice found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
The mantra or name may be spoken softly, enough for the practitioner to hear it, or it may be spoken within the reciter’s mind.
Japa may be performed while sitting in a meditation posture, while performing other activities, or as part of formal worship in group settings.
The mantra or name may be spoken softly, loud enough for the practitioner to hear it, or it may be recited silently within the practitioner’s mind.
Bhakti literally means “attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity”.
In Hinduism, it refers to devotion to, and love for, a personal god or a representational god by a devotee.
In ancient texts such as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the Bhagavad Gita, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha, as in bhakti marga.
Trikona is a Sanskrit word which signifies a triangle and is one of the widely used mythical geometric symbol.
It is used to assist in meditation, and in different yantras.
Different positions of trikona (triangle) are believed to impart different types of properties and attributes to the symbol.
When trikonas are united in such a way that they form a six-pointed star, they represent creative activity from which the cosmos springs forth.
When a circle surrounds a hexagonal figure, it is symbolic of revolving time, in which purusha and prakriti manifest themselves in the form of creation.
The hexagon is also used in Shakti cult.
When the trikonas are represented in a disjointed manner and separated from each other, they symbolize the cession of time and the cosmos ceases to exist.
Kum Nye and sKu-mNyé are a wide variety of Tibetan religious and medical body practices. The two terms are different spellings in the Latin alphabet of the same Tibetan phrase, which literally means “massage of the subtle body”. Some systems of sku mnye are vaguely similar to Yoga, T’ai chi, Qigong, or therapeutic massage. “Kum Nye”, Ku Nye, and Kunye are also used to transcribe the Tibetan phrases dku mnye and bsku mnye, which are pronounced identically to sku mnye. dKu mnye and bsku mnye manipulate the physical body, rather than the subtle (energetic) one.
Kriya Yoga is the active aspect of yoga. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2.1 defines three types of kriya (action):The yoga of action (kriyayoga) is: asceticism (tapas), recitation (svadhyaya), and devotion (pranidhana) to Ishvara.
Dark retreat is a solo retreat in a space that is completely absent of light, which is an advanced practices in the Dzogchen lineages of the Nyingmapa, Bönpo, and other schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The time period dedicated to dark retreat varies from a few hours to decades. Dark retreat in the Himalayan tradition is a restricted practice only to be engaged by the senior spiritual practitioner under appropriate spiritual guidance. This practice is considered conducive for navigating the bardo at the time of death and for realising the rainbow body. The traditional dark retreat requires stability in the natural state and is only suitable for advanced practitioners. Ayu Khandro and Dilgo Khyentse are examples of modern, if not contemporary, practitioners of significant periods of dark retreat sadhana.
Conscious breathing is an umbrella term for medical and therapeutic methods that improve the breathing function. These methods involve directing awareness to breathing and developing habits that improve respiration. Human respiration is controlled consciously or unconsciously. Conscious breathing can aid in for stress reduction, improving breath-related conditions.
A Japamala or mala is a string of prayer beads commonly used in Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Shintō for the spiritual practice known in Sanskrit as japa. The rosary is usually made from 108 beads, though other numbers are also used. Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating a mantra or the name or names of a Deity.
Samyama. Combined simultaneous practice of Dhāraṇā (concentration), Dhyāna (meditation) & Samādhi (union). A tool to receive deeper knowledge of qualities of the object. It is a term summarizing the “catch-all” process of psychological absorption in the object of meditation. For Patanjali, Pratyahara is the preceding stage to practicing and developing Samyama, the “spiritually unevolved” should spend time understanding Ashtanga yoga.
Self-compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. Kristin Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main elements – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.Self-kindness: Self-compassion entails being warm towards oneself when encountering pain and personal shortcomings, rather than ignoring them or hurting oneself with self-criticism. Common humanity: Self-compassion also involves recognizing that suffering and personal failure is part of the shared human experience rather than isolating. Mindfulness: Self-compassion requires taking a balanced approach to one’s negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Negative thoughts and emotions are observed with openness, so that they are held in mindful awareness. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental, receptive mind state in which individuals observe their thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress or deny them. Conversely, mindfulness requires that one not be “over-identified” with mental or emotional phenomena, so that one suffers aversive reactions. This latter type of response involves narrowly focusing and ruminating on one’s negative emotions.
Peace Revolution is an online meditation platform aimed at young adults. The platform’s primary focus is on the teaching of Samatha meditation but is also involved in other activities and events related to mindfulness and peace-building. Although the platform has a secular orientation, it does draw on principles of Buddhism. Buddhist monks from Thailand are often invited to lead meditation and mindfulness activities.
Ekāgratā is intent pursuit of one object, close and undisturbed attention. Yoga emphasises regular practice (Abhyasa) meditation and self-imposed discipline to acquire ekagrata.
The Five Wisdoms are five kinds of wisdoms which appear when the mind is purified of the five disturbing emotions and the natural mind appears. All of those five wisdoms are represented by one of the five buddha-families.
Padma Samten is a Brazilian Buddhist lama.
Alfredo Aveline has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in quantum physics from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), where he was professor from 1969 to 1994.
During those years, he studied quantum physics, a theory in which he found a similarity with Buddhist thought.
In the early 1980s, his interest in Buddhism was intensified.
In 1986, he founded Bodhisattva Center for Buddhist Studies (CEBB).
In 1993, he was accepted by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche as his disciple and in 1996 he was ordained lama, a title meaning leader, priest and teacher.
Since that time, Lama Samten has traveled and taught, helping to structure and sustain practice groups throughout Brazil.
In Advaita Vedanta and Jnana Yoga Nididhyasana is profound and repeated meditation on the mahavakyas, great Upanishadic statements such as “That art Thou”, to realize the identity of Atman and Brahman. It is the fourth step in the training of a sisya (disciple), consisting of preparatory practives, listening to the teachings as contained in the sruti, reflection on the teachings, and nididhyasana.
Full Catastrophe Living
Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness is a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, first published in 1990, which describes the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center’s Stress Reduction Clinic. In addition to describing the content and background of MBSR, Kabat-Zinn describes scientific research showing the medical benefits of mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs), and lays out an approach to mind-body medicine emphasizing the depth of the interconnections between physical and mental health. The book has been called “one of the great classics of mind/body medicine”, and has been seen as a landmark in the development of the secular mindfulness movement in the United States and internationally.
Global Vipassana Pagoda
The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a Meditation Dome Hall with a capacity to seat around 8,000 Vipassana meditators near Gorai, North-west of Mumbai, India. The Pagoda was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, then President of India on 8 February 2009. It is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. The Global Vipassana Pagoda has been built out of gratitude to Sayagyi U Ba Khin, Vipassana teacher and the first Accountant-General of Independent Burma, who was instrumental in Vipassana returning to India, the country of its origin.
The Great Zen Master Jeongang Yeongshin ; 1898 – 1975) was a Zen Master of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. He used the principle of Kong-an as a way to lead his disciples to Enlightenment.
Pranava yoga is meditation on the sacred mantra Om, as outlined in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
It is also called Aum yoga and Aum yoga meditation. It is, simply put, fixing the mind on the sound of the mantra “Aum” – the sacred syllable that both symbolizes and embodies Brahman, the Absolute Reality – as the mantra is constantly repeated in unison with the breath.
The purpose of pranava yoga is to become free from suffering and limitation.
Tapas (Indian religions)
Tapas is a Sanskrit word that means “to heat”. It also connotes certain spiritual practices in Indian religions. In Jainism, it refers to asceticism ; in Buddhism to spiritual practices including meditation and self-discipline; and in the different traditions within Hinduism it refers to a spectrum of practices ranging from asceticism, inner cleansing to self-discipline. The Tapas practice often involves solitude, and is a part of monastic practices that are believed to be a means to moksha.
Mindfulness and technology
Mindfulness and technology is a movement in research and design, that encourages the user to become aware of the present moment, rather than losing oneself in a technological device. This field encompasses multidisciplinary participation between design, psychology, computer science, and religion. Mindfulness stems from Buddhist meditation practices and refers to the awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose in the present moment, and in a non-judgmental mindset. In the field of Human-Computer Interaction, research is being done on Techno-spirituality — the study of how technology can facilitate feelings of awe, wonder, transcendence, and mindfulness and on Slow design, which facilitates self-reflection. The excessive use of personal devices, such as smartphones and laptops, can lead to the deterioration of mental and physical health. This area focuses on redesigning and creating technology to improve the wellbeing of its users.
Choiceless awareness is posited in philosophy, psychology, and spirituality to be the state of unpremeditated, complete awareness of the present without preference, effort, or compulsion. The term was popularized in mid-20th century by Jiddu Krishnamurti, in whose philosophy it signifies a main theme. Similar or related concepts had been previously developed in several religious or spiritual traditions; the term or others like it has also been used to describe traditional and contemporary secular and religious meditation practices. By early 21st century, choiceless awareness as a concept or term had appeared in a variety of fields, including in neuroscience, therapy, sociology, and in art. However, Krishnamurti’s approach of the subject was unique, and differs from both prior and later notions.
Ananda Yoga, or Ananda Yoga for Higher Awareness is a system of Hatha Yoga established by Kriyananda, a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, and is based on Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) and Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) teachings. Ananda Yoga emphasizes inner awareness; energy control; and the experience of each asana as a natural expression of a higher state of consciousness, which is enhanced by the use of affirmations.
Mindfulness-based pain management
Mindfulness-based pain management (MBPM) is a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) providing specific applications for people living with chronic pain and illness. Adapting the core concepts and practices of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), MBPM includes a distinctive emphasis on the practice of ‘loving-kindness’, and has been seen as sensitive to concerns about removing mindfulness teaching from its original ethical framework. It was developed by Vidyamala Burch and is delivered through the programs of Breathworks. It has been subject to a range of clinical studies demonstrating its effectiveness.
British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches
The British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA) is a UK-based network of mindfulness organizations and teachers, which has been described as “the lead organisation overseeing the quality of mindfulness-based training in the UK.” Founded in 2005 as the UK Network of Mindfulness-Based Teacher Training Organisations, BAMBA’s original members were the mindfulness centers at the universities of Oxford, Bangor, and Exeter, as well as Breathworks CIC and NHS Scotland. The primary purpose of the organization is to support and develop good practice and integrity in the delivery of mindfulness-based approaches in the UK. It does this principally through the maintenance and dissemination of its Good Practice Guidelines, which provide a standards framework for its member organizations, and through the maintenance of a regulated list of accredited mindfulness teachers in the UK, who have been independently verified as having trained with a BAMBA member organization and as adhering to BAMBA Good Practice Guidelines. The independently verified teachers list has been called “an international first”, and BAMBA has been described as “the closest thing that currently exists to a regulatory body for mindfulness training” in the UK. As of June 2020, BAMBA had 25 member organizations.
The Breathworks Foundation is a registered charity in the United Kingdom that aims to broaden access to mindfulness and compassion training. It provides bursaries enabling people in financial hardship to access the programs of Breathworks CIC, develops partnerships with charities and community groups to expand the delivery of mindfulness training, and initiates research projects investigating the efficacy of Breathworks programs. It was founded by Vidyamala Burch and is advised by a group of academic experts.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an eight-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression and pain. Developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970s by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, yoga and exploration of patterns of behaviour, thinking, feeling and action. Mindfulness can be understood as the non-judgmental acceptance and investigation of present experience, including body sensations, internal mental states, thoughts, emotions, impulses and memories, in order to reduce suffering or distress and to increase well-being. Mindfulness meditation is a method by which attention skills are cultivated, emotional regulation is developed, and rumination and worry are significantly reduced. During the past decades, mindfulness meditation has been the subject of more controlled clinical research, which suggests its potential beneficial effects for mental health, as well as physical health. While MBSR has its roots in Buddhist wisdom teachings, the program itself is secular. The MBSR program is described in detail in Kabat-Zinn’s 1990 book Full Catastrophe Living.
Breathworks CIC is an international mindfulness organization founded in the United Kingdom, which offers mindfulness-based approaches to living well with pain, stress, and illness. It is known particularly for developing the approach of mindfulness-based pain management (MBPM), which shares many elements with mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) but is adapted specifically for those living with chronic pain and illness, and incorporates a distinctive emphasis on the practice of ‘loving-kindness’. Breathworks is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC) in the United Kingdom, and has nearly 500 accredited teachers working in 35 countries.
Transcendental Meditation is a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation, repetition of a mantra, and other yogic practices.
Transcendental Meditation technique
The Transcendental Meditation technique or TM is a form of silent mantra meditation, developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The meditation practice involves the use of a mantra and is practiced for 20 minutes twice per day while sitting with one’s eyes closed. It is one of the most-widely practiced, and among the most widely researched meditation techniques, with over 340 peer-reviewed studies published. Beginning in 1965, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been incorporated into schools, universities, corporations, and prison programs in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and India. In 1977, a U.S. federal district court ruled that a curriculum in TM and the Science of Creative Intelligence (SCI) being taught in some New Jersey schools was religious in nature and in violation of the First Amendment. However, the technique has since been included in a number of educational and social programs around the world.
Astavakrasana or Eight-Angle Pose is a hand-balancing asana in modern yoga dedicated to the sage Astavakra, the spiritual guru of King Janaka.
Primordial qigong is a form of qigong purportedly developed by the Taoist sage Chang San Feng.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is an approach to psychotherapy that uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) methods in collaboration with mindfulness meditative practices and similar psychological strategies. The origins to its conception and creation can be traced back to the traditional approaches from East Asian formative and functional medicine, philosophy and spirituality, birthed from the basic underlying tenets from classical Taoist, Buddhist and Traditional Chinese medical texts, doctrine and teachings.
Moments of Mindfulness
Moments of Mindfulness is a non-fiction, self-help book by Thích Nhất Hạnh. It is like a journal for Meditation.
Movement Medicine is a movement meditation practice, intended to create an experiential and embodied connectedness with the world. It was developed by Susannah and Ya’Acov Darling Khan, who directed the Moving Centre School Europe, representing Gabrielle Roth and the 5Rhythms in Europe until 2007. Movement Medicine integrates physical, artistic, spiritual, shamanic and therapeutic practices so as to stimulate human creativity, healing and transformation, focussing on the relationship with ourselves, each other, the earth, and the spirit of life. It is non-denominational, aiming to answer the spiritual impulse without the need for dogma or belief. The Movement Medicine practice is meant to give people tools to integrate the freedom and aliveness of the dance into daily life.
The sensorimotor mu rhythm, also known as mu wave, comb or wicket rhythms or arciform rhythms, are synchronized patterns of electrical activity involving large numbers of neurons, probably of the pyramidal type, in the part of the brain that controls voluntary movement. These patterns as measured by electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), or electrocorticography (ECoG), repeat at a frequency of 7.5–12.5 Hz, and are most prominent when the body is physically at rest. Unlike the alpha wave, which occurs at a similar frequency over the resting visual cortex at the back of the scalp, the mu rhythm is found over the motor cortex, in a band approximately from ear to ear. A person suppresses mu rhythms when he or she performs a motor action or, with practice, when he or she visualizes performing a motor action. This suppression is called desynchronization of the wave because EEG wave forms are caused by large numbers of neurons firing in synchrony. The mu rhythm is even suppressed when one observes another person performing a motor action or an abstract motion with biological characteristics. Researchers such as V. S. Ramachandran and colleagues have suggested that this is a sign that the mirror neuron system is involved in mu rhythm suppression, although others disagree.
Nama Japam or Nama Sankeertanam is the japa (repetition) or Sankirtana of nama (name) of the Almighty. The devotee chooses Ishta-deva or Ishta devata and picks up a name of the Ishta deva to repeatedly chant the name vocally or in the mind any time, anywhere. Devotees can form a group and do sankeertanam or singing together of name of the Almighty.
Murāqabah is Sufi meditation. Through murāqabah a person watches over their (spiritual) heart and gains insight into the heart’s relation with its creator and its own surroundings.
Murāqabah is a core concept in commonly found ṭarīqas.
The objective of murāqabah is to purge one’s base characters and develop lofty character in its place.
In Sikhism, Nām Japō, also known as Naam Japna or Naam Simran, refers to the meditation or contemplation of the various Names of God, especially the chanting of the word “Waheguru” representing the formless being, the creator of all the forms, and the being omnipresent in all forms.
Negative visualization or futurorum malorum præmeditatio is a method of meditative praxis or askēsis by visualization of the worst-case scenario(s). The method originated with the Cyreanic philosophers and was later adopted by Stoic philosophers. The technique was made popular with publications of Seneca the Younger’s Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium. It is thought to have been one of the common forms of Stoic spiritual exercises.
Navel-gazing or omphaloskepsis is the contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation.
Passage Meditation is a book by Eknath Easwaran, originally published in 1978 with the title Meditation. The book describes a meditation program, also now commonly referred to as Passage Meditation. Easwaran developed this method of meditation in the 1960s, and first taught it systematically at the University of California, Berkeley.
Om Swami is a spiritual leader and bestselling author who resides in his ashram in the Himalayan foothills. He is the founder of the Black Lotus App and os.me, a writing platform. Before renunciation, he was a successful tech entrepreneur. Swami is the bestselling author of more than fifteen books on meditation, wellness, and spirituality, such as Kundalini: An Untold Story, The Wellness Sense, and If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir. He has also documented his experiences on meditation for over 15,000 hours in his well-received book A Million Thoughts.
The c. 350 BCE Neiye 內業 or Inward Training is the oldest Chinese received text describing Daoist breath meditation techniques and qi circulation. After the Guanzi, a political and philosophical compendium, included the Neiye around the 2nd century BCE, it was seldom mentioned by Chinese scholars until the 20th century, when it was reevaluated as a “proto-Daoist” text that clearly influenced the Daode jing, Zhuangzi, and other classics. Neiye traditions also influenced Chinese thought and culture. For instance, it had the first references to cultivating the life forces jing “essence”, qi “vital energy”, and shen “spirit”, which later became a fundamental concept in Daoist Neidan “internal alchemy”, as well as the Three Treasures in traditional Chinese medicine.
Neigong, also spelled nei kung, neigung, or nae gong, refers to any of a set of Chinese breathing, meditation, somatics practices, and spiritual practice disciplines associated with Daoism and especially the Chinese martial arts. Neigong practice is normally associated with the so-called “soft style”, “internal” or neijia 內家 Chinese martial arts, as opposed to the category known as waigong 外功 or “external skill” which is historically associated with shaolinquan or the so-called “hard style”, “external” or wàijiā 外家 Chinese martial arts. Both have many different schools, disciplines and practices and historically there has been mutual influence between the two and distinguishing precisely between them differs from school to school.
A prayer rope is a loop made up of complex woven knots formed in a cross pattern, usually out of wool or silk. Prayer ropes are part of the practice of Eastern Orthodox monks and nuns and are employed by monastics to count the number of times one has prayed the Jesus Prayer or, occasionally, other prayers. The typical prayer rope has thirty three knots, representing the thirty three years of Christ’s life. Among the Oriental Orthodoxy, it is used in the Coptic, Ethiopian, and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, where it is known by its Coptic or Ge’ez name.
5Rhythms is a movement meditation practice devised by Gabrielle Roth in the late 1970s. It draws from indigenous and world traditions using tenets of shamanistic, ecstatic, mystical and eastern philosophy. It also draws from Gestalt therapy, the human potential movement and transpersonal psychology. Fundamental to the practice is the idea that everything is energy, and moves in waves, patterns and rhythms.
Qigong, qi gong, chi kung, chi ‘ung, or chi gung is a system of coordinated body-posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training. With roots in Chinese medicine, philosophy, and martial arts, qigong is traditionally viewed by the Chinese and throughout Asia as a practice to cultivate and balance qi, translated as “life energy”.
Techniques of Knowledge
Knowledge is a term used by Shri Hans Ji Maharaj to denote a formulation of four specific techniques that were imparted in a process of initiation. The term continues to be used by two of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj’s sons, Satpal Rawat and Prem Rawat.
Zuowang is a classic Daoist meditation technique, described as “a state of deep trance or intense absorption, during which no trace of ego-identity is felt and only the underlying cosmic current of the Dao is perceived as real.” According to Louis Komjathy, this is one term for Daoist apophatic meditation, which also goes by various other names in Daoist literature, such as “quiet sitting”, “guarding the one”, “fasting the heartmind”, and “embracing simplicity”.
Zhou Huo Rui Mo
Zou huo ru mo or qigong deviation, is a Chinese-culture concept traditionally used to indicate that something has gone wrong in spiritual or martial arts training. The qigong community uses this term to describe a physiological or psychological disorder believed to result during or after qigong practice, due to “improper practice” of qigong and other self-cultivation techniques. The concept was highlighted in the social and political context of mass popularization of qigong in China. The Buddhist or Taoist community also uses this term when referring to people who practice esoteric techniques or meditation without the proper guidance of a teacher.
Zhong Gong (中功) is a spiritual movement based on qigong founded in 1987 by Zhang Hongbao. The full name (中华养生益智功) translates to “China Health Care and Wisdom Enhancement Practice.” The system distinguished itself from other forms of qigong by its strong emphasis on commercialisation, and a targeted strategy that aimed to build a national commercial organisation in China in the 1990s.
Zhàn zhuāng is a training method often practiced by students of neijia, such as, Xing Yi Quan, Bagua Zhang and Taiji Quan. Zhàn zhuāng is sometimes translated Standing-on-stake, Standing Qigong, Standing Like a Tree, Post-standing, Pile-standing, or Pylon Standing. It is commonly called a form of Qigong, despite the differences from other Qigong methods in Zhàn zhuāng’s orientation.
In religious Daoism and Traditional Chinese medicine, yangsheng, refers to various self-cultivaton practices aimed at enhancing health and longevity.
Yangsheng techniques include calisthenics, self-massage, breath exercises, meditation, internal and external Daoist alchemy, sexual activities, and dietetics.
World Community for Christian Meditation
The World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) was founded in 1991 to foster the teachings of Benedictine monk and priest John Main. Main taught a way of Christian meditation which was based on the parallels he saw between the spiritual practice taught by Desert Father John Cassian and the meditative practice he had been taught in Kuala Lumpur.
Vow of silence
A vow of silence is a vow to maintain silence. Although it is commonly associated with monasticism, no major monastic order takes a vow of silence. Even the most fervently silent orders such as the Carthusians have time in their schedule for talking.
In Buddhism, vitarka, “applied thought,” “attention,” and vicāra, “discernment,” “sustained thinking,” are qualities or elements of the first dhyāna or jhāna.
Viparita Karani or legs up the wall pose is both an asana and a mudra in hatha yoga. In modern yoga as exercise, it is commonly a fully supported pose using a wall and sometimes a pile of blankets.
The Vijñāna-bhairava-tantra is a Shaiva Tantra, of the Kaula Trika tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. Singh notes that it is difficult to establish an exact date for the text, and it could have been written at some time from the 7th to the 8th century CE. It is also called the Śiva-jñāna-upaniṣad by Abhinavagupta.
Vihangam Yoga is an Indian school of yoga and meditation with branches in over 50 countries. It claims to teach an ancient Indian meditation technique. The school was founded by Sadguru Sadafal Deo Ji Maharaj in 1924 and has some 60,000,000 members. Vihangam Yoga is an ancient meditation technique which was revived by Sadguru Sadafal Deo Ji Maharaj.
Transpersonal psychology, or spiritual psychology, is a sub-field or school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience with the framework of modern psychology. The transpersonal is defined as “experiences in which the sense of identity or self extends beyond (trans) the individual or personal to encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos”. It has also been defined as “development beyond conventional, personal or individual levels”.
The Art of Communicating
The Art of Communicating is a book written by Zen Master Thích Nhất Hạnh. The nine-chapter book was published in 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers LLC. According to Thích Nhất Hạnh, despite the integral role of technology, video conferencing, messaging and telephones in our lives, we still have difficulty communicating and understanding our inner sufferings. In this book, Thích Nhất Hạnh teaches how to communicate confidently and mindfully, first with ourselves and then with those around us.
Teachings of Prem Rawat
The core of Prem Rawat’s teaching is that the individual’s need for fulfillment can be satisfied by turning within to contact a constant source of peace and joy. Rather than a body of dogma, he emphasizes a direct experience of transcendence, which he claims is accessible through the four techniques of meditation which he teaches. He calls these techniques “Knowledge” and says that Knowledge will take “all your senses that have been going outside all your life, turn them around and put them inside to feel and to actually experience you.”
Ram Chandra (Lalaji)
Ram Chandra (Lalaji) was a spiritual guide from Fatehgarh Uttar Pradesh India. He was popularly known as “Lalaji” among his followers .He is said to have re-discovered the ancient Indian system of transmission called “Pranahuti” which is often referred to as “Pranasya Prana” in the practice of meditation. After His passing, his disciples started many spiritual organizations like: “Shri Ram Chandra Mission”, Ramashram Satsang, ABSS and Ram Samadhi Ashram etc.
Taoist meditation, known in Chinese as “Xiu Dao”, refers to the traditional meditative practices associated with the Chinese philosophy and religion of Taoism, including concentration, mindfulness, contemplation, and visualization. The earliest Chinese references to meditation date from the Warring States period.
Tai chi, short for T’ai chi ch’üan, sometimes called “shadowboxing”, is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for defense training, health benefits, and meditation. Tai chi has practitioners worldwide.
Surat Shabd Yoga
Sundo – also known as Kouk Sun Do (국선도) – is a Korean Taoist art based on meditation, and which aims at the personal development of its practitioners, both at the physical, mental and spiritual levels.
Sufi whirling is a form of physically active meditation which originated among certain Sufi groups, and which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order and other orders such as the Rifa’i-Marufi. It is a customary meditation practice performed within the sema, or worship ceremony, through which dervishes aim to reach the source of all perfection, or karma. This is sought through abandoning one’s nafs, ego or personal desires, by listening to the music, focusing on God, and spinning one’s body in repetitive circles, which has been seen as a symbolic imitation of planets in the Solar System orbiting the sun.
Soham or Sohum is a Hindu mantra, meaning “I am He/That” in Sanskrit.
Simran, in spirituality, is a Sanskrit word referring to the continuous remembrance of the finest aspect of the self, and/or the continuous remembrance of God. This state is maintained continuously while carrying out the worldly works outside.
Self-enquiry (Ramana Maharshi)
Self-enquiry, also spelled self-inquiry, is the constant attention to the inner awareness of “I” or “I am” recommended by Ramana Maharshi as the most efficient and direct way of discovering the unreality of the “I”-thought.
Sant Mat was a spiritual movement on the Indian subcontinent during the 13th–17th centuries CE. The name literally means “teachings of sants”, i.e. mystic Hindu saints. Through association and seeking truth by following sants and their teachings, a movement was formed. Theologically, the teachings are distinguished by inward, loving devotion by the individual soul (atma) to the Divine Principal God (Parmatma). Socially, its egalitarianism distinguishes it from the caste system, and from Hindus and Muslims. Sant Mat not to be confused with the 19th-century Radha Soami, also known as contemporary “Sant Mat movement”.
Sandhyavandanam is a mandatory religious ritual supposed to be daily performed, traditionally, by Dvija communities of Hindus, particularly those initiated through the sacred thread ceremony referred to as the Upanayanam and instructed in its execution by a Guru, in this case one qualified to teach Vedic ritual. Sandhyopasana is considered as a path to attain salvation (moksha).
Sama is a Sufi ceremony performed as part of the meditation and prayer practice dhikr. Sama means “listening”, while dhikr means “remembrance”. These performances often include singing, playing instruments, dancing, recitation of poetry and prayers, wearing symbolic attire, and other rituals. Sama is a particularly popular form of worship in Sufism.
Sahaja Yoga is a religion founded in 1970 by Nirmala Srivastava (1923–2011). Nirmala Srivastava is known as Her Holiness Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi or as “Mother” by her followers, who are called Sahaja yogis.
Sahaj Marg or Heartfulness Meditation is a set of meditative practices first developed at the turn of the twentieth century and formalized into teaching through Shri Ram Chandra Mission in 1945. It is a form of Raja Yoga meditation system. Use of pranahuti or yogic transmission and the cleaning of impressions are claimed to be unique to this method.
The meaning of a spiritual retreat can be different for different religious communities.
Spiritual retreats are an integral part of many Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Sufi (Islamic) communities.
In Buddhism, a retreat can either be a time of solitude or a community experience.
Some retreats are held in silence, and on others there may be a great deal of conversation, depending on the understanding and accepted practices of the host facility and/or the participant(s).
Retreats are often conducted at rural or remote locations, either privately, or at a retreat centre such as a monastery.
Some retreats for advanced practitioners may be undertaken in darkness, a form of retreat that is common as an advanced Dzogchen practice in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
In Kabbalistic and Hasidic philosophy, seder hishtalshelut or hishtalshelut refers to the chain-like descent of spiritual worlds (Olam/Olamot) between God and Creation. Each spiritual world denotes a complete realm of existence, resulting from its general proximity or distance to divine revelation. Each realm is also a form of consciousness reflected in this world through the psychology of the soul.
A love-in is a peaceful public gathering focused on meditation, love, music, sex and/or use of recreational drugs. The term was coined by Los Angeles radio comedian Peter Bergman, who also hosted the first such event on Easter, 26 March 1967 in Elysian Park.
A mind machine uses pulsing rhythmic sound, flashing light, or a combination of these, to alter the frequency of the user’s brainwaves. Mind machines can induce deep states of relaxation, concentration, and in some cases altered states of consciousness, which have been compared to those obtained from meditation and shamanic exploration. Photic mind machines work with flickering lights embedded in sunglasses or a lamp that sits above or facing the user’s head. The user then “watches” with their eyes closed.
Brainwave entrainment, also referred to as brainwave synchronization and neural entrainment, refers to the hypothesized capacity of the brain to naturally synchronize its brainwave frequencies with the rhythm of periodic external stimuli, most commonly auditory, visual, or tactile.
An Enlightenment Intensive is a group retreat designed to enable a spiritual enlightenment experience within a relatively short time. Devised by Americans Charles (1929–2007) and Ava Berner in the 1960s, the format combines the self-enquiry meditation method popularised by Ramana Maharshi with interpersonal communication processes such as the dyad structure of co-counselling in a structure that resembles both a traditional Zen sesshin and group psychotherapy. Religious teachings and philosophical concepts are generally avoided.
Egonomics is a form of self-management first proposed by Thomas Schelling in his paper “Egonomics, or the Art of Self-Management.” Schelling suggested that individuals suffer from a sort of split-personality disorder whereby the present self wants a specific thing but the future or past self wants a different thing. Both selves exist, but do not exist at the same time.
Effects of meditation
The psychological and physiological effects of meditation have been studied. In recent years, studies of meditation have increasingly involved the use of modern instruments, such as fMRI and EEG, which are able to observe brain physiology and neural activity in living subjects, either during the act of meditation itself or before and after meditation. Correlations can thus be established between meditative practices and brain structure or function.
Dynamic meditation is a form of meditation in which physical actions are involved. The term appears in the early 1970s when Osho’s descriptions of his “Rajneesh Dhyan Yoga,” developed at meditation camps in the Indian mountains, were translated into English. His prototypical method is still named “Dynamic Meditation.”
Daoyin is a series of cognitive body and mind unity exercises practiced as a form of Daoist neigong, meditation and mindfulness to cultivate jing (essence) and direct and refine qi, the internal energy of the body according to Traditional Chinese medicine. These exercises are often divided into yin positions, lying and sitting, and yang positions, standing and moving. The practice of daoyin was a precursor of qigong, and was practised in Chinese Taoist monasteries for health and spiritual cultivation. Daoyin is also said to be a primary formative ingredient in the well-known “soft styles” of the Chinese martial arts, of Taiji quan. and middle road styles like Wuxingheqidao.
Dancemeditation is a moving meditation system incorporating art, somatics and the mysticism of Sufism. The practice was developed in 1995 by Dunya Dianne McPherson after completing 1001 days of Sufi training with Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan. The materials resourced provide doorways and ignition points to embodied spiritual illumination, healing, and growth. Teaching Dancemeditation means to come from the embodied practices that have been honed within the practicing Dancemeditation community over the past 20 years.
Counting sheep is a mental exercise used in some cultures as a means of putting oneself to sleep.
Contemplative Practices in Action
Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health is an interdisciplinary scholarly and scientific book. It examines the nature, function, and impact of meditation and other contemplative practices in several different religious traditions, both eastern and western, including methods for incorporating contemplative practice into education, healthcare, and other human services. Edited by Thomas G. Plante and with a foreword by Huston Smith, the book was published in the United States by Prager in 2010. The book reviews evidences for health effects and includes 14 chapters divided among three major parts that focus on well-defined systems of practice, traditions as storehouses of many alternative forms of practice, and applications. It has been reviewed in several professional journals, including PsycCRITIQUES, and the Journal of Psychosocial Research,.
Chu is a Daoist name used for various religious practices including communal chu (Kitchen) banquet rituals in Way of the Celestial Masters liturgy, the legendary xingchu associated with Daoist xian, and wuchu representing the wuzang in neidan meditation techniques.
Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study and to practice. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.
Canadian Christian Meditation Community
The Canadian Christian Meditation Community (CCMC) is part of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM), which was founded in 1991 to foster the teachings of Benedictine monk and priest, Fr. John Main, O.S.B. (1926–1982). Fr. Main taught a way of Christian meditation which he based on parallels he saw between the spiritual practice taught by Desert Father John Cassian and the meditative practice he had been taught by the Swami Satyanandain in Kuala Lumpur. In 1977, Fr. John started a small Benedictine community in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, thus bringing this form of contemplative prayer to Canada. The Canadian Community’s national office is located in Montreal.
Calm is a software company based in San Francisco, California. It produces meditation products, including guided meditations and Sleep Stories.
Breathwork is an umbrella term for various New Age practices in which the conscious control of breathing is meant to influence a person’s mental, emotional and/or physical state, with a claimed therapeutic effect. Breathwork has no proven positive health impact other than promoting relaxation and can cause distress.
Brain activity and meditation
Meditation and its effect on brain activity and the central nervous system became a focus of collaborative research in neuroscience, psychology and neurobiology during the latter half of the 20th century. Research on meditation sought to define and characterize various practices. Meditation’s effect on the brain can be broken up into two categories: state changes and trait changes, respectively alterations in brain activities during the act of meditating and changes that are the outcome of long-term practice.
Falun Gong or Falun Dafa is a Chinese religious spiritual practice that combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy centered on the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance. The practice emphasizes morality and the cultivation of virtue, and identifies as a qigong practice of the Buddhist school, though its teachings also incorporate elements drawn from Taoist traditions. Through moral rectitude and the practice of meditation, practitioners of Falun Gong aspire to eliminate attachments, and ultimately to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
Brahma muhurta is a period (muhurta) one and a half hours before sunrise- or, more precisely, ‘’’1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise’’’. Literally meaning “The Creator’s Hour”, it is traditionally the penultimate phase or muhurta of the night and is considered an auspicious time for all practices of yoga and most appropriate for meditation, worship or any other religious practice. Spiritual activities performed early in the morning have a greater effect than in any other part of the day. Each muhurta lasts 48 minutes, and therefore the Brahma muhurta begins 1 hour and 36 minutes before sunrise, and ends 48 minutes before sunrise. The time of sunrise varies each day, according to geographic location and time of year, thus the time of the Brahma muhurta also varies. For example, if sunrise is at 6am, the brahma muhurta begins at 4:24am. If sunrise is at 7am, brahma muhurta begins at 5:24am, and so on.
Brahmachaitanya or Gondavalekar Maharaj was an Indian Hindu saint and spiritual master. Brahmachaitanya was a devotee of the Hindu deity Rama and signed his name “Brahmachaitanya Ramdasi”. He was a disciple of Tukamai, and advocated for Japa meditation using the 13-character Ram Naam mantra “Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram” to attain enlightenment.
Bodymind (in meditation traditions)
Bodymind is a compound of body and mind and may be used differently in different meditation traditions. These different understandings often inform each other. The Buddhist philosopher, Herbert V. Günther, has stated: What we call ‘body’ and ‘mind’ are mere abstractions from an identity experience that cannot be reduced to the one or the other abstraction, nor can it be hypostatized into some sort of thing without falsifying its very being.
In acoustics, a beat is an interference pattern between two sounds of slightly different frequencies, perceived as a periodic variation in volume whose rate is the difference of the two frequencies.
Autogenic training is a desensitization-relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz by which a psychophysiologically determined relaxation response is obtained. The technique was first published in 1932. Studying the self-reports of people immersed in a hypnotic state, J.H. Schultz noted that physiological changes are accompanied by certain feelings. Abbé Faria and Émile Coué are the forerunners of Schultz. The technique involves repetitions of a set of visualisations that induce a state of relaxation and is based on passive concentration of bodily perceptions, which are facilitated by self-suggestions. The technique is used to alleviate many stress-induced psychosomatic disorders.
Aspects of Christian meditation
Aspects of Christian meditation was the topic of a 15 October 1989 document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The document is titled “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on some aspects of Christian meditation” and is formally known by its incipit, Orationis formas.
Asahi is a Finnish health exercise based on the eastern traditions of T’ai chi ch’uan, qigong, yiquan and yoga, with a western scientific viewpoint. Asahi is designed to suit everybody, regardless of physical condition or age.
The Amritabindu Upanishad is one of the minor Upanishads of Hinduism. It is one of the five Bindu Upanishads, attached to the Atharvaveda, and one of twenty Yoga Upanishads in the four Vedas.
Amrit Velā begins at the start of a new day, therefore, begins at 12:00 am and ends at 6:00 am,  or before the dawning of the morning sun which is used for daily meditation and recitation of Gurbani hymns. Typically, Sikhs start Amrit Vela at 2:00 am or earlier. Guru Nanak in the Japji Sahib says, “During the hours of Amrit velā, meditate on the grandeur of the one true Name.” The importance of Amrit Vela is found throughout the Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib states that “those who consider themselves a Sikh must wake up daily at Amrit Vela and be in tune with the Naam “
Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body, published in Great Britain as ‘The Science of Meditation: How to Change Your Brain, Mind and Body’, is a 2017 book by science journalist Daniel Goleman and neuroscientist Richard Davidson. The book discusses research on meditation. For the book, the authors conducted a literature review of over 6,000 scientific studies on meditation, and selected the 60 that they believed met the highest methodological standards.
Alpha waves are neural oscillations in the frequency range of 8–12 Hz arising from the synchronous and coherent electrical activity of thalamic pacemaker cells in humans. They are also called Berger’s waves after the founder of EEG.
Ahimsa – Cheltenham
Ahimsa is a heritage-listed residence and meditation meeting place located at 67 Cobran Road, Cheltenham, Hornsby Shire, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by and built by Marie Byles during 1937. It is also known as Ahimsa, The Hut of Happy Omen and Sentosa. The property is owned by the National Trust of Australia (NSW). It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 1 March 2002.
Affective Meditation is a Christian spiritual practice originating in Medieval Europe by which a pilgrim, worshipper, or other follower of Christ seeks to imagine the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, movement, and tactility of specific scenes from canonical Gospels and their characters, with particular emphasis on empathising with the compassion and suffering of Jesus and the joys and sorrows of the Virgin Mary, leading to the authentic and spontaneous expression of emotion.
Acem Meditation is a meditation technique developed in Norway since 1966 by the Acem School of Meditation and is now taught in many countries. It is non-religious, and its effects are attributed to psychological and physiological mechanisms. It is process-oriented, correct meditation being defined in terms of practice rather than experiences or states of mind. In contrast to many other forms of meditation, it makes no use of concentration, but instead allows spontaneous thoughts to come and go during the practice. According to Acem, this increases relaxation effects and stimulates long-term processes of personal growth.
Experiment with Light
Experiment with Light is a Quaker spiritual practice. It refers back to seventeenth century Quakers’ experience, rediscovered as a systematic discipline in 1996.
Fazhengnian is a meditation exercise practiced in Falun Gong. The practice of sending forth righteous thoughts was initiated by Falun Gong’s founder, Mr. Li Hongzhi, on May 19, 2001, a few years after the start of the persecution of Falun Gong by authorities of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Sending forth righteous thoughts is one of the three requirements for Falun Dafa practitioners during this period of time called “Fa-rectification,” along with studying the Fa, and clarifying the truth.
The microcosmic orbit (小周天), also known as the Self Winding Wheel of the Law, is a Taoist Qigong energy cultivation technique. It involves deep breathing exercises in conjunction with meditation and concentration techniques which develop the flow of qi along certain pathways of energy in the human body which may be familiar to those who are studying traditional Chinese medicine, Qigong, T’ai chi ch’uan, Neidan and Chinese alchemy. The exercise can be performed usually at first in a sitting position, but it can also be practiced standing as in Zhan zhuang or with movements included as with T’ai chi ch’uan.
Juniper Foundation is an organization that works to adapt and promote meditation tradition in the modern world. It was founded in 2003 by five individuals, Segyu Choepel Rinpoche, Hillary Brook Levy, Christina Juskiewicz, Pam Moriarty and Lawrence Levy. Juniper calls its approach “meditation tradition for modern life” and it emphasizes meditation, balancing emotions, cultivating compassion and developing insight as four building blocks of meditation training.
Meditative postures or meditation seats are the body positions or asanas, usually sitting but also sometimes standing or reclining, used to facilitate meditation. Best known in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions are the lotus and kneeling positions; other options include sitting on a chair, with the spine upright.
Meditative poetry combines the religious practice of meditation with verse. Buddhist and Hindu writers have developed extensive theories and phase models for meditation.
Meditation music is music performed to aid in the practice of meditation. It can have a specific religious content, but also more recently has been associated with modern composers who use meditation techniques in their process of composition, or who compose such music with no particular religious group as a focus. The concept also includes music performed as an act of meditation.
Meditation Centre is a place where meditation and related activities are practiced either individually or as group. These centres are located across the world and are offered either free or on charges. The centres are operated by Individuals and organisations.The centre organises various programmes on residential basis.
Meditation and pain
Meditation and pain is the study of the physiological mechanisms underlying meditation-specifically its neural components- that implicate it in the reduction of pain perception.
A meditation is a written work or a discourse intended to express its author’s reflections, or to guide others in contemplation. Often they are an author’s musings or extended thoughts on deeper philosophical or religious questions. In the case of Marcus Aurelius, writing was therapeutic. He would use writing as a form of therapy, often aiming to write short and memorable paragraphs. Meditation, as form of writing, is a type of Reflective writing. Often, writings in this style are a form of meditation. Writing, just like meditation, is a form of interfering with one’s mind for beneficial purposes. Just like meditation writing deliberately focuses one’s mind on the task at hand, restructuring your conscious thoughts. This idea can very clearly be viewed in Descartes’ Meditations. In Meditations Descartes hopes to have his readers follow along in Meditational exercises. As such, he hopes to have readers read the entire Meditations, rather than just a part, explaining that he wants people reading it to be in serious deliberation. Descartes’s Meditations offer particular insight into this style of writing, letting us know that meditations is meant to delve into the various aspects of self, and our ideas of ourselves. Often, he is seen as examining the seemingly unconscious ideas of the mind, and bringing them to consciousness. Thereby clarifying ideas in one’s own head. Meditations, according to Descartes, are not meant to be an idle task but rather something that should go on to affect all aspects of life: from social interactions, to how we perceive ourselves. Despite the being Descartes perceptions of meditations there are other varieties. Some view meditations more like writing therapy, a way to vent out and deal with one’s emotions, whereas Descartes and the stoics viewed meditations as a form of contemplation, as mentioned above.
The Matrimandir is an edifice of spiritual significance for practitioners of Integral yoga, in the centre of Auroville established by The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It is called soul of the city and is situated in a large open space called Peace. Matrimandir does not belong to any particular religion or sect.
The Mantram Handbook describes methods of using a mantram — sometimes called a Holy Name — in daily living. Benefits are also described. Written by Eknath Easwaran, the book was originally published in the United States in 1977. Several subsequent editions have been published, sometimes under different titles, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. Foreign (non-English) editions have also been published in several languages. The book has been reviewed in newspapers, magazines, and websites, and discussed in professional journals. It has also been a focus of scientific research. The subtitle of the fifth (2008) US edition is: a practical guide to choosing your mantram & calming your mind.
A Christian Reflection on the New Age
A Christian reflection on the New Age refers to a six-year study by the Roman Catholic Church on the New Age movement. The study, published in 2003, is highly critical of the New Age movement and follows the 1989 document Aspects of Christian meditation, in which the Vatican warned Catholics against mixing Christian meditation with Eastern approaches to spirituality.
In Western Christianity, Lectio Divina is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s word. In the view of one commentator, it does not treat Scripture as texts to be studied, but as the living word.
Latihan is a form of spiritual practice. It is the principal practice of the Subud organization.
Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido (心身統一合氣道) or Ki Aikido is a Japanese martial art, a gendai budo . It is part of the martial arts derived from aikido, which appeared after its founder’s death in 1969. It started in early 70’s with the creation of the Ki Society of Koichi Tohei, the previous Aikikai’s Chief Instructor. This martial art focuses on mind and body coordination and is based on aikido techniques and Japanese yoga and promote non-violent conflict solving and self-development.
Kayotsarga is a yogic posture which is an important part of the Jain meditation. It literally means “dismissing the body”. A tirthankara is represented either seated in yoga posture or standing in the kayotsarga posture. Kayotsarga means “to give up one’s physical comfort and body movements”, thus staying steady, either in a standing or other posture, and concentrating upon the true nature of the soul. It is one of the six essentials (avasyaka) of a Jain ascetic and one of the 28 primary attributes of a Digambara monk
Kalani Oceanside Retreat
Kalani Oceanside Retreat, also known as Kalani Honua or Kalani, is a non-profit retreat center located on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It was established in 1975 and focuses on natural and holistic living, yoga and relaxation, and spiritual retreats. Kalani is staffed by a core group of administrators, managers, and coordinators, plus over 100 volunteers from around the world.
Jing zuo refers to the Neo-Confucian meditation practice advocated by Zhu Xi and Wang Yang-ming. Jing zuo can also be described as a form of spiritual self-cultivation that helps a person achieve a more fulfilling life.
Gnosis (chaos magic)
In chaos magic, gnosis or the gnostic state refers to an altered state of consciousness in which a person’s mind is focused on only one point, thought, or goal and all other thoughts are thrust out. The gnostic state is used to bypass the “filter” of the conscious mind – something thought to be necessary for working most forms of magic.
Jewish meditation includes practices of settling the mind, introspection, visualization, emotional insight, contemplation of divine names, or concentration on philosophical, ethical or mystical ideas. Meditation may accompany unstructured, personal Jewish prayer, may be part of structured Jewish services, or may be separate from prayer practices. Jewish mystics have viewed meditation as leading to devekut. Hebrew terms for meditation include hitbodedut or hitbonenut/hisbonenus (“contemplation”).
The Jesus Prayer, also known as The Prayer, is a short formulaic prayer esteemed and advocated especially within the Eastern churches: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The prayer has been widely taught and discussed throughout the history of the Orthodox Church. The ancient and original form did not include the words “a sinner”, which were added later. It is often repeated continually as a part of personal ascetic practice, its use being an integral part of the eremitic tradition of prayer known as hesychasm. The prayer is particularly esteemed by the spiritual fathers of this tradition as a method of cleaning and opening up the mind and after this the heart (kardia) and bringing about firstly the Prayer of the Mind or more correctly the Noetic Prayer and after this the Prayer of the Heart. The Prayer of the Heart is considered to be the Unceasing Prayer that the Apostle Paul advocates in the New Testament. Theophan the Recluse regarded the Jesus Prayer stronger than all other prayers by virtue of the power of the Holy Name of Jesus.
Jazz meditation refers to guided meditation practice that incorporates live instrumental jazz music. During a typical jazz meditation performance, a meditation guide or teacher is accompanied by one or more musicians, and musical improvisation is used as an anchor for mindfulness techniques such as visualization and breathing exercises. An audience of seated participants meditate in response to live music and the teacher’s spoken instructions.
Jangama dhyana is a meditation technique, which has been practiced by various sages over the centuries. In modern times, it has been used by Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj and his direct disciple Shri Shivarudra Balayogi Maharaj to achieve self-realization. The technique is currently taught by Shri Shivarudra Balayogi. Jangama means ‘eternal existence’ and dhyana means ‘meditation.’ Hence Jangama dhyana is ‘Meditation on the Eternal Existence .’
Implicate and explicate order
Implicate order and explicate order are ontological concepts for quantum theory coined by theoretical physicist David Bohm during the early 1980s. They are used to describe two different frameworks for understanding the same phenomenon or aspect of reality. In particular, the concepts were developed in order to explain the bizarre behaviors of subatomic particles which quantum physics describes and predicts with elegant precision but struggles to explain.
Holy Cross – Centre for Christian Meditation and Spirituality
The Holy Cross – Centre for Christian Meditation and Spirituality is an institution of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limburg, Germany. It is based at the Holy Cross Church in Frankfurt-Bornheim and is dedicated to services, contemplation, meditation, retreats, counseling, and other events such as concerts.
Hitbodedut or hisbodedus refers to practices of self-secluded Jewish meditation. The term was popularized by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (1772–1810) to refer to an unstructured, spontaneous and individualized form of prayer and meditation through which one would establish a close, personal relationship with God and ultimately see the Divinity inherent in all being.
History of Christian meditation
Prayer has been an essential part of Christianity since its earliest days. As the Middle Ages began, the monastic traditions of both Western and Eastern Christianity moved beyond vocal prayer to Christian meditation. These progressions resulted in two distinct and different meditative practices: Lectio Divina in the West and hesychasm in the East. Hesychasm involves the repetition of the Jesus Prayer, but Lectio Divina uses different Scripture passages at different times and although a passage may be repeated a few times, Lectio Divina is not repetitive in nature.
The Greek term hesychia is a concept that can be translated as “stillness, rest, quiet, silence”.
Henosis is the classical Greek word for mystical “oneness”, “union” or “unity”. In Platonism, and especially Neoplatonism, the goal of henosis is union with what is fundamental in reality: the One, the Source, or Monad. The Neoplatonic concept has precedents in the Greek mystery religions as well as parallels in Eastern philosophy. It is further developed in the Corpus Hermeticum, in Christian theology, Alevism, soteriology and mysticism, and is an important factor in the historical development of monotheism during Late Antiquity.
Henology refers to the philosophical account or discourse on The One that appears most notably in the philosophy of Plotinus. Reiner Schürmann describes it as a “metaphysics of radical transcendence” that extends beyond being and intellection.
Heart Rhythm Meditation
Heart Rhythm Meditation is a type of meditation that involves conscious breathing, in which the conscious control of breathing is meant to influence a person’s mental, emotional, or physical state, with a claimed therapeutic effect.
Hare Krishna (mantra)
The Hare Krishna mantra, also referred to reverentially as the Mahā-mantra, is a 16-word Vaishnava mantra which is mentioned in the Kali-Santarana Upanishad and which from the 15th century rose to importance in the Bhakti movement following the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This mantra is composed of three Sanskrit names – “Krishna”, “Rama” and Hare which means Radha.
Gymnosophy was a movement and a philosophy practiced in Europe and the US from the end of the 19th century to the mid 20th century. The practice involved nudity, asceticism, and meditation.
The Zuowanglun or Zuowang lun is a Taoist meditation text that was written by the Shangqing School patriarch Sima Chengzhen (647–735). Taoism incorporated many Buddhist practices during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), and the Zuowanglun combined meditation techniques from Taoism and Buddhism.