Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Scholars have found meditation elusive to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them.
Meditation has been practiced since 1500 BCE antiquity in numerous religious traditions, often as part of the path towards enlightenment and self realization. The earliest records of meditation (Dhyana) derive from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism, and meditation exerts a salient role in the contemplative repertoire of Hinduism and Buddhism.Although meditation is popularly associated with Dharmic religions, other types of meditation have also influenced the spiritual dimensions of Abrahamic religions. 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. Meditation is under research to substantiate its health (psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular) benefits and other effects.
There are many schools and styles of meditation.