'what is meditation' is an ongoing research project by David Addison stemming from the initial question: which two pieces of music would you like played at your funeral?
Submissions will be compiled and aim to inform a visual art project in 2018. Possible outcomes include a public exhibition, critical text(s), digital archive, printed publication or presentation within an audio format.
Please share with anyone you feel may be interested or benefit in somehow from tackling the question. A varied dataset of ages, locations, gender and cultural identities will help realise a more fully formed response and critical understanding. If you would like to discuss any aspects of the project in further detail then please get in touch at email@example.com
All submissions can be made anonymously, if contact details are provided then any personal data will be stored securely and if presented publically you will be consulted for consent before any distinguising information is released in a public facing format.
A 'song' here is defined as any piece of recorded music or other composition of sound, instrumental or otherwise. Please supply the performer(s) of your chosen version of the piece rather than original writer if different.
Plants of life, plants of death. , The 2012 US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (34,525 subjects) found 8% of US adults used meditation, with lifetime and 12-month prevalence of meditation use of 5.2% and 4.1% respectively. Meditation is also sometimes done while walking, known as kinhin, while doing a simple task mindfully, known as samu or while lying down known as savasana. This was the first time that Western audiences on American soil received Asian spiritual teachings from Asians themselves. ":143 For instance, while monks meditate as part of their everyday lives, they also engage the codified rules and live together in monasteries in specific cultural settings that go along with their meditative practices. Christian meditation is a form of prayer that helps to focus our attention on God through silence and listening to Scripture. , As of 2016 around a quarter of U.S. employers were using stress reduction initiatives. Thereafter, Swami Vivekananda... [founded] various Vedanta ashrams... Anagarika Dharmapala lectured at Harvard on Theravada Buddhist meditation in 1904; Abdul Baha ... [toured] the US teaching the principles of Bahai [sic], and Soyen Shaku toured in 1907 teaching Zen...:4, More recently, in the 1960s, another surge in Western interest in meditative practices began. 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Western Christian meditation was further developed by saints such as Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila in the 16th century. This is called "revolving the vital breath": Your thoughts and deeds seem heavenly. Beads made from seeds of rudraksha trees are considered sacred by devotees of Siva, while followers of Vishnu revere the wood that comes from the tulsi plant.. The meditator learns to hear an interior voice, the voice of God”. Mindfulness is the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment. Meditation and magic practice often overlap in these religions as meditation is often seen as merely a stepping stone to supernatural power, and the meditation sessions may be peppered with various chants and spells. Kundalini yoga is a physically active form of meditation that blends movements with …  Some meditators practice for much longer, particularly when on a course or retreat. A meditator visualizes or actualizes solar and lunar essences, lights, and deities within their body, which supposedly results in health and longevity, even xian 仙/仚/僊, "immortality".  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. I am using the word meditation in this sense. Christian meditation aims to heighten the personal relationship based on the love of God that marks Christian communion. Meditation is also a consciousness-changing technique that has been shown to have a wide number of benefits on psychological well-being. :130[note 8], Focused methods include paying attention to the breath, to an idea or feeling (such as mettā (loving-kindness)), to a kōan, or to a mantra (such as in transcendental meditation), and single point meditation.  By the time Buddhism was spreading in China, the Vimalakirti Sutra which dates to 100 CE included a number of passages on meditation, clearly pointing to Zen (known as Chan in China, Thiền in Vietnam, and Seon in Korea).  Unlike some Eastern styles, most styles of Christian meditation do not rely on the repeated use of mantras, and yet are also intended to stimulate thought and deepen meaning. The practitioner meditates deeply on subtle facts. "Meditation, which is the practice of focused concentration, bringing yourself back to the moment over and over again, actually addresses stress, whether positive or negative." Aetna now offers its program to its customers.  In the 2017 NHIS survey, meditation use among workers was 10% (up from 8% in 2002). For secular meditation, stress-reduction, relaxation, and generating a sense of well-being is the whole point of meditating. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. All Jain followers irrespective of their sect, whether Digambara or Svetambara, practice mantra. Univ of Wisconsin Press. , In Baháʼí teachings the purpose of meditation is to strengthen one's understanding of the words of God, and to make one's soul more susceptible to their potentially transformative power, more receptive to the need for both prayer and meditation to bring about and maintain a spiritual communion with God. Sign up for Headspace for free, and start reaping the benefits of meditation today. "Brain Scans Reveal Why Meditation Works." And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well. Meditation (dhyan) is a spiritual practice performed for mental, physical and emotional well-being. The first layer of rabbinic law, the Mishnah, describes ancient sages "waiting" for an hour before their prayers, "in order to direct their hearts to the Omnipresent One (Mishnah Berakhot 5:1).  Clear light yoga also aims at a state of no mental content, as does the no thought (wu nian) state taught by Huineng, and the teaching of Yaoshan Weiyan.  During the Nineteen Day Fast, a period of the year during which Baháʼís adhere to a sunrise-to-sunset fast, they meditate and pray to reinvigorate their spiritual forces. Meditation is a mental exercise that involves relaxation, focus, and awareness. In the Oveyssi-Shahmaghsoudi Sufi order, for example, muraqaba takes the form of tamarkoz, "concentration" in Persian. Rather than focusing on spiritual growth, secular meditation emphasizes stress reduction, relaxation and self-improvement. :228–29:180:415:107 Scholars have found meditation elusive to define, as practices vary both between traditions and within them. , One of the best known types of meditation in early Jewish mysticism was the work of the Merkabah, from the root /R-K-B/ meaning "chariot" (of God). Depending on the tradition, the liberative event is named moksha, vimukti or kaivalya.  This practice is the analytical reflective process of making oneself understand a mystical concept well, that follows and internalises its study in Hasidic writings.  Similarly, there are indications throughout the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) that the prophets meditated. One of the most influential texts of classical Hindu Yoga is Patañjali's Yoga sutras (c. 400 CE), a text associated with Yoga and Samkhya, which outlines eight limbs leading to kaivalya ("aloneness"). Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. Ideas about Eastern meditation had begun "seeping into American popular culture even before the American Revolution through the various sects of European occult Christianity",:3 and such ideas "came pouring in [to America] during the era of the transcendentalists, especially between the 1840s and the 1880s. It gives us an opportunity to open ourselves to God’s word, to refine our interior gaze by turning our minds to the life of Christ.  The use of the term meditatio as part of a formal, stepwise process of meditation goes back to the 12th century monk Guigo II. "exist; be present; survive") has a sense of "to cause to exist; to make present" in the meditation techniques popularized by the Taoist Shangqing and Lingbao Schools. There is considerable homogeneity across meditative practices – such as breath meditation and various recollections (anussati) – across Buddhist schools, as well as significant diversity. EASTERN/NEW AGE INSTRUCTION: Meditation = Emptying the Mind What it is: In direct opposition is the Eastern spiritual tradition of meditation, which instructs emptying the mind of thought to open one’s mind to the spiritual realm and ultimately reach a state of merging and oneness with the ultimate consciousness. It takes time to get comfortable with your mind. Spiritual meditation.  Meditation in Jainism aims at realizing the self, attaining salvation, and taking the soul to complete freedom. read, ponder, pray, contemplate). Muslim teachings embrace life as a test of one's submission to God.  Some authors have even suggested the hypothesis that the emergence of the capacity for focused attention, an element of many methods of meditation, may have contributed to the latest phases of human biological evolution.
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