Where Did Meditation Originate?
Where did meditation originate? Like many researchers, I believe that meditation has been a part of human life since the very beginning of human existence. Let's explore the true origins of meditation.
Since man first became self aware, that is to say, when he first became conscious of himself as a being that can think, that can act out of conscience, that can remember the past and visualize the future, since he became aware of his own mental faculties, he has been driven by a innate urge to better understand his place in the universe and the essential nature of his own mind.
When we try to imagine the origins of meditation, most of us tend to picture it being practiced by followers of the earliest religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism.
As human civilization gradually developed, man's search for meaning blossomed into a variety of spiritual practices throughout the East, many of which included meditation. The earliest recorded evidence of meditation in written form is found in Hindu scriptures that date back approximately 5,000 years, and plenty of evidence is found in other religious texts, including those of Christianity, Judaism, and Taoism. These are the first texts to describe meditation as a formal practice with defined methodologies and objectives.
However, it is extremely likely that meditation played a part in the life of many human beings from a much earlier stage in the spiritual and sociological development of our species.
The history of meditation probably goes back to a time well before we were capable of producing documentation to describe it as a systemized form of practice, and as a result, archaeological evidence of meditation is unlikely to provide us with the complete story. For example, scriptural records of meditation in countries such as India, Japan and China is plentiful, but very little recorded evidence of meditation in Australian Aboriginal culture exists, even though it is generally accepted that the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia were practicing a form of meditation many tens of thousands of years ago, and they were certainly no exception at the time. Tribal rituals and ceremonies that involved trance-like states were common to a variety of ancient indigenous tribes around the world, and still are in some places.
It is almost certain that meditation has been practiced “informally” by man since the earliest of times.
If one broadens one’s definition of meditation to take into account any form of silent awareness, any gaze of wonder, any form of focussed introspection, then it is not hard to imagine early man slipping into states that we would happily define as “meditation” by our current standards.
Since man first became self aware, he has had cause to look within, to become conscious of his own mind, and to rest peacefully in the space between his thoughts.
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Where Did Meditation Originate?