Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, "thinking" mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Meditation often involves turning attention to a single point of reference. It is recognized as a component of almost all religions, and has been practiced for over 5,000 years. It is also practiced outside religious traditions. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which may emphasize different goals -- from achievement of a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.

The word meditation originally comes from the Indo-European root med-, meaning "to measure." From the root med- are also derived the English words mete, medicine, modest, and moderate. It entered English as meditation through the Latin meditatio, which originally indicated every type of physical or intellectual exercise, then later evolved into the more specific meaning "contemplation."

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Meditation. The Official Guide to Meditation is Steven Sashen. After 30 years of traditional meditation in Buddhist, Hindu and Kabbalistic lineages, Steven wasn't getting the benefits he had been striving for, expecting, and promised. And when he discussed this with his teachers, they admitted to the same experience in their life as well. But where they thought "more practice" was the answer, Steven gave up meditation... he went "cold cushion." But his interest in consciousness and awareness and happiness hadn't gone away. So he continued examining and exploring the mind and over the next few years developed some unusual meditation techniques which are highly effective and that can be done anywhere, any time, without requiring an escape to a quiet corner, let alone a retreat center. Dr. Gay Hendricks calls these techniques, "Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to relax, expand awareness, and find deep inner peace." Steven now offers these techniques in the Instant Advanced Meditation Course (the I AM Course).

Additional Resources on Meditation can be found at:

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Steven Sashen, The Official Guide to Meditation