Meditation Practice Worldwide

by Master Meditation on July 12, 2010

A shrine in Daikokucho great for meditation. 瞑想大国町の神社.

A shrine in Daikokucho great for meditation. 瞑想大国町の神社.

Meditation is known by many different names worldwide. In Japan it is called 瞑想 or Meiso, in Hindi ध्यान or Dhyana, in China 冥想 or Mingxiang, in Arabic تأمل or T’ml, within Indonesia it is known as Meditasi, in Spanish it is Meditacion and in French Meditation. Though through all these countries it remains basically the same, the name may vary with the language though the practice is much the same. Granted there are regional variations as to how people practice meditation, though at the highest level the manner and focus are the same.

So how is it that with Chinese traditions for 冥想 or Mingxiang and Japanese traditions for 瞑想 or Meiso, that date back thousands of years, along with Egyptian and Arabic traditions of تأمل or T’ml that many in the Western world classify meditation as New Age? The reason largely comes down to cultural changes within the societies in which we live, things vary in their usage and popularity over time, and also at times certain things are seen as plain wrong within the world that exists at that time. As an example, from the 1400s for several hundred years in Europe there was a time of dramatic religious upheaval that resulted in the loss of much knowledge and practice due to the Christian church as it then existed. At that time many of todays practitioners of meditation and other practices for wellbeing would likely have been persecuted, the practice largely disappeared in that part of the world at that time. The rediscovery and move to wide acceptance within the western world is largely why people term meditation as New Age, purely because they think it is new.

When you look at practices for meditation worldwide you do notice distinct similarities from country to country. The focus being on calming the mind, creating inner peace and promoting wellbeing. Within most of these systems there are then practices for both physical and spiritual healing which are widely known to achieve excellent results, so in reality there is a huge amount of commonality that the peoples of the world work with. So whether you are sitting on top of Mount Fuji practicing 瞑想 or Meiso, deep in the heart of Shangri la in Yunnan China practicing 冥想 or Mingxiang, or even in downtown Sydney or London doing your daily meditation, likelihood is you are doing the same thing.

Nan Tien Temple near Wollongong in Australia, a great place for meditation.

Nan Tien Temple near Wollongong in Australia, a great place for meditation.

The main variations with the meditation practice that different people do comes from the master or guru that they learnt their practice from. People have their own subtle variations on how they do things in all aspects of life, teaching and learning how to meditate is far from an exception. Some advocate the use of chants, or stronger focus on breathing, others may insist on a set position from which there can never be any deviation. People are the variable, as they always will be. So what really counts? Well that what you are doing works for you. If you wish to learn from an Eastern mystic deep within India, or atop the Himalayas then go for it and enjoy it. Though equally well you could find a good master or guru in your local town or city, or perhaps out at a retreat in the country if you wish to be among nature. As long as you find something that works for you then you are good, especially if you can have a good meditation space within your home so you can practice easily. Setting up and area is easy and you can access many meditation products easily throughout the US, UK, Japan and many parts of the world.

Wherever you are and however you practice I wish you beautiful meditations, Namaste.

Stephen

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