The practice of meditation has been around for several millennia. Although there are no recorded texts which would point exactly when this practice started, several ancient civilizations became the cradle of today’s meditation practices. India particularly is hailed as the proponent of meditation as an organized practice. Over centuries, many Hindi scholars have written about meditation, from the ways of doing it to its benefits. Some of the well-known Hindi texts include the Vedas and the Yoga Sutras which was written by Patanjali.
But no one has arguably been more influential in the world of meditation than Siddharta Gautama, otherwise known as Buddha. In 500 BC, he achieved enlightenment through the practice of meditation. His influence spread throughout Asia and eventually the whole world. While the East has been practicing meditation for several centuries already, the Western world picked the practice up much later. In fact, it was only in the mid-20th century when meditation became a popular practice among Westerners.
Today, more and more meditation centers and organizations crop up in the West. While meditation used to be intertwined with religious practices, a good number of Western meditation centers are stripped off this spiritual aspect. They usually focus now on the health benefits of this practice especially in the fast-paced world of today. But regardless of the loss of the spiritual side of meditation, it is still widely recognized for its benefits to people’s mental well-being. It was and it still remains as one of the central aspects of meditation.