Meditation is now a common practice all over the world. This is because meditation is an effortless way to attain balance, contentment, and inner peace even amid terrible life situations. Most outstanding about meditation is the fact that it is a practice that is embraced and incorporated into different religions such as Hinduism, Judaism, Islamism, Christianity, and others. The reason for this isn’t farfetched. Meditation has been proven to be a practice that can help its practitioners to attain a state of inner stillness, which is one of the fundamental requirement for communing and making supplications to the supreme being of each religious belief. For this reason, different religions adopt meditation as an integral part of their religious practice, and this they do in different styles and forms as it applies to the beliefs and principles of their religious framework. So, in this piece, we shall be considering the various religions where meditation is practiced and how it is practiced.
Meditation in Buddhism
Just as you may already know, Buddhism originates from Hinduism, and they hold meditation to great esteem, although with a different approach from Hinduism. In Buddhism, mindfulness meditation is a core practice that separates it from Hinduism, where the concepts and worship of gods and goddesses is an integral practice. However, the newer sect of Buddhism, like Tibetan Buddhism, still worships and chant to gods and goddesses during deep meditation. Buddhism is known for mindfulness meditation, breath control, which is equivalent to pranayama and impersonal chanting during meditation.
Meditation in Hinduism
Among the various religion where meditation is practiced, Hinduism seems to rank highest. In Hinduism, meditation is seen as an integral religious practice, which is usually practiced in yoga. Just as it is common to other meditation practitioners, meditation in Hinduism is focused majorly on the attainment of absolute calmness of the mind. According to the Hindus, meditation is in three stages thus;
- Dharana – a steady concentration of the mind by focusing on a fixed object.
- Dhyana – an abstract religious practice involving concentration on a particular subject to know the whole truth about it.
- Samadhi – bringing together or merging our identities into a single entity, and becoming one with the Divine being.
Meditation in Christianity
Among the Christians, meditation is also a long-standing practice with its simplest and universal form involving repeated prayers either in a cycle, in groups, or individually. In Christian meditation, which can be expressed either through songs, contemplation, study, or prayer, the focus is usually directed towards the heart. The reason for this being that the heart is the engine room from where all the issues of life that cause chaos originates from.
Meditation in Islam
- In Islam, meditation as a means of spiritual development and inner calmness and cleansing is hinged on four major practices or pillars;
Prayer (Salah) – seeking communion with the Supreme being five times every day through prayer.
During this prayer, it is expected that Islam must maintain a meditative mindset for their prayers to be effective.
- Fasting (Sawm) – done by taking out one month in a year to practice exclusive and individual righteousness and self-restraint.
- Obligatory Almsgiving (Zakah) – developing a sense of sympathy and monetary sacrifice to others around you.
- Pilgrimage (Hajj) – geared towards universal oneness of the Islam faithful through the worship of the supreme being in a single place of worship
Common to the Muslims during the fasting month of Ramadan is the belief that prayers must be made in a meditative and contemplative manner referred to tafakkur.
Meditation in Judaism
In Judaism, meditation is known by the word “Qabalah,” which is interpreted as both to receive and reveal. The universal symbol of Qabalah is the Tree Of Life (Otz Chim) – a cosmogram, which is made up of eleven different spheres referred to as sephiroth. Through meditation, students and practitioners of Qabalah essential change their inner nature and external nature through the internalization of some sacred symbols and thus absorbing the traits from such symbols through some moments of meditation. During the act of meditation in Judaism, it is believed that the higher faculties of a person, which surpasses physical reasons, are triggered to breathe life into the symbols used for practicing meditation.
Meditation is an age-long practice of inner stillness and calmness. Due to the spiritual effect of meditation, it has become an integral part of many religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and even Hinduism, etc. The reason for the adoption of meditation into various religions is, in part, as a result of meditation is one the best ways to connect with the supreme being through any forms as may apply to a particular religion.