Meditation plays a role in all aspects of Indian spiritual life, to a greater and lesser degree, depending on the individual practitioner, the path chosen and the stage of life.
Meditationis fundamental to the spiritual practice of Jainism and is believed to help achieve enlightenment. In fact, the 24 Tirthankaras all exist in meditative postures. The practice continued to gain popularity throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and by the early 2000s, Transcendental Meditation as a practice and movement had grown to include a variety of associated services, including health products, educational programs, and teacher training courses, with millions of people involved.
As meditation becomes more widely recognized and accepted, you can find a lot of reading material to help you develop your own practice and knowledge of its powerful benefits. Further west, such notable figures as Philo of Alexandria, the Desert Fathers of the Middle East, and St. Augustine developed early forms of meditation practice. Around this time, Transcendental Meditation was also growing in popularity, with many celebrities turning to the practice to help them cope with fame, including The Beatles.
Western Christian meditation progressed from the 6th century practice of Bible reading among Benedictine monks called Lectio Divina, i. At one point, people practiced some form of Buddhist meditation from the territories of present-day Afghanistan to Mongolia and from Japan to Indonesia. Some Christians and others may think of meditation as a form of prayer, since there may be some overlap between the two practices. The more you develop your understanding and knowledge of meditation, its different origins and ways of practicing, the more likely you are to find a version that works for you.
Mindworks created its 9-level Journey to Wellness and other inspiring courses so that you can enjoy the full potential of a regular meditation practice. If you're interested in starting with a meditation practice, a guided video can help you stay up to date and develop a better understanding and connection to the process. The Buddha identified two primary mental qualities that arise from healthy meditation practice or bhavana, namely samatha (calm, serenity, tranquility) and vipassana (insight). Although many forms of meditation can be found in ancient religious traditions around the world, practice as a formal component of a spiritual path is probably more closely related to Buddhism.
In popular usage, the word meditation and the phrase meditative practice are often used imprecisely to designate practices found in many cultures.