When it comes to meditation, different beliefs hold different spiritual and psychological practices in order to develop or achieve a higher degree of mental consciousness and awareness.
Many religions have developed their own method and technique of meditation that allows their adherents to arrive at a higher state of consciousness.
Meditation is maybe most popular among Hindus. Hinduism is considered the oldest religion that focuses on meditation as a spiritual and religious practice. There are several forms of meditation that are practiced and principal of them is the Yoga, one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy. It provides several types of meditation that Hindu believers and even a number of Western adherents have learned to practice.
The differences of the techniques used may be classified according to their focus. There are certain techniques that focus on a certain perception or experience while there are others that focus on a specific object to achieve a higher consciousness.
There are also some forms of meditation that combines the use of open focus and the use of a specific object for focus in their practice to achieve a higher state of consciousness.
One of the many forms of Yoga is Raja Yoga (called also Ashtanga) which includes eight limbs (asha +anga) of spiritual practices, with half of them classified as meditation.
Then there is Vedanta which is a form of Jnana Yoga (the path of knowledge).
There is also the Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion) which practices a form of meditation that focuses on an object of love or devotion.
Japa Yoga practices a form of meditation where a mantra is being repeated aloud or silently.
There is also Hatha Yoga where different postures and positions are used to achieve a meditative state of mind in order to raise one’s spiritual energy.
In Hinduism, the object of meditation is to achieve a calm state of mind.
In the Yoga Sutras, there are five different states of mind being described.
There is the Ksipta which is an agitated state of mind that is unable to think listen or remain quiet.
Then there is Mudha, a state of mind where no information seems to reach into the brain.
The Viksipta is considered as a higher state of mind where information may reach the mind but it is not able to process it. In this state, the mind moves from one thought to another and in a confused inner speech.
Ekagra is another higher state of the mind characterized by calmness but not asleep. This state allows a person to stay focused and pay attention.
Probably the highest state that a mind can achieve is the Nurodha, where the mind is no longer disturbed by erratic thoughts and is completely focused and totally centered in what a person is doing.
This state of mind is the gal and essence of Yoga.
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