meditation, religious discipline in which the mind is focused on a single point of reference. It may be a means of invoking divine grace, as in the contemplation by Christian mystics of a spiritual theme, question, or problem; or it may be a means of attaining conscious union with the divine, e.g., through visualization of a deity or inward repetition of a prayer or mantra (sacred sound). Some forms of meditation involve putting the body in a special position, such as the seated, cross-legged lotus position, and using special breathing practices. Employed since ancient times in various forms by all religions, the practice gained greater notice in the postwar United States as interest in Zen Buddhism rose. In the 1960s and 70s the Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi popularized a mantra system known as Transcendental Meditation. Meditation is now used by many nonreligious adherents as a method of stress reduction; it is known to lessen levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress. The practice has been shown to enhance recuperation and improve the body's resistance to disease.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Meditation: Selected full-text books and articles

Meditations to Transform the Mind By Dalai Lama Bskal-bzayn-rgya-mtsho; Glenn H. Mullin Snow Lion Publications, 1999
The Practitioner's Guide to Mediation: A Client-Centered Approach By Stephen K. Erickson; Marilyn S. McKnight Wiley, 2001
Buddhist Meditation By Edward Conze George Allen and Unwin, 1956
Meditation and Psychotherapy: An Effective Combination By La Torre, Mary Anne Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, Vol. 37, No. 3, July-September 2001
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Zen Art for Meditation By Stewart W. Holmes; Chimyo Horioka Tuttle Publishing, 1973
The Vision of Buddhism: The Space under the Tree By Roger J. Corless Paragon House, 1989
Librarian's tip: "Meditation: The Centered Mind" begins on p. 144
Stages of Meditation By Kamalashila; Venerable Geshe Lobsang Jordhen; Losang Choephel Ganchenpa; Jeremy Russell Snow Lion, 2001
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