Meditation first became a major trend in popular consciousness at the time of the hippies. It was during that time of rebellion and youthful searching for the meaning of life that reached a height in the 60s. It was at that time that teachers and Gurus from India came over to preach and teach the philosophy.
Meditation and Hinduism- It is not surprising that we associate meditation with Hinduism or Buddhism. These are the two religions that uses meditation most commonly. Meditation as we know it originated from a Hindu practice. They use it in order to attain union and a higher state of consciousness. They believed that in practicing meditation they can attain union with the Divine and thus gain enlightenment. Buddhism adopted this practice with some modifications of course.
Meditation and Other Religions- To think that meditation is the exclusive property of Hinduism or Buddhism is erroneous. Other religions and cultures practice meditation as well. Some Native American tribes for example have a practice where they reach a trance by using psychoactive ingredients such peyote. Voodoo practitioners also reach an elevated state of consciousness by some other means. These might not match the usual idea that we have on meditation but there are ways of reaching other forms of awareness. Meditation after all is the practice of focusing one’s being into one goal. So if that is the definition that we use or meditation then all religious do practice some form of meditation in their own way.
What is Christian Meditation- So does this mean that there is such a thing as Christian meditation? Yes, it does. Some Christians might disagree with the idea because they could never reconcile the idea that they are engaged in a very pagan practice but the fact is that some Christians engage in some form of meditation without them knowing it.
The Rosary- Roman Catholics pray using the rosary which is made up of beads on a string. Each bad correspond to a certain prayer that a devotee must say. That is exactly the same idea behind Jappa meditation practice of Hindus. They use a bead string and each bead represents a mantra that has to be said. The mantra are Holy Names that can purify the soul. The practice is meant to train the senses into focusing on the Holy Names or the mantra and what they represent. That is the very same essence of praying using a rosary.
Aside from praying the rosary, the simple act of prayer is also seen by some as a form of meditation. When you pray you normally close your eyes and try to think up of good thoughts only and that in essence is the same thing that you want to achieve when you first set out. There are other Christian practices that can be thought of as meditation. As I have said before some Christians might not sit well with the idea but they just have to live with the fact that what they do is meditation pure and simple.