The word meditation, is derived from two Latin words : ‘meditari’ (to think, to dwell upon, to exercise the mind) and ‘mederi’ (to heal). Its Sanskrit derivation 'medha' means wisdom.
When people think of meditation, some may have visions of monks in far off lands sitting together in silence. Meditation is actually becoming a practice quite popular in the Western world among people from all walks of life, although it has been practiced in Asia for more than 5,000 years.
Meditation is an approach that anyone can use to help them cope with medical problems, stress, anxiety, emotional turmoil and insomnia.
The regular practice of meditation has proven to reap many benefits through scientific research. Meditation can bring about healing of both the body and the mind. Some physical benefits of meditation include a decrease in blood pressure and an improvement in breathing due to the increase of air flow that gets to the lungs. Those who use meditation regularly also find that their resting heart rate is lower as well, which takes some of the stress off the heart. Chemicals in the body that are associated with stress are lower as well, which leads to less anxiety.
Meditation is a practice that brings about not only physical benefits, but psychological benefits as well. Bringing oneself to a state of reflection through meditation has amazing effects on the psych of a person. Relaxation and a decrease in stress are rather obvious benefits, but many people do not realize that meditation can also improve moods and memory and decrease moodiness and depression.
The definition of meditation varies; the most commonly accepted definition is calming the whole mind and physical body enough to open one up to the Divine.
Some of the general benefits of meditation are:
Relief of physical and mental fatigue or stress
Increases memory and learning
Increases creativity and problem solving abilities
Slows the ageing process
Promotes more restful sleep
Calms and balances the physical body
Article extract out from Padmacahaya International Insititute for Inner Study "Meditation Overview"