Meditation synonym: Muse, Ponder, Ruminate
The word meditation is derived from the Latin verb meditatio, meaning "to think, contemplate, devise." It refers to a definite focus of one's thoughts on a topic so as to understand it deeply.
It is often considered a practice that enhances perception, mental and physical well-being, and self-concept. It is also linked to various health benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety.
Moreover, meditation is a core component of spiritual practices in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and yoga. In the western world, it is an important part of modern interpretations of mindfulness and has become a widely practiced form of relaxation.
Meditation has an increasing number of applications, and scientific research into it has been growing steadily. However, the diversity of meditation techniques makes it difficult to find a suitable classification or a top-down definition.
A variety of approaches to meditation have been developed, ranging from clustering techniques into specific groups to analyzing the ethical and spiritual context of actually practiced meditations. The latter approach can be particularly useful, since it provides practitioners with the opportunity to systematically compare their techniques and learn from their experiences.
In this study, we tried to overcome this challenge by introducing a new classification system for meditation that takes into account phenomenological, psychological, behavioral and neuroscientific aspects of actually practiced techniques. We applied this new method to a large set of meditative practices from a diverse range of traditions and compiled a detailed set of criteria.