National Meditation Month is annually observed in May. This month, it’s time to get in touch with your body, mind, and soul through meditation practices. You may also challenge yourself by trying new techniques you haven’t done before. Push yourself to the limits and learn what you’re truly capable of. Moreover, it’s also the perfect time to raise awareness regarding the many benefits of meditation. From stress management, better self-awareness, boosting creativity and imagination, to increasing self-confidence, it’s the time of the year to explore the countless advantages you can get from meditation.
History of National Meditation Month
The word ‘meditation’ originated from the Latin term ‘meditatum’ which means ‘to ponder.’ While it’s hard to pin down who exactly invented meditation, several historical accounts suggest where it came from. The oldest written records of meditation trace back to 1500 B.C. in India. It was called the ‘Dhyāna’ or ‘Jhāna’— which means the training of the mind. This ancient practice translates to modern-day meditation. These records came from the Hindu traditions of Vedantism which supports various meditation practices across ancient India.
Between the third and sixth centuries, some of the early forms of meditation were linked to Chinese philosopher Laozi who practices Taoism. Many of his writings introduced meditation techniques including ‘Shou Zhong’ (guarding the middle), ‘Bao Yi’ (embracing the one), ‘Shou Jing’ (guarding tranquility), and ‘Bao Pu’ (embracing simplicity).
The introduction of meditation to the west didn’t happen until the early 18th century. Some of the abovementioned Eastern philosophies were translated into various European languages. However, it was only seen as a topic of discussion engaged by elites, philosophers, and intellectuals, which included Voltaire and Schopenhauer. Mediation hasn’t penetrated the lower to middle class just yet. It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that the prominence of meditation peaked, especially in the United States. This sudden surge introduced many models of Eastern spirituality and philosophy to the west, and many teachers from India migrated to the U.S.
Today, meditation is deeply ingrained not just in American culture, but in the entire Western society. People are becoming more aware of its benefits — not just physically but mentally as well. National Meditation Month is dedicated to continuing the strides it has made and passing on its importance to a new generation.
National Meditation Month timeline
Records show that India started the Hindu traditions of meditation — which is called ‘Dhyāna’ or ‘Jhāna.’
Chinese philosopher— Laozi— introduces modern techniques to meditation.
Eastern practices of meditation are translated into different European languages.
Meditation surges not just in the U.S. but also in the whole of western society.
The first clinical trial of meditation as a form of medical application is practiced.
National Meditation Month FAQs
Is meditation a religion?
While it originated from Hindu practices, meditation is not a religion.
Can meditation help me get better sleep?
Yes. Meditation is known to bring your mind to a state of tranquility which can help you sleep better. Some experts consider that meditation is sometimes better than sleep.
How long should I meditate?
Meditation experts recommend a minimum of 10 minutes a day for people to meditate.
National Meditation Month Activities
Learn to meditate
If you haven’t learned how to meditate yet, it’s never too late to try. Sign up for meditation classes for beginners. Encourage your friends to join you and turn this into a friendly activity you can all benefit from.
Read a book about meditation
This month is the best time to learn about the history of meditation. There are several meditation books you can choose from — from theory to self-help.
Take a meditation retreat
You can turn this month into a time of retreat where you can meditate in a different place. It doesn’t matter where your destination is – the important thing is to go somewhere serene where you can self-check and practice meditation techniques without being disturbed.
5 Surprising Facts About Meditation
The peak of meditation
In 2012, the number of people practicing meditation tripled.
A global practice
According to statistics, around 200 to 500 million people in the world practice meditation.
The value of the global wellness industry
The global wellness industry — which includes meditation — is valued at $4.5 trillion.
Meditation reduces blood pressure
Meditation spurs nitric oxide in the human brain — which reduces blood pressure.
Meditation can help overcome addiction
According to several publications like “Addiction Research,” meditation helps people overcome their struggle with addiction and substance abuse.
Why We Love National Meditation Month
It has many health benefits
Meditation is not only good for your mind but also for your body. It’s known to develop neuroplasticity in your brain, and even prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Meditation helps with decision making
National Meditation Month might just help you with your decision-making skills. According to a study conducted at U.C.L.A., consistent meditation can help improve one’s neural processing, which is vital in making decisions, judgments, or calls.
It’s a good time for self-reflection
This month is that time of the year when you can truly connect with yourself on a deeper level. Meditation aids your mind’s connection to your spirit. Grab the opportunity to learn new techniques to properly check on yourself and be in touch with your senses.
National Meditation Month dates