We celebrate World Meditation Day on May 21 every year. The holiday seeks to create awareness about meditation and its benefits, especially in our busy world of constant movement. Meditation itself is a practice that has been traced to ancient times, as far back as 3000 B.C., when it was referenced in ancient Indian texts. It also has roots in third-century China. The practice includes using techniques such as mindfulness or focusing on an object, thought, or activity to achieve an emotionally calm and stable state. Today, meditation has transcended past stereotypes and entered mainstream culture in the West.
History of World Meditation Day
The practice of meditation traces its roots to around 3000 B.C. However, some scholars proffer that meditation may be as old as humanity itself, stating that even the Neanderthals might have had meditative capacities. Derived from the Latin word ‘meditatum,’ meditation refers to a technique or set of techniques that individuals use to attain a heightened sense of awareness and focus on reaching a calm and stable state, mentally and emotionally.
Meditation can be firmly traced back to 1500 B.C. India, where old records reference the practice of ‘jhana’ or ‘dhyana,’ or training of the mind. These records are said to originate from the Hindu tradition of ‘Vedantism.’ Meditation also has roots in ancient China, as far back as the third and sixth centuries, with the writings of Laozi, an ancient Chinese philosopher. He used several terms similar to the meditation techniques used in later centuries in his works. Some of these terms include ‘Shou Zhong,’ meaning “guarding the middle” and ‘Bao Yi,’ which translates to “embracing the one.” Despite these connections to China and India, it is difficult to trace the exact origin of meditation because it is practiced in multiple cultures and religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These have all influenced what meditation is today.
Meditation didn’t creep into Western culture until the 20th century. In the 1960s, Harvard Medical School professor, Herbert Benson, began to study the scientific aspect of meditation, finding that people who meditated used 17% less oxygen than others. In the 1990s, meditation began to be viewed as trendy in the United States, especially with celebrities joining the trend. Now, about 9.3 million adults in the U.S. use meditation annually.
World Meditation Day timeline
Indian records reference the practice of meditation.
New meditation forms are developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India.
The word ‘meditate’ comes into use, derived from the Latin word ‘meditatum.’
Meditation becomes mainstream in the United States.
World Meditation Day FAQs
Is meditation 20 minutes a day enough?
Many successful people believe in the power of meditation and practice it every day. New research shows that 20 minutes of guided meditation already makes a massive impact. Experts also advise that the best time for meditation is first thing in the morning.
s it okay to meditate at night?
Absolutely. Meditation has been shown to help people sleep better as the relaxing techniques help your mind switch off and bring calmness.
Can I meditate with music?
Practicing meditation is about finding the techniques that help you achieve a calm and stable state. Therefore, if you prefer meditating with music and that enables you to achieve that sense of calm, you can and should meditate with music!
World Meditation Day Activities
Take some time out of your busy day to meditate. Rest, listen to music, or enjoy the sounds of nature while bringing yourself to a calm state of mind.
Declutter and destress
Remove things from your environment that take up space without adding value. Clean up your home and prioritize your activities, letting go of whatever is unimportant.
Use the hashtag
Help create awareness about this unique and important holiday. Post something informative on social media and use the hashtag #WorldMeditationDay for more visibility.
5 Interesting Facts About Meditation Types
This type of meditation focuses on cultivating feelings of loving-kindness to people, even a person’s enemies.
Body scan or progressive relaxation
During this process, a person is encouraged to scan their body for tension areas and then release that tension.
This type of meditation allows people to focus solely on the present instead of thinking about past or future occurrences.
Breath awareness meditation
This meditation type allows people to focus on their breathing, counting their breaths while breathing in slowly and deeply.
This type of meditation is spiritual in nature, encouraging practitioners to focus on rising above their current state of being.
Why We Love World Meditation Day
It provides relaxation
It is always a good idea to take a break from life’s hustle and bustle. Meditation helps us do just that by helping us free our minds of worry and focus on the positives.
It eliminates stress
Meditation is well-known for preventing and eliminating stress. When we’re calm and tranquil, we’re also better equipped to deal with stress in our daily lives and environments.
It promotes a peaceful world
Imagine if everyone took a little time out of their day to meditate and cleanse their minds of negative thoughts. Don’t you agree that the world would be a much more peaceful and united place?
World Meditation Day dates