Meditation In Different Religions

Meditation is an activity which helps in providing relaxation to the mind, in boosting the internal energy in a person, in developing a sense of love, patience, compassion and forgiveness in a person. Meditation is also considered to be a great way of enhancing the concentration power in an individual, which helps the person to focus more on their activities.

Meditation has been an important aspect of various religious traditions since ancient times. Besides this, meditation is also considered to be an effective way of controlling your mind. Doing meditation has also proved to be of help in easing health problems, such as, depression, high blood pressure and anxiety. The word meditation is derived from the Latin word meditation, which is derived from a word, meditari, which means to think, ponder or contemplate about something.

Meditation is a practice which is prevalent in all religions in some or the other form. Some of the different religions are Hindusim, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. All these religions practice meditation, but, the only difference is that all the religions practice this activity according to their own way, which means, they use their own symbols or their own teachings for this process.

Meditation in Hinduism

Hinduism is a religion which is known for its contribution towards the spiritual practice, known as yoga and the teachings accompanied with it, known as the Sutras of Patanjali. One of the forms through which meditation is practised in this religion is through performing yoga. Yoga consists of eight limbs and one of those limbs is Dhyanan, which means meditation.

Meditation in Christianity

Meditation is practised in an extremely different form in the religion of Christianity. One form of meditation which is used in Christianity is by praying repeatedly either in a spoken way or in the form of a song. This is usually accompanied with synchronised breathing. Another way of performing meditation is to focus on an icon connected to their religion. The most common form of meditation which is practiced in Christianity is by chanting prayers repeatedly either on your own or in a large group.

Meditation in Buddhism

Buddhism is a religion in which meditation is considered to be extremely important. This practice is so important in this religion that people think that meditation is a practice of the Buddhists. Buddhism is a religion which is formed from the meditation of Siddhartha Gautam, a prince who denounced his life for leading an ascetic life, which later on led him to be known as the Buddha or the enlightened one. Since meditation is the cause for the formation of this amazing religion, it is the most important practice in this religion.

Meditation in Islam

Islam is a religion which is based on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and the holy Quran. The major purpose of meditation in this religion is to prevent the minds of people from getting polluted and helping the heart to concentrate on God. Meditation is done in the form of prayers, songs and chants in this religion in which the holy names of God are continuously repeated.

Meditation in Judaism

Judaism is a religion which has its main symbol as a cosmogram ‘Tree of Life’. This tree has eleven spheres and each sphere has a different name of God, which is used to symbolise different aspects of God, such as, Understanding, mercy, Glory, Wisdom, Victory, Knowledge, Beauty, etc. According to this religion, meditation is a practice which helps in bringing these aspects of God to life.

People often mistake a state of trance to being the same as meditation, but, in reality, this is not at all the case. When a person is in a state of trance, you are not at all aware about yourself, whereas, this is not the case with meditation. In meditation, you are completely aware of yourself. In fact, meditation provides you with an increased awareness about yourself and also provides you with a heightened level of self control. Meditation is a practice which is considered to be suitable for all types of people, but, one can definitely choose the degrees of yoga according to the different stages of life.

Can Religion Adversely Affect Mental Health?

Religion, spirituality, and mental health are aspects that go hand in hand, and one’s religious views play a very important role in affecting their mental health, either favourably or adversely.  Our definition of mental health extends to include:

  • Owning up for one’s actions
  • Increasing the level of tolerance
  • Involving in social activities
  • Gathering courage to take risks
  • Accepting things which cannot be changed

Every religion has its own sets of beliefs and practices.  These might affect mental health either in a positive, or in a negative manner, thus leading to religion being related to various mental disorders. According to the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, a balanced person is one who creates a perfect equilibrium between mind and associated emotions. Various studies have come up that have proved that religion is the cause of anxiety and stress in many individuals. Some religious practices are even the reason for the rise of guilt in an individual. Certain studies have also revealed that people who had extreme beliefs in religion, have actually suffered major psychotic breakdowns.

Religious ideas also result in the forming of delusions in psychiatric patients.  It might not be the direct reason for these delusions, but it certainly is the root cause behind them.  A perfect example of this would be someone who identifies himself or herself way too much with a Biblical character, so much so that they actually start believing themselves to be that character.

Another effect which religion has on mental health is the disturbance which is caused due to the reported contact with spirits. This has psychological effects that lead a person to behaving in a manner not expected of them.

Another common thing which happens due to religion is the conflict in beliefs. Different people follow a different set of beliefs, which many at a times leads to conflicting interests. Religion had been formed to fulfil the needs  of mankind, but nowadays, it has become a matter of life and death.

Depression, anxiety and stress are some of the major effects which religion has on mental health. This may occur due to strong religious beliefs or certain religious practices.

India is a country which is known to have a number of religions, such as, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism and Islam. Religion has been associated with this country since various years, and spirituality has always been an important part of the lives of almost all Indians.

Even though certain practices in religion, such as, meditation, yoga, and prayer, are considered to be extremely beneficial for a person’s mental health, too much of it can also have adverse effects, putting you in a constant state of guilt and anxiety. Obsessive compulsive disorder is one of the conditions which occur in people who are highly obsessed about cleanliness,  which is an extremely important factor in almost all the religions. Apart from OCD, some people have also accepted that they feel overtly anxious and depressed due to the sins of their past lives, that keep calling out to them.

How Does Religion Benefit Health & Well-Being?

Religion is a faith or a belief that exists in almost every part of the world. Various studies have come up with the findings that religion is extremely good for a person’s health and well-being. Let us list down some of the ways in which religion benefits health and well-being of a person:

Meditation

Meditation is considered to be an extremely important part in various religions and spiritual practices. It helps in improving a person’s concentration power and boosting memory. Meditation enhances your health and well-being by improving your immunity system, and relieving stress . It is also good for people who have been affected by diseases, such as, cancer, depression, rheumatoid arthritis.

Prayer

Being the most essential and foremost practice in almost every religion, prayer is considered to be extremely beneficial in maintaining a person’s health. It helps in relaxing the mind and also teaches a person the importance of compassion. Prayer is extremely beneficial in healing the mind of someone who has been suffering from depression.

Fostering Relationship

When a person joins a spiritual community, he in fact establishes various social connections, which, in turn, enables the building of a stronger relationship with people. Creating new relations and maintaining them is a very important aspect for the well-being of a person. Being a part of a spiritual group that instils positive thoughts, helps your mind stay calm, and de-stresses you.

Deal with Hardships

Life offers obstacles at every stage, and overcoming those is a strenuous situation at times. Studies suggest that people with strong religious beliefs find it easier to overcome hardships and find a solution for the most gruel problem, even in the most difficult of circumstances . Religion and beliefs help you deal with all that stress.

Healthy Choices

According to various studies conducted, people who have strong religious faiths and beliefs, don’t often indulge in unhealthy habits like, smoking, consuming alcohol or engaging in violent activities. It can be said that religion in fact promotes a healthy lifestyle, by discouraging you from indulging into practices which can harm your health.

Long Life

Various studies have also revealed the fact that those who have a strong faith in religion and spirituality tend to live longer than those who don’t believe in it. Their minds are calmer, feelings are purer, and body is healthier, because of the positive beliefs they hold inside them and exude all along.

Importance of Forgiveness

Forgiving someone and getting rid of the negative feelings, are virtues that almost all the religions in the world teach us. Forgiveness is not only associated with various health benefits, such as, healthy heart, a good immunity system and controlled blood pressure, but also it makes one feel positive