Meditation history is quite murky.  Its not taught in schools so the historical news is passed down orally.  There are religious figures that refer to meditation, but often the various churches would redact that from the their texts.  Otherwise why would you need the church?  But we do have a few people in history that helped pass along the power of meditation.


meditation-history

An old cave once used for meditation


It is accepted that Patanjali was the father of ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga yoga was one of the ways I learned meditation. After each session the practitioners have a guided relaxation session that always turned into a very deep meditation for me. Patanjali receives homage from many sources as being the father of yoga for his Yoga Sutras. But they do not mention specific yoga postures, and no one can pinpoint when he lived – Its somewhere between 500 b.c. and 200 a.d.. Is Patanjali the father of meditation?

Most people associate Buddhism with meditation. Zen Buddhism made its appearance in the 7th century. The zen Buddhism approach is a very disciplined mental approach involving intense observation of your inner thoughts. The fans of zen buddhism love it. I like it, but it is difficult for a beginning meditator to grasp some of zen’s more elusive mind-benders. Each person has to determine their meditation path on their own.

Paramahansa Yogananda toured sold-out auditoriums and halls inn the 1920s. Yogananda also wrote a best-selling book called Autobiography of a Yogi. He established the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles to distribute his life lessons and make kriya yoga accessible. It completely changed my perception of the 1920s when I learned that Yogananda would sell out auditoriums.

The 1960s saw a rise of counter culture. 2 irreverent yogis, Osho and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, rose to worldwide fame. Osho meditation brought active meditation to the masses, a form of meditation where people engage themselves in physical activity and then suddenly halt to experience no thought. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought transcendental meditation to the world due to his famous friendship with the Beatles.

Meditation is a mental pursuit that facilitates an inward journey to know yourself. Practitioners may always wonder where meditation originated. Despite meditation history being a matter of debate, there is no dispute of meditation’s benefits.