Meditation, a practice that includes a variety of different techniques originally intended for religious inspiration or mental discipline, has since been widely adopted for therapeutic purposes. Those therapies have had encouraging clinical outcomes owing to the neuro-bio-psychological effects occurring during meditation, which contribute to physiological and mental wellness. The word meditation stems from the Latin meditatio, which means “think over, reflect, consider,” implying a conscious exercise. The practice of meditation is embedded in many religious traditions as a means to attain various objectives and therefore leads to disparate focuses. This entry offers an overview of the major types and functions of meditation.

Western and Eastern Traditions

In many Christian traditions, both Catholic and Protestant, meditation is an active mental practice as well as a method of prayer, ...

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