National Meditation Day
annually on May 31st
Today we partake in a mental exercise of private devotion called meditation. It uses the techniques of concentration and contemplation to attain spiritual awareness and purification, and to calm the body and mind. It detaches one from their thoughts and elicits a mystical feeling. People do it to find truth and a deeper meaning, and it benefits them beyond the immediate moment, enhancing their personal, social, and professional life into the future. In the past, it has sometimes been used in preparation for a physically demanding or strenuous activity. It has many health benefits as well: it has been used to lower stress, and to regulate pulse and respiratory rates. It has also been used to treat ailments such as migraine headaches, hemophilia, and hypertension.
All the world's religions have practiced meditation of some form throughout history. For example, one aspect of Hindu Yoga is concentrated meditation—which has been used to purify the mind, body, and soul. This technique was brought into Buddhism, and into Zen Buddhism in particular. These forms of meditation became popular in the West, as did Transcendental Meditation. In the 1960s and 1970s, young people in the West rejected materialism and were drawn to Eastern philosophy and religion. With this came the practice of meditation based on those religions. Various religious meditations also include the repetition of words, and meditation often also includes focusing on an object, such as a mountain. There are so many types of meditation, that it is only fitting that we meditate today.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by meditating. Explore some of the many types of meditation that exist, or join a meditation class. Perhaps a good starting point would be to begin your day by spending just five minutes closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing. Breathe slowly and make sure to take deep breaths. This simple type of meditation will prepare you to take on your day: it will relax you, fill your blood vessels with oxygenated blood—making you more alert, and help make you more resilient against stress.