For a long time, meditation in the West was a niche in esoteric circles. But today a growing number of people practice inner concentration. They are less interested in a transcendent search for meaning, many want to drop anchor on a buoy of calm, especially in the sea of hectic everyday life. Increasingly, scientists are also trying to grasp the inner immersion.
Meditation is the name for a whole family of training methods that serve to become aware of inner states. The word relaxation technique does not always apply, because full concentration, for example on the breath, can also be meditation. The term mindfulness is often used in this context. He means the calm perception of all internal and external phenomena, such as thoughts, pain, memories, or noises, without evaluating these stimuli positively or negatively. The goal of meditation is not fundamentally enlightenment, but can, more modestly, be an emotional balance and an alert mind.
Both the old meditation texts from Zen and Tibetan Buddhism as well as the new concepts of neuroscientists suggest that a certain skill is required to keep the attention on an object and to bring the wandering mind back again and again to the object of contemplation. For example, hardly any untrained person is able to imagine a red rose in their mind’s eye and hold this idea over a longer period of time. This is more than just recreational fun because when you focus and immerse yourself in it, there are indications of positive effects on mind and body – the meditator knows this even without scientific evidence.