Meditation is a mental discipline in which a person attempts to train his or her mind to enter a different level of consciousness in order to obtain some type of benefit. It is a type of intense attention that many people believe provides a heightened sense of awareness and relaxation. New Age meditation is a style of meditation that combines the traditional Eastern philosophies of meditation with more modern Western ideas. Popular among people of many backgrounds and social standings, New Age meditation is best known for techniques used in an attempt to empty the mind and release the practitioner from all conscious thought.
The practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years, usually as a part of various religions and spiritual traditions. There are dozens of different styles of meditation. It is a personal practice, so there can be variation even within specific styles. For example, there are several forms of New Age meditation, including the most commonly recognized form, transcendental meditation.
New Age meditation has been influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoga, mysticism and Eastern philosophers. To achieve a blank mind that is free from conscious thought, the practitioner will often chant a mantra — a word, sound or phrase that is repeated to help gain focus and concentration. Occasionally, New Age meditation calls for the person to focus on a specific place or object instead of chanting a mantra.
There are many reasons why people choose to practice meditation. Stress relief is often cited by practitioners of New Age meditation as the primary reason they chose to begin meditating, along with improved concentration. Some people attest that regular meditation can also help lower blood pressure and ease aches and pains, although those claims had yet to be proved scientifically as of 2011. Additionally, practitioners claim that New Age meditation allows them to channel their creativity. During the 1960s and '70s, many musicians and artists claimed that the use of meditation helped them tap into their creative subconscious to create some of their most well-known pieces.