Meditation

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Meditation refers to any of a family of practices in which the practitioner trains his or her mind or self-induces a mode of consciousness in order to realize some benefit.[1][2][3]

Meditation is generally an internal, personal practice and done without any external involvement, except perhaps prayer beads to count prayers. Meditation often involves invoking or cultivating a feeling or internal state, such as compassion, or attending to a specific focal point. The term can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[4][clarification needed]

There are dozens or more specific styles of meditation practice.[3] People may mean different things when they use the word, 'meditation'. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions, especially in monastic settings.

A 2007 study by the U.S. government found that nearly 9.4% of U.S. adults (over 20 million) have practiced meditation within the past 12 months, up from 7.6% (more than 15 million people) in 2002.[5]

Since the 1960s, meditation has been the focus of increasing scientific research of uneven rigor and quality.[6] In over 1,000 published research studies, various methods of meditation have been linked to changes in metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes.[7][8] Meditation has been used in clinical settings as a method of stress and pain reduction.[9]

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