The History of Vedic Meditation & Why It’s Still Relevant

Anthony meditating at home

The roots of Vedic Meditation go back thousands of years. Certainly over two thousand, possibly five, depending on what you read. It comes from the land of the Vedas, India, and comprises a large body of knowledge called Ayurveda, which was set out in Sanskrit texts by sages who had a deep understanding of the sophisticated mind-body connection.

The roots of Vedic Meditation

Ayurveda is a science of life, offering a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy whilst allowing them to realise their full human potential.

Within this ancient wisdom is the understanding that the body and mind are inextricably connected, that the mind has influence over the body, and that meditation is a wonderful way to balance and recalibrate both body and mind.

Meditation, or dhyana, has been used for thousands of years to become consciously aware of, and to investigate, one’s own mind and body in order to fully know oneself.

Modern science has now proven what was known all those thousands of years ago: that the body becomes balanced through meditation, and that meditation offsets ‘stress chemicals’ by releasing a cocktail of neurotransmitters which enhance wellbeing.

The meditation technique I teach at MindMojo is almost identical to that taught for thousands of years, which is reassuring as that means it has withstood the test of time and works. Personally, I have been meditating for over forty-five years and have continued to witness the extraordinary effect and range of benefits both first hand, and in others.

A mediation technique for ‘householders’

The technique of Vedic Meditation has always been available and offered to ‘householders’ – people like you and I who have jobs, families, relationships, social commitments, and are fully engaged with all aspects of life.

Vedic Meditation is not a monastic practice where there is an expectation to change anything in your life, or to retreat from living it as you have been in the past.

One of the greatest features of Vedic Meditation is that you are taught to be entirely self-sufficient in your meditation. We do not rely on any props such as teachers, apps, or special postures. All that’s required is a place where you can sit normally – not in a lotus or ‘pretzel ‘position – and close your eyes, and gently think your mantra which has been carefully selected for you personally by your teacher.

There is no sound or strange posture which will draw attention. The careful teaching you’ll receive when you learn to meditate ensures that you properly understand what it is you are doing, and how to do it. This will give you the confidence to be able to practice on your own anywhere, whenever you have the time to do it.

This adaptability means that you can meditate easily and effortlessly away from home, anywhere you will not be disturbed. This could be in entirely public places such as park benches, coffee shops, or on public transport.

Vedic Meditation therefore allows you to be spontaneous and inventive about when and where to meditate, if you haven’t already scheduled the time like any other activity in your diary.

Why is Vedic Meditation still relevant?

Today, there is a thirst for connection which has become, for the most part, digitally driven. Whilst this has its benefits in terms of providing immediacy of communication and removing the barrier of physical distance, there are some downsides which we can all sometimes forget.

From my observations, these downsides centre around deep, unmet psychological needs – which we may not be entirely aware of – such as an innate desire to connect deeply with others, to be liked by them, and to have meaningful encounters.

We are the first people to live without a ‘tribe’. Many of the things which helped bind societies together in the past such as faith, community, and face-to-face connection have been eroded.

The internet looks a lot like the things we have lost in the physical world: pornography replacing sex, liking others with a ‘thumbs up’, and virtual communities which are echo chambers of your own opinions, and often where differing opinions are not tolerated.

Many online spaces feel like a parody of what we have lost, coarsening and distancing how we think and feel. I fear we may be reaching a point where deeply nuanced understanding is rarely experienced, and our consciousness is blunted and dulled.

Why might Vedic Mediation be the answer?

There’s no denying that we need a big shift in our experience of the world to get away from the epidemic of anxiety and depression. It stands to reason that an individualistic vision of happiness means you can’t make yourself happy.

Recent research has shown that happiness comes about when you force yourself away from an online, insulated existence, get out into the world, and start doing something purposeful for others. Even simply listening to others and offering the gift of presence in a conversation can be transformative.

Meditation helps us move back into the world, move away from obsessive self-interest, and create genuine human connection that starts with ourselves.

What does Vedic Meditation do?

Vedic Meditation is an exclusive as well as an inclusive process in which one withdraws one’s mind and senses from the distractions of the world, twice a day, and allows nature to take over.

These precious moments of meditation involve ‘letting go’, allowing us to surrender the ego and intellect in favour of our instincts. With regular practice, we come to the fullest realisation of our senses, and with this insightful awareness go out into the world and truly experience all that it has to offer.

Unlike many other meditation techniques, during Vedic Meditation we do not ‘try’ to meditate and there is never any agenda – we’re not trying to work out a problem or calm an emotion. During our two twenty-minute practices, we simply allow this natural and enjoyable practice to do its work in its own time.

Find out more about MindMojo's Vedic Meditation courses at one of our free, sixty minute, no obligation introductory talks in London or Brighton. View all the the upcoming dates, and book your place online here.

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Anthony Thompson