This word , “meditation” has different meanings. Depending on a particular belief system, there will be a method, a discipline which needs to be practiced in order to gain a different consciousness.
This idea of “gaining” is in itself the problem. This is the idea of a society which inculcates to “do” something in order to “gain” something.
Spirituality does not work on those terms; thus; part of the teachings are meant to forget our previous ways.
For instance to have a logical, analytical mind is a hindrance in the experience of the self. But, in the “real” world, there is always a “good” job for those who have those qualities.
The idea of “progress” is also another handicap. We tend to do things expecting to progress according to what our ideas of progress are, that is obtaining more; having more. In Spirituality, we “lose” that baggage of ideas. In fact, the more we “lose,” the more we “gain.” 🙂
In the “moral” world there is a belief that practicing a set of rituals is the way to sustain our spirituality. However, gratitude to life is the key element to spiritually flourish, and that comes after going through our own catharsis; that is by living life and experiencing the experiences with inner honesty.
Thus, meditation has been used as another ritual, as another way of “gain” something, as another way to signal “progress.”
Meditation is just movement of consciousness. Any meditational style or practice is just a tool for that. Meditation is not separated from the “real world,” for that movement of consciousness has an effect in our lives. Thus, meditation is living life under a different consciousness. That is all.
Different schools have different methods: Sit this way, do this “mudra,” chant this, put some “touch·y-feel·y” background music, turn on the red or blue lights… etc. Just tools. My preferred meditation room is Nature. My preferred background music, are singing birds or crickets chirping at night. Just another style.. 🙂
When we have experienced peace or serenity, there is a particular consciousness in that experience. As we become more acquainted with calmness, we will find out that this is not something outside from us. It is us.
In that realization there is meditation. Complexes, inner fears, ideas and beliefs are the mental blocks for a continuous experience of that which we are.
That realization is not intellectual. It is experiential. Once we know about that state, it is just a matter of peeling the “layers of the onion,” until we get to the root of it. The “styles” to get to this “onion core” are as diverse as people are in the world.
We are that which we are looking for. When that tool for calmness turns into our life experience, we have found the spiritual meaning of meditation.