A religious activity that is equally as important as prayer is meditation. This religious activity is practiced all over the world, including here in the U.S.
However, in the U.S., it is not practiced as a religious exercise — but more of a tool for relaxation and improvement of physical and mental health.
I remember the first time I meditated in a high school gym class. We laid down on the wrestling mats listening to the sounds of nature playing from a stereo, and the teacher instructed us to focus on relaxing our bodies, starting from our feet and moving upward. By the end of the meditation lesson, I was almost asleep I was so relaxed.
Meditation, though, is primarily used in religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. I am not well versed in the religion of Buddhism; however, I do know the Buddha used meditation to achieve enlightenment.
When studying world religions as a sophomore in college, I watched a documentary about the lives, routines and rituals they had, and the philosophies and beliefs of Buddhist monks.
Often, these monks would meditate for hours at a time and would sometimes meditate for several days — not eating, not sleeping, not interacting with anyone else. They experienced complete oneness with meditation, their bodies and their spirituality.
I was amazed by some of the stories about monks who would stay in these long-lasting periods of deep meditation. (MORE)