The word meditation is used in variety of ways. According to Swami Rama:
Meditation is a specific technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. In meditation, you are fully aware and alert, but mind is not focused on the external world or the events taking place around you. Neither is your mind asleep, dreaming or fantasizing. Instead, it is clear, relaxed and inwardly focused.
Meditation involves a type of inner attention that is quiet, concentrated and at the same time relaxed. There is nothing difficult or strenuous about creating this inner attention; in fact, you will find that meditation is a process that is restful for the mind. In the beginning, the greatest difficulty is that the mind has never been trained to create this inner attention
Meditation is a different, subtle and precise approach. It is the simple technique of learning how to pay attention to and understand the various levels of yourself – the body, the breadth and the mind. As time progresses, you enjoy positive results of meditation – increased joyfulness, clarity and awareness – as much as you enjoy the relief you will experience from releasing the physical, nervous and mental symptoms of stress.
Meditation helps relax muscular tension and the autonomic nervous system, and provides freedom from mental stress.
Meditation helps strengthen immune system by limiting its reaction to stress and strain. Meditation will also decrease your need for sleep and will energize your body and mind.
Meditation also has an important influence on health. In modern world, most deceases can be classified to some degree as psychosomatic, having their origin in or being influenced by thoughts and emotions. These deceases cannot be cured by conventional external therapies since they originate in the mind and your emotional reactions. How can an external therapy remedies alone restore your health. If you rely only on external remedies and do not seek to understand your own mind and emotions, you may merely become dependant upon therapist or physician for help. In contrast, the method of meditation makes people self-radiant and helps them attain the inner strength necessary to deal more effectively with all of life’s problems.
Source: Extracted from “Meditation and it’s Practice” by Swami Rama (Pages 1-4)