A quick read about meditation shows us the various types of definitions.
Here are some examples:
“Meditation is a mental technique that involves focusing your mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” (Source: Mindful, https://www.mindful.org/meditation/what-is-meditation/)
“Meditation is a process of giving attention to a specific thought or activity to increase awareness and gain clarity, calmness and relaxation.” (Source: HelpGuide, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/meditation-for-stress-relief.htm)
“Meditation is a practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.” (Source: American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregiver/meditation)
“Meditation is an ancient mental practice that involves focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. It is used for many purposes, including relaxation, stress reduction, and the cultivation of inner peace.” (Source: Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-is-meditation)
“Meditation is a technique in which an individual focuses their mind on a particular thought, object, visualization, or activity to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. It is used for stress reduction, relaxation, and spiritual growth.” (Source: Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/about/pac-20384966)
“Meditation is a mental exercise that aims to help the individual achieve a state of relaxed awareness and a heightened sense of self-awareness. It involves focusing the mind on a specific thought or activity, such as the breath or a mantra, in order to calm the mind and achieve greater clarity.” (Source: The Chopra Center, https://chopra.com/articles/what-is-meditation)
“Meditation is a self-directed practice for calming the mind and attaining a sense of inner peace. It involves focusing one’s attention to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally stable state.” (Source: American Heart Association, https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/meditation-and-relaxation-techniques)
“A state of mental and emotional stillness and quietness, achieved through concentrated focus and mental effort.” (Source: The Cambridge English Dictionary)
“The act of introspection and contemplation, especially as a spiritual exercise.” (Source: Dictionary.com)
“The deliberate and intentional cultivation of attention in order to increase awareness and improve one’s well-being, typically through mindfulness practices, breathing exercises, or other forms of introspection.” (Source: YourDictionary .com)
“To engage in contemplation or reflection.” (Source: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditate)
“Christian prayer” (Anglican Compass https://anglicancompass.com/meditative-prayer/)
“wonder and thought, remembering the Lord in all his glory” (Source: Open The Bible https://openthebible.org/article/what-is-biblical-meditation/)
Meditation refers to a practice of mental focus and concentration, aimed at promoting mindfulness and awareness of one’s thoughts and emotions. This definition is often associated with Buddhist meditation practices and is considered a form of mental training that cultivates mental clarity and emotional balance. (Source Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.)
Meditation is seen as a means of reducing stress, calming the mind, and promoting relaxation. Used in stress reduction and wellness programs, and is often associated with practices such as mindfulness meditation and deep breathing. (Source: Benson, H. (2000). The relaxation response. New York: HarperCollins.)
Meditation is viewed as a spiritual practice that allows individuals to connect with a higher power, transcend their ego, and achieve a deeper understanding of the self and the world. This definition is often associated with Eastern spiritual traditions such as Hinduism and Taoism, and is considered a means of attaining enlightenment or spiritual liberation. (Source: Raj, R. (2000). Meditation: Its theory and practice. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.)
Meditation is seen as a means of improving cognitive function and attentional control, through the cultivation of mental focus and concentration. This definition is often used in the context of cognitive training programs and is often associated with practices such as mindfulness meditation and focused attention meditation.(Source: van den Berg, A., de Bruin, E. I., & Muris, P. (2015). The effects of mindfulness on cognitive and educational outcomes: A meta-analytic review. Mindfulness, 6(4), 557-571.)
Meditation is viewed as a form of psychological therapy, aimed at reducing anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. This definition is often used in the context of psychotherapy and is often associated with practices such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). (Source: Orsillo, S. M., & Roemer, L. (2011). Mindfulness- and acceptance-based behavioral therapies in practice. New York: Guilford Press.)
Meditation practices may be classified as objective or subjective. This classification comes from the Vedanta and Indian schools of meditation yet it is very practical and well worth considering when meditating or practicing any consciousness advancement techniques:
In objective meditation, the meditator uses their will or effort to focus their consciousness on an object. Common objects to focus on are: a deity, light, sky, love, compassion, strength, or one’s own self objectified. Objective meditation is called Upasana.
In subjective meditation, the meditator does not will to focus their consciousness. Rather, they practice to seek their “I”, or consciousness back to its source or root. Here, the ego takes a seat and allows one to reach the source of ego, aka the Atman. Subjective meditation is called nididhyasana or atma-vicara.
Also, make sure to read this article which offers a simple definition, and the one that I use in my practice. This article discusses ancient use of meditation which also helps you understand how meditation was viewed by ancient cultures, and how meditation predated Buddhism by many centuries.
Meditation is better viewed as a non-religious practice of consciousness or awareness.
American Psychological Association (https://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregiver/meditation)
Harvard Health Publishing (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-is-meditation)
Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/about/pac-20384966)
The Chopra Center (https://chopra.com/articles/what-is-meditation)
American Heart Association (https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/meditation-and-relaxation
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditate)
Anglican Compass (https://anglicancompass.com/meditative-prayer/)
Benson, H. (2000). The relaxation response. New York: HarperCollins
Thompson, E. (2007). Mind in life: Biology, phenomenology, and the sciences of mind. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Raj, R. (2000). Meditation: Its theory and practice. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
van den Berg, A., de Bruin, E. I., & Muris, P. (2015). The effects of mindfulness on cognitive and educational outcomes: A meta-analytic review. Mindfulness, 6(4), 557-571.
Orsillo, S. M., & Roemer, L. (2011). Mindfulness- and acceptance-based behavioral therapies in practice. New York: Guilford Press.
Open The Bible https://openthebible.org/article/what-is-biblical-meditation/
The Cambridge English Dictionary