Meditation is frequently associated with Buddhism and Buddha. However, the truth is that the science and practice of meditation is much older. The earliest records of meditation as a serious study and practice go back to 1500 BC in India.
In the ancient Vedic era meditation was called Dhyana. The ancient Indians developed this field of knowledge to amazing heights. They became Masters in the subject of self development, with a deep understanding of the optimal functioning of the complex mind mechanism and the vital importance of the mind body connection. This stream of knowledge evolved hand-in-hand with the practice of yoga and the physical exercises that became the backbone of the yogic way of life.
Simultaneously, the vedic healing system of Ayurveda also reached its peak. This system that profoundly understood human health and well-being knew that diet played a crucial role in maintaining good health and a disease-free state. Ayurveda prescribed the right diet that protected the natural healthy state of the body, and in case of disturbances could restore the physiological balance that resulted in healing.
Thus - the system of mind and body development and well-being became a full circle, seamlessly connected with each other. A holistic way of life was established.
The Yogic way of life is much more complex and goes far deeper than just doing a few exercises now and then. It is a complete science and a profound philosophy with the holistic way of life as a path to self realization and self fulfillment.
As the centuries went by the knowledge of meditation and the Yogic way of life spread to other parts of Asia. The word Zen is actually a derivative of the Indian word Dhyana. Today - even after 3500 years we see that meditation and the Yogic way of life are absolutely relevant in our quest for good health and fulfillment. Modern science and medicine are increasingly acknowledging the authenticity and effectiveness of this knowledge and the derived practices that reflect this knowledge.