Meditation is the name given to several different practices which aim to bring about a non-typical (and beneficial) mental state. Different forms have been documented by practitioners and teachers throughout history, and several religions promote their forms of meditation (or prayer) as transformative, leading to enlightenment or gnosis. All forms seem to share certain characteristics: Object of focus — whether a physical sensation (such as is created by the act of breathing), a word or image, or a positive emotion, meditation generals asks the practitioner to “notice”, and continue noticing, a particular object of focus.