Meditation in Prehispanic Times

Since 1985, discoveries about the Olmec have multiplied. Even so, basic questions planned by anthropologists remain largely unanswered: when did the Gulf cultures adopt subsistence agriculture? How did the increase in population influence social diversification? What was the relationship of the minor centers with the older ones? How did the chronology and location influence? How did the position affect the control of resources? What was the nature of the religion and how did the style reflect it? What relationship did the Olmecs maintain with other Mesoamerican peoples? Were they unique? Why did your civilization collapse? The Olmecs provided a significant legacy to later Mesoamerican cultures: the belief that meditation, austerity and sacrifice could achieve a higher spiritual state; that contact could be established with reality beyond the human and physical world; that the ceremonial sites reflected the supernatural approval of earthly cultures; that humanity not only existed in conjunction with cosmic forces and deities, but also shared with them identities; and with the development of a complex religiosity based on rain and agricultural fertility.

The Olmec belief system pointed to a cosmos in which all the elements and creatures had been infused with spiritual power. This energy gave impetus to the universe. Olmec art was an expression of this power. Humans sought means to gain access to spiritual strength through discipline, fasting, meditation and mutilation in the form of bleeds. They sought access, for example, to animal spirits, such as the power of the jaguar, to transcend human consciousness, often using hallucinogenic drugs, such as the aspiration of ritual polvs.

HistoryPatricia Benfield