Where did meditation originate? Meditation itself is, of course, not the invention of Gautama Siddhartha, Shakyamuni Buddha. In India it was a traditional practice long before Shakyamuni lived, and in religions other than Buddhism it was a method of developing mental concentration. It is true that meditation has always been associated with religion.
What is the purpose of meditation? It is actually a method of communicating with the heavenly world or the world of high spirits. Those who do not understand this may practise meditation for health, or perhaps they simply think it is good to spend time just sitting without thinking about anything, without a purpose. However, we are not trees or stones. If it was only a matter of sitting still, trees and stones could do this much better than humans. But we have hearts and minds and this is the essence of being human.
The three-dimensional world where we lead our daily lives is filled with coarse thought vibrations and many of these third-dimension thoughts are quite negative. In daily life, sometimes your mind becomes disturbed, for example, when you hear shocking news or after arguing with someone. When you hear sad news, your mind may waver; drinking and singing in a bar, you may lose control. So sometimes you must isolate yourself from all these daily activities, leave the vibrations of the third dimension behind and ask what your true self is. The act of discovering your true self is the purpose of meditation.