Meditation is more often than not confused with spirituality or faith, but it is not that. Meditation is a subtle practice. Meditation is more like a teacher, a coach who helps you recognise your strengths and weaknesses, retrace your steps, correct your mistakes, and base your winning plan according to that.
As very well explained by Pema Chodron, an ordained nun and former Acharya at Shambhala Buddhism, “Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”
And not everyone resonates with the same meditation practices. For the best results, one must explore and zero-in upon a single meditation practice that resonates with them the most and practice it diligently.
Here are six widely followed meditation practices.
Though the term ‘mindfulness’ is many times used to describe the entire field of meditation, Mindfulness Meditation is not that. It originated from Buddhism and is the most popular practice. It encourages the meditator to pay attention to all his/her thought, feelings, and sensations in a non-judgemental way. It obliges you to closely observe and take note of any recurring pattern. It is a practice that combines concentration and awareness.
Spiritual Meditation is mainly based on the eastern religions of Hinduism, Daoism and Christian faith. This practice allows you to concentrate on the ultimate force, God or the universal power. It focuses on the sweetness of surrender to the ultimate. Spiritual Meditation gives you the freedom to explore and enhance your being while imbibing the powers in the silence around you and seek a deeper connection to God or Universe. It can be practiced at home or any place of worship and it works best for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.
Focused Meditation, as the name suggests, is for those who are seeking enhanced focus in life. It origins from the need to concentrate the energy of the five senses to fulfil a purpose. It’s a practice that will help you to balance your senses by your power and use it successfully without distractions. It can be done internally like by focusing on your breaths or can be done externally by using techniques like using mala beads, listening to a gong, or concentrating on a candle flame. This technique can prove to be difficult in the beginning but it is important to come back to the practice and refocus.
Mantra meditation is an ancient practice which is especially prominent in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This practice is based on the practice of repetitive sound to clear and refocus the mind. The mantra can be a word or a phrase or even a sound such as ‘AUM’. The mantra can be spoken loudly or silently, it completely depends on what is comfortable for the practitioner. This practice is really good for those who find it easier to concentrate on the words and the sound rather than their breath. And for those who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition. You will find that after chanting the mantra you’re more alert and in tune with the environment which allows you to explore deeper levels of awareness.
When we think of meditation an image of absolute stillness forms in our mind. And movement and meditation are two words that do not seem to go together. But Movement Meditation is a very thorough meditation practice, especially for all those who are eager to meditate but cannot sit still doing nothing or for the people with Type A personality. Movement meditation practice may include walking in the woods, gardening, qigong, or any other gentle movement. This is an active meditation where your movements guide you, and you find the balance in your movements.
Loving-Kindness meditation focuses on the feeling aspect of the meditation practice and triggers at the emotional aspect of humans. It focuses on developing the positive feelings such as love, kindness, generosity, goodwill, and warmth. Science based research show that compassion, kindness and empathy are crucial emotions for our existence, health, wellbeing, and even longevity. Research also shows that practicing Love-Kindness Meditation gives relief from illness and also improves and enhances emotional intelligence. We hope this article helped you to figure out the best meditation practice for you.