Starting a meditation practice can be intimidating, and even more so when discovering the countless ways there are to practice. To help ease you on the road of mediation discovery, I’ve compiled a short list of some of the types of meditation out there.
Developing concentration is at the heart of all meditation techniques, yet certain practices focus heavily on this. The idea is to focus on one object and to stay committed to sustaining that focus. Examples include Zen and Transcendental meditations, repetition of mantras, sound meditation, and candle gazing.
Practiced once concentration has been developed, the focus in contemplative meditation is on a question, theme, or topic. This can be a relaxing and rewarding practice, as it encourages an acknowledgement of a higher source. If the mind wanders, train it to come back. Examples include reading inspirational quotes or reflecting on the question Who am I?
Originally derived from the Buddhist practice of Vipassana meditation, mindfulness meditation is a western, non-sectarian approach.The focus is on cultivating a refined attention to everything that is happening in the present moment. Examples include Vipassana and walking meditations, breath awareness, and body scan,.
Originally taught as antidotes to fear and sadness, this type of meditation focuses on cultivating four qualities: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity. These qualities are cultivated through the silent repetition of specific phrases such as May I be happy, May I be free.
Visualization meditation practice usually involves a higher degree of involvement than other types of meditation, as the practitioner tries to envision a particular object. Examples include Inner Smile (visualizing “smile-energy” penetrating your internal organs), Moon on Lake (visualizing the moon’s reflection on a lake), and imagining a beam of light running along the spine.
The type of meditation I practice and will share with you through the upcoming podcasts will be mindfulness meditation. You will learn how to ground yourself in the present moment through a body scan, breath awareness, and the heart practice of loving-kindness. You will also learn how to skillfully manage physical sensations and emotional states.
Onwards and upwards on your meditation journey – let’s get started!