Blog Archive

Can't Find What You're Looking For?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Meditation - The Different Types of Meditation

Meditation is one of the five principles of yoga. It an important tool to achieve mental clarity and health. An overview of the different beginner and advanced meditation techniques will aid in choosing the right meditation exercise for you.

There is not just one way to meditate. You must find the way that is best for you personally. Meditating can be done in various ways and there is an indefinite number of Meditation techniques that you can use for an indefinite number of goals. It does not matter what Meditation technique you choose, the foundation of all techniques is focus and attention.

Emptying your Mind Therefore, we are first going to work on Concentration Techniques. The goal of these exercises is to improve our concentration. We must learn how to focus in order to bring the endless stream of thoughts to a standstill and to limit our thoughts to only those that are relevant for this moment. Emptying our mind by means of focus and concentration is for most people the most difficult and the most important aspect of Meditation. Therefore it is not surprising that by far the greater part of all Meditation techniques is concentrated on this aspect. The better you can focus the easier it becomes to get into a deeply meditative situation. In some meditative schools the final goal of Meditation is to be 100 % focussed. In this state, according to many spiritual traditions, you reach a situation of Samadhi: you become one with the object of your Meditation. Zen-Meditations, mantra Meditations (TM) and object Meditations all belong to this category.

Observing your MindIf you want to go further than only emptying your mind the next step is learning how to become more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and sensory perception. As distinct from the exercises for clearing the mind, Insight Meditation allows us to welcome all our thoughts and physical sensations. We accept our sensations and thoughts as they are. Not judging, accepting, letting things go, being patient help us to minimise the impact of our thoughts on our actions. We become more the observers instead of the ones that undergo. Vipassana Meditation, concentration training and mindfulness Meditation belong to this category.

Contemplation and Self Examination Our perspective becomes wider, we see our problems less as problems and we can start with the techniques from the third category for self-examination and contemplation. Through Contemplation and Self Research, we learn to understand the nature of our problems and the working of our mind. How does your mind work, how dependent are you on certainties, how do you involuntarily make your suffering worse…..etcetera? Insight gives us a strong motivation to start working on our problems.

The fourth category, Meditation in Motion, consists of all forms of Meditating in which we are active. We strengthen our attention and our awareness by focussing on our motions. The most well-known forms of motion-Meditation are Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Chi Neng and walking Meditations.
Advantages of Meditation Besides the first four groups of Meditation exercises directed at concentration and self-awareness, Goal-oriented Meditation can help us to start working on certain goals right away. We can stimulate the curing of diseases or the achieving of our goals by means of, to give an example, visualisation exercises. We can open our hearts by practising Meditations which are aimed at forgiveness and sympathy. During our Meditation we can consult our intuition when we are faced with a dilemma or a difficult decision. We can use affirmations in our Meditations to enlarge our self-esteem. The possibilities of this category of Meditation are really unlimited. With the necessary creativity we can apply Meditation to all aspects of our life. What Meditation technique works best for you is purely individual and a matter of trying out. We do advise you to start with spending a lot of time on exercises that train your focus and your concentration. These abilities you will need with all forms of Meditating and will already have a marked positive effect on your life. If you discover that you like Meditating, then you can go on with the more advanced forms of Meditation aimed at self-examination. If you are only interested in using Meditation exercises for a certain problem, a question or the improving of certain achievements, then you should choose an exercise from the final category. After Meditating in the same way for a long period of time, do not hesitate to experiment with different techniques. In the course of time you may have made so much progress that in your present state of development it is better to start using techniques that are more fitting in your new situation.

No comments: