Meditation Techniques

There are many different meditation techniques which deepen your understanding and awareness.

However, from the seeds of Eastern philosophy grew two common and distinct ways to meditate.

Whether you are learning:

  • mindfulness meditation
  • zazen or zen meditation
  • transcendental meditation
  • japa meditation
  • relaxation response meditation

...they fall into two broad types of meditation: open meditation and focused meditation.

While these two two common approaches to meditation are different, their end goals are the same.

Through the process of attention and awareness, which is critical to both, meditation aims to cleanse the mind that leads to inner peace.

I will not say that one type of meditation is better than the other as each person's meditative journey is different.

However, I do encourage you to explore your meditation experiences and decide for yourself.

These different types of meditation help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and lead to better health.

Open meditation techniques

In open meditation techniques the individual does not focus on a specific object but rather, you witness your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations that arise, in a non-judgmental way

Observing your thoughts and feelings in a detached and curious manner opens up your awareness to the present moment.

Some examples of open meditation include:

  • mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can be either formal or informal.

    An example of formal mindfulness would be to enroll in Kabat-Zin's eight week mindfulness based stress reduction course.

    An example of informal mindfulness would be to bring mindfulness into your everyday activities such as through walking meditation or mindful eating.

  • zazen or zen meditation. Coming from the practice of Zen Buddhism this type of meditation enables you to observe your thoughts without emotional attachment.

    More contemplative types of this meditation move on to koan meditations.

The other meditation approach is to concentrate or focus your attention inwards.

This type of meditation is about maintaining your concentration during the meditation on a specific object. When your mind starts to wander you bring your mind back to focus on that particular object.

Different meditation use different objects, such as a mantra, or a sound, or even a visual object such as a flame.

Some exclusive or concentrative meditations include:

  • transcendental meditation which brings your focus back to the mantra. This mantra is a unique word that is given to you during your training by a certified transcendental meditation expert.
  • relaxation response meditation. This is an Americanized version of the TM but with a much cheaper price tag. Again you focus on a mantra such as "ONE" however I prefer the word "CALM" or "RELAXED."

Irrespective of the type of meditation that you choose to use there are some common themes of meditation exercises that enable you to reap the benefits of meditation. These common themes in meditation practice include:

Attention: either to bring your attention to particular object of focus or the stream of thoughts and feelings that arise in your awareness.

Awareness: to develop your consciousness in a way that is less influenced by reactivity or judgment.

Understanding: To see things more deeply and clearly as they truly are.

Compassion: Being kind and welcoming to whatever arises in your experience.

Learning how to meditate is like learning a new skill. A new skill, whether it is learning a new language or a musical instrument, requires practice,

By practicing mediation on a daily basis you enable your meditation to become an effective habit to reduce stress and promote relaxation, peace, and happiness.

If you find meditation difficult then meditation software may be useful in addition to meditation music to complement your meditation experience.

Search here for other ways to meditate

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