Meditation is misunderstood and dismissed by many, but for those of us who have invited meditation to our lives and embraced it as a friend know that its nature can be truly empowering, transformative and life affirming.
“The purpose of meditation is to make our mind peaceful. If our mind is peaceful, we will be free from mental worries and mental discomfort, and so we will experience true happiness. But if our mind is not peaceful, we will find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions.” ~ Kelsang Gyatso
Mediation is seen by many as an ancient practice that has no place in our world. But it is just as relevant and useful today as it was when it was practiced a thousand years ago. Some might have tried it once and decided that it was not for them. This could be due to the fact that they weren’t fully embracing it, but it could also well be because they have not found the branch of meditation that best works for them.
What Do You Want to Get Out of Your Meditation Practices?
Mediation is considerably more complex and multi-faceted than many understand it to be. It is a case of taking the time to understand what you want from your meditation practices, and to commit yourself to the meditative avenue that will best help you to achieve that.
In today’s world, where stresses and distractions are more prevalent than ever, mediation is becoming increasingly popular. There is no right or wrong way to meditate; you could simply turn off all of your devices and close your eyes on your next bus journey and enjoy a meditative moment. However, if you are looking for a specific practice that sees to a specific need, then you might want to look into one of these…
This branch of mediation is extremely popular over here in the Western world. It has Buddhist origins and involves dealing with the thoughts present in your head.
We live in a world where, not only do we have a lot going on in our heads as we try to reach success in our lives, but we are constantly judging ourselves and wondering whether we are thinking or acting in a popular or successful way. This meditation teaches us to be aware of our thoughts, but not to judge ourselves for having them.
This form of mediation is considered essentially to be the simplest form of mediation. However, because of its simplicity, it is also considered to be quite tricky to master.
Its origins are yogic. Once mastered you are able to settle effortlessly into absolute silence. However, this takes time and an understanding of how your mind works. Therefore, if you like structure and a sense of achievement through mastery of a skill, then this may be the one for you!
Spiritual meditation, as the name points towards, is the most similar avenue of mediation to prayer. It is practiced in many religions, including some branches of Christianity and Hinduism.
This meditation is all about silence. Listening to the silence and letting quiet inhabit you and your mind brings you closer towards a sense of peace and serenity. It is also supposed to heighten your connection to your spirituality and connection to the Universe. Some even burn essential oils to heighten the sensory and spiritual experience.
Not everyone is good at sitting still. If you have ever thought that mediation wasn’t for you because it involves sitting in one place and being still for too long, then think again!
Yoga, of course, is the most popular and recognisable example of movement-based mediation. However, any calm or low impact physical activity can be used as a meditative exercise. If you like walking in the woods, swimming, preparing food, moving to calming music or playing an instrument, you already have a great foundation on which to build a practice of movement mediation. Here’s more on how: How to Practice Movement Mediation
The ‘mantra’ can seem illusive in its purpose. The idea of a mantra is that it uses a repetitive sound or phrase to clear the mind of excess thoughts and worries. After chanting your mantra for a while, one is supposed to have heightened awareness.
This may be the mediation for you if you have found that focussing on your breath is no good. Many find that focussing on a mantra is a much easier way of entering a meditative state.
If you struggle with focus in your life, and are prone to distraction or a cluttered mind, then this mediation style is a wonderful way of improving that.
Essentially, this meditation is an exercise in improving focus on a single thing; being in the moment. You will focus on a single thing. This thing will be rooted in one of your senses; breath, smell, sound, sight, touch. It could be counting something, exploring an object through touch or sight, listening to a sound or song… there are many possibilities. As long as it is a single task on which you must focus, you are all set!
By Chris Thomson
There are many activities that can be used as a platform for mediation. What do you think of this one? Reading as A Form of Meditation
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