Meditation means to drop everything which is in one’s memory and to come to state where only consciousness remains, where only awareness remains. It is a method for acquainting our mind with virtue. The more familiar our mind is with virtue, the calmer and more peaceful it becomes. When our mind is peaceful we are free from worries and mental discomfort, and we experience true happiness. The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts.
The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.
Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health concerns, such as high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of that training.
Types of Meditation
There are six powerful types of meditation. There is scientific proof linking meditation to improved sleep, reduced anxiety, lower blood pressure, decreased pain and a myriad of other health benefits, and in addition all the benefits of increased self awareness.
- Spiritual Meditation: Meditation is practiced extensively in Eastern religions which include Buddhism, Daoism and Hinduism, as well as in Western Christian traditions. Depending upon how practiced, it has greater or lesser elements of prayer. It is characterized by self-reflection as one ponders on the silence all around, in contrast to our internal chatter. Meditation in a religious sense helps individuals to find a deeper connection either with a Higher Deity or Power. In traditions such as Buddhism and Daoism that are fundamentally non-theistic, meditation is more about self awareness and self actualization. Knowing oneself one better knows the world around us and can care for others with kindness.
- Mindfulness Meditation: This meditation technique is extremely popular in the West. However, it originates from the teachings of Buddhism. Mindfulness meditation is a critical first step for overcoming one’s own dissatisfaction, and then ultimately achieving the insight necessary to benefit others.
- Movement Meditation: This technique is best suited for people who have trouble sitting still as well as those who derive peace from action. Unlike other forms of meditation which require people to be in one position, movement meditation can be practiced when they are on the go. Practice this meditation technique when people are gardening, walking in the woods, washing and performing other subtle forms of motion. More formal types of this practice include yoga, tai chi, and many martial arts. Movement is the object of this meditation.
- Focused Meditation: In this technique, people use one of their five senses to concentrate, or six if people include mind. A chess player for example uses mental focus to look ahead a number of moves. Athletes, business people, just about everyone have learned to focus the mind on what they are doing – this is critical for success in life. In general, people can either focus on an internal element, such as their breath, feelings or their body or concentrate on an external object.
- Visualization Meditation: In this meditation technique, an image is evoked in the mind to create a particular feeling. In a simple way, people can close their eyes and visualize a beautiful lake or mountain, open sky or a familiar landscape. On a more formal level visualization on a particular Tibetan mandala or deity can be used to evoke inner qualities of compassion and wisdom. However, for this type of practice peoples really need instruction from a skilled teacher.
- Chanting Meditation: Many teachings and religions possess prominent aspects of chanting and mantra meditation, including Western religions as well as Buddhist and Hindu traditions. For chanting, the mind can simply be focused on the chant, sounds of the words and melody, while contemplating the meaning. Mantra meditation technique makes use of a repetitive sound, word or phrase to clear the mind. “Om” is the most common sound used in mantra meditation.
People who practice a daily meditation technique can attest to the holistic benefits that have resulted in their lives.