A Brief Introduction to Different Meditation Techniques
In our previous article we elaborated on the benefits of meditation, which is truly becoming a necessity in today’s chaotic and stressful existence. In this article we share a brief overview of some popular meditation techniques. The intention is to give our readers a flavour of the sort of variety that is out there.
Amid all the uncertainty, we can rely on meditation as a means to reduce stress and calm our minds.
However, there is no right way or single way to practice meditation. The variety of meditation techniques available is quite mind boggling. What is crucial is to practise our chosen technique consistently.
Given that there are so many ways of meditating, it would be worth one’s time and effort to explore and experiment to find the technique that best suits our lifestyle and personality.
Metta meditation is also known as ‘loving-kindness’ meditation. It originated from a Buddhist meditation form. ‘Metta’ is a Pali word that means positivity and kindness toward others. Practising this meditation helps to develop a positive attitude towards life. It teaches us to be more loving and kind in nature.
It involves repeating of affirmations such as: “I am strong,” “May I be happy,” “May I be healthy,” and so on. Practitioners are encouraged to think about loved ones. It is advised to focus on positive feelings to experience the warmth and compassion inherent in our lives.
This form of meditation can help reduce anger, frustration, interpersonal conflict, and resentment. Numerous studies have reported that this meditation form can work wonders to treat depression, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and anxiety.
The technique of mindfulness meditation is inspired by Buddhist practice. It is one of the simplest and easiest forms of meditation. It involves focusing our senses in the present moment. Regular practitioners utilize this form of meditation to reduce stress and to be in the present moment.
Keenly observing one’s surroundings with eyes open or calmly sensing the sounds and smells with eyes shut are ways of being mindful.
One can practice mindfulness meditation anywhere. For example, while sitting on the sofa or walking in the park.
Mindfulness is actually also a part of all other meditation techniques as well. One can simply focus on one’s breathing to meditate effectively. This helps to improve focus and memory, and lessens our impulsiveness.
Remember that while practicing mindfulness mediation, we needn’t control our natural breath. Instead we should allow our breath to flow and focus on its movement. 10–20 minutes of daily practice is enough to reap the benefits of this form.
Zazen or Zen meditation is again a Buddhist technique. This form of meditation requires proper training and discipline because Zen meditation involves specific postures and teachings.
However, the key focus of Zen meditation is again on breathing. People utilize this meditation form to experience spirituality and relaxation.
Given our busy lifestyles today, many people are unable to find the time to learn new meditation techniques. That’s why recently, guided meditation has become a widely popular technique.
Guided meditations are mostly conducted in person, real-time. However, they are also available in the form of video or audio, especially on apps dedicated to mental health. They facilitate meditation sessions of various kinds and are a great way to start.
However, it is advisable to wean oneself off guided meditation and focus on one or two techniques of meditation and practise them well to reap greater benefits in the long term.
The famous Buddhist author and teacher, Pema Chodron has said about meditation:
“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have. We can lead our life so as to become more awake to who we are and what we’re doing rather than trying to improve or change or get rid of who we are or what we’re doing. The key is to wake up, to become more alert, more inquisitive and curious about ourselves.”
We can adopt any type of meditation as long as it facilitates greater self-awareness, enhanced intuition, relaxation, and self-love.
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