Six Common Meditation Methods

Meditation Methods_Jasmine Supplement Strength 24When most people think of meditation, a monk sitting in a temple at the top of a mountain comes to mind.  In fact, though, there are many different meditation methods or types.  Each one has its own advantages.  Most people who meditate generally have a preferred method, but some will use different meditation methods at different times.  If you’d like to start meditating, consider which of these meditation methods could work for you.

Six Common Meditation Methods

Breath Watching — The easiest and most common of our 6 meditation methods is breath watching.  Using this method, the individual breathes deeply, ensuring that air fills his lungs with each breath.  Many people prefer this method to others because it enables them to focus on a very simple, natural activity rather than go through the sometimes difficult task of clearing their minds completely.  A major benefit of this method is that it can be used by anyone at any time to clear their head, calm down, and regain concentration at the completion of the session, which can be as short as a few minutes.

Empty Mind — A second of our meditation methods, which many people find extremely difficult, is empty mind meditation.  While it can be done in any position, many people do this sitting in a cross-legged position, commonly known as a “full lotus”.  It is important that the person be sitting still and generally works best in a setting without noise or other distractions. The greatest challenge for most people is keeping random thoughts from rushing into their minds.  With practice, though, this can be the most effective method for stress reduction.

Walking — Those who prefer to be more active could find walking meditations useful.  This can be done either indoors or outdoors.  In this method, people may choose to focus on their breathing, the movement of their bodies, or their contact with the ground.  Those who attempt to do this outside should seek out an area that is level and relatively quiet. You might also check the internet to locate a labyrinth in your community.

Mindfulness — Mindfulness meditation, called vipassana by Buddhists, forces people to become aware of themselves, and possibly the things around them.  This is especially useful for taking stock of one’s own thoughts and shadow-self, which often go unexamined.  This is problematic because thoughts are very powerful and can help or hinder people in their daily lives.  Starting with focusing on their breathing, meditators can slowly move to their thoughts and take note of what passes through their minds.  This is not the time for analyzing or judging those thoughts, but only for becoming aware of them.  Once the meditation has ended, people will be able to examine and change those thoughts if they think it would be helpful.

Mantra — Another method that works well for clearing the mind is simple mantra meditation.  Using this method, people repeat a word, short phrase or sound over and over, focusing exclusively on it.  In some traditions, experienced masters provide the mantra, but those working alone can choose one that is meaningful for them. For instance, the word “love” is a very common mantra.  In repeating the chosen word or sound over and over again, the mind is released from conscious thought and many experience a tranquil, serenity — sometimes lasting for hours after meditation.

Concept — For those looking to consider a broader truth, meditation on a concept can be an effective practice.  Some examples include the “meditation on impermanence”, during which people focus on the impermanent nature of all things, and the Buddhist “meditation on the corpse”, in which they think about a body rotting in the ground.  This offers people an opportunity to internalize stark realities that they may not otherwise consider in their busy lives, and to refocus their priorities accordingly if they so choose.

Many people begin slowly with a 2-5 minute meditation with the goal of 30 minutes daily. You can also combine different methodologies. For example, you could play a Brain-Wave Entrainment CD while breath watching like this one: Deep Alpha: Brainwave Synchronization for Meditation and Healing.

Obviously, this is just a very short list of the many different meditation methods and variations available. The most important thing to reap the full benefits is to use the method that works best for you.

By practicing one — or several — of these six meditation methods regularly, many people experience a greater sense of peace in their lives and become increasingly more effective overall.  Even just a few minutes a day can make a huge difference!

About Valerie Springfield

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