There are a number of ways of practicing meditation. The most common is meditation with prayer. Transcendental Meditation(TM), mindfulness meditation, and from the Eastern tradition like Zen meditation, Buddhist meditation, and Taoist meditation are the other styles of practicing meditation.
Apart from prayer, the postures used in different meditations are also diverse. Some traditions Zazen, Vipassana use the formal sitting in which the body is held immobile and the attention controlled. e.g., Zazen, Vipassana. While others like Siddha Yoga, the Latihan and the chaotic meditation of Osho Rajneesh uses expressive practices in which the body is let free and anything can happen.
All these practices have one common feature that they all focus on making the busy and wandering mind peaceful and quite. The aim is to concentrate on one healing element like the sound, word, image, and breath and not to remove stimulation.
When the mind concentrates, it becomes calm and peaceful and hence it cannot wander any more. The mind is free from all worries, tensions and depressions.
Meditation can be broadly defined as any activity that keeps the attention pleasantly anchored in the present moment. When the mind is calm and focused in the present, it is neither reacting to memories from the past nor being preoccupied with plans for the future, which are the two major sources of chronic stress known to affect health. Meditation helps to keep us from identifying with the movies of the mind.
The various meditation techniques can be classified into two basic approaches:
1. Concentrative Meditation
2. Mindfulness Meditation
1. Concentrative Meditation
Concentrative meditation involves the focusing of the mind. The mind focuses either on the breath, an image, or a sound (mantra). This allows the mind to achieve a greater awareness and clarity.
The easiest way of concentrative meditation is to sit quietly and focus the attention on the breath. Yoga and meditation practitioners believe that there is a direct correlation between ones breath and one`s state of the mind. For example, when a person is anxious, frightened, agitated, or distracted, the breath will tend to be shallow, rapid, and uneven. On the other hand, when the mind is calm, focused, and composed, the breath will tend to be slow, deep, and regular.
Focusing the mind on the continuous rhythm of inhalation and exhalation provides a natural object of meditation. As you focus your awareness on the breath, your mind becomes absorbed in the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation. As a result, your breathing will become slower and deeper, and the mind becomes more tranquil and aware.
2. Mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness meditation involves opening the attention to become aware of the continuously passing parade of sensations and feelings, images, thoughts, sounds, smells, and so forth without becoming involved in thinking about them.
The person sits quietly and simply witnesses whatever goes through the mind, not reacting or becoming involved with thoughts, memories, worries, or images. This helps to gain a calmer, clearer, and a more non-reactive state of mind. Mindfulness meditation can be compared to a wide-angle lens. Instead of narrowing your sight to a selected field as in concentrative meditation, here you will be aware of the entire field.
- Raja yoga Meditation
- Zen Meditation
- Buddhist Meditation
- Mantra Meditation
- Chakra Meditation