There are many different ways that people meditate, with a variety of practices and different results. Some of the acknowledged types of meditation are Transcendental, Mindfulness, different Buddhist Meditations including Zen, and Prayer. Each practice may differ in some ways, culturally or otherwise, but they all share a common goal – to calm you and help lighten up your mind.
In 1958, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced Transcendental Meditation (TM) to the Western World, a meditative practice which is used as a method for stress reduction and self-development. This is the “common person’s” meditation and regarded as one of the easiest to learn and quickest to practice. A lot of meditation styles require concentration, patience, and a significant amount of time, sometimes exceeding an hour a day. Transcendental Meditation, however, only takes 15 minutes twice a day and doesn’t take as much practice to do effectively.
While some types of meditation use visualizations or thought to direct focus, TM utilizes auditory faculties for results. A person practicing Transcendental Meditation would sit with their eyes closed for the fifteen minute period of time and either chant, make, or listen to a mantra or sound frequency. The practitioner should focus on the sound or repetition for the duration of time, and allow their mind to clear of other concerns. The use of Solfeggio Frequencies can be implemented in conjunction with this method of meditation to benefit other aspects of the mind and body.
Sometimes people just need to get a better grasp on themselves and the reality around them. There are various sub-types of Mindfulness, and it may seem like another type which doesn’t take much practice to figure out, but really is one of the more difficult to use effectively and really gain control over your actions, emotions, and even thoughts.
One type of Mindfulness is referred to by many cultures as “grounding”. It is very common for most people to lose their sense of belonging and connectivity, or lose sight of the wonder of something so simply accepted as living. So, on a higher level, grounding can be used to redefine a person’s perspective and help rid them of unnecessary thoughts and negativity. A more simplified version of grounding is a practice of occupying your mind and reminding yourself of what should truly be valued, which is often taught to people who suffer from anxiety and depression: Find something in your presence which you can: (3) touch, (2)smell, and (1) taste.
Another type of Mindfulness is more of an awareness challenge. In order for one to strengthen memory and concentration, as well as clear their mind of negativity and concerns brought by over-thinking, this common type of meditation can be done.
First, sit comfortably and close your eyes, and focus only on your breathing pattern. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and out through your mouth – do this rhythmically, in a pattern, slowly, and with great patience. While doing this, whenever a thought enters your mind, calmly push it aside and continue to focus on your breathing alone. Don’t get angry or frustrated with an active mind or that itch that won’t go away, just push its banal influence aside, and continue to concentrate. Typically, this is practiced in 30-minute to 1-hour increments. Some cultures have adapted this type of meditation to be done in an extremely uncomfortable position in order to provide something difficult to ignore; this isn’t recommended due to the risk of permanent damage.
There are so many different types of Zen Meditation (Zazen) which are practiced differently in different schools; I don’t intend on getting into much detail into these, but it is highly recommended to be looked into, as it’s regarded as the primary religious practice of Buddhism. I will discuss a type of Zazen which is most common, and used widely as a means of attaining insight into current issues as well as the nature of our existence or meaning of life. Zazen is very similar to the aforementioned Mindfulness meditation, but with far more strict regulations and specified practice requirements. This is because the meditation’s effectiveness is more prominent when considering energy flow, requiring specific breathing, posture, and comfort level.
The practitioner should perform a specific bow to their place of sitting and to the other people near them, which some believe is an action taken to help reduce the likelihood of spiritual conflict with the environment. Then, they should sit cross-legged with their hands folded immediately in front of their stomach, which is where they will be breathing from as the center of gravity and an important chakra location. There are four standard sitting styles: Kekkafuza, Hankafuza, Burmese, and Seiza. Each style of sitting redirects energy flow more prosperously to different locations.
Not a lot of people consider Prayer to be a type of meditation. But, if you really think about it, Prayer is essentially the same thing as many other types of meditation and other practices with insignificant cultural differences. When a person prays, they assume a posture, typically lowering their heads and pressing their palms together, either balled or with fingers extended. Prayers can be said internally or voiced and shared with others, much like other mantra-based practices. All mantras “push” the person’s mind, emotions, intentions, and thoughts to a specific channel, whether they’re used in prayer, meditation, or sigils. So, prescripted prayers which have been culturally inherited have the same influence as these other mantra based meditations.
Additionally, prayers are typically meant to be said while concentrating on intentions, disregarding other influences, requiring the practitioner to clear their mind and push out negativity. The act of Praying, when done correctly, pushes significant energy toward the intended goal, having an effect spiritually, subconsciously on the practitioner, and religiously. Even the idea of group-praying being more effectual lines up with some of the taught beliefs of Zazen in the strength of multiple sources of similar intention. The same principal applies as what can be found in theories of thought-forms or Tulpa, which I’ve discussed in a previous article.
Meditation is an incredibly powerful “tool” which most people use and don’t even realize, but, unfortunately, many don’t even consider. I strongly encourage further research into the various types of meditation and their potential uses in your life; find one which will help you clear your mind and find your own truths.