The word meditation covers a wide array of practices, from mindful walking and eating to meditation through the use of mantras. Some meditation practitioners prefer one style over another and choose to practice the method they prefer, while others choose to practice a variety of methods based on the benefits to them and the value each brings to their lives. The following are a few different types of meditation along with a brief explanation of each:
Mantra means instrument of the mind and there are many different mantras, which can each be used for individual purposes. A mantra can offer a specific sound with no meaning and the fact that it is a repetitive sound with no meaning allows for your mind to turn within until you are able to reach a point where you transcend through completely and go into a state of complete silence.
Most of our thoughts transport us either into the future or the past or both. With this, this is where most of us spend our lives – in the future or the past, rather than in the present and that is how we miss out on the present. Your breath, however, can never be in the present or the future – it is in the present. By simply sitting in silence with eyes closed and observing your breath flow in and out, you are immediately carried to the present moment. This can have a great impact on centering and grounding you and allowing your thoughts to calm to their deepest and most present level in silence.
During a guided meditation, you are led through a series of experiences. As you are instructed, you will visualize certain things including surroundings, feelings and other things to be aware of. Many people enjoy this type of meditation because someone else is directing you and you just have to follow their instructions. While guided meditations do require that you keep the mind engaged, versus other types of meditations that release your mind from being engaged, this type of meditation can be very useful in helping you to relieve physical, mental and emotional challenges.
This type of meditation can also be referred to as reflection and encourages one to look back over past events and situations. This can be practiced at the end of the day, for example, as a way to meditate on the events of the day without judgment and solely as a means of processing and witnessing events and your reactions to particular situations. In this type of practice, you are able to appreciate that who you are is a witness in all experiences – a timeless self in the middle of many time-bound activities and situations.
Contemplation consists of thinking about things and exploring all parts of it. It can consist of you asking yourself who you are, what you want, what your purpose it, what you are thankful for and so on. This type of meditation allows you to look to your inner self for answers, ask questions, and then listen for answers from the deepest parts of yourself – directed by your own divine inner wisdom.
Prayer can come in many forms, from expressing gratitude to asking God for help in times of desperation and need. The ultimate form of prayer comes in the form of surrender and surrendering to the “plan” of the Divine.
Other forms of meditation include mindful eating, where you come to understand the sacred act of eating and appreciating food, and mindful walking (or dancing, bicycling or other activity) where you are fully aware throughout the activity and taking part in the activity with full presence rather than thinking about what you have to do next.
Meditation means to be aware and to have clear focus and direction. When you learn to live with awareness and begin to make conscious choices your entire life can become a meditative experience. Until that point, integrating meditation into as much of your life as possible and making the journey into peaceful meditation and back brings many profound benefits to your health and life overall.