Finding the right style of meditation for your needs is important. While meditation may be simple, the practice of meditation is difficult. This is mostly because in our phone-addicted and over-stimulating world, the act of concentration and/or quieting the mind is getting harder and harder to achieve. I’ve been a student of meditation for over 28 years and have been teaching meditation for about 15 years. So, to say that I am a huge fan would not be overstating it. While there are many physical benefits of meditation, I think the most important outcomes come from the spiritual side of the practice. Finding the type of meditation that will achieve your desired outcomes will help you be consistent so you can reap the benefits of this life-changing practice.
Styles of Meditation
Before we talk about the benefits, let’s talk about some of the different types or styles of meditation. Each technique and style has its unique focus and approach. Most styles fall into one of two categories. Either it is directive, meaning that you are focusing on a single point, idea or mantra, etc.. Or non-directive, meaning the individual opens up their awareness and just allows things to move in and out of their field of consciousness. It is important to understand your goals, and what you hope to get out of your meditation practice so you can choose a style that meets your needs. Try a few and find the one that most resonates with you.
Here are some of the different types of meditation:
- Mindfulness Meditation: This style involves paying non-judgmental attention to the present moment, and observing thoughts, sensations, and emotions without getting attached to them.
- Loving-Kindness Meditation: Also known as Metta meditation, it involves generating feelings of love, compassion, and goodwill towards oneself and others. It typically involves repeating positive affirmations or phrases.
- Transcendental Meditation (TM): This technique involves the use of a mantra, a word or sound repeated silently, to focus the mind and achieve a state of deep relaxation and awareness.
- Vipassana Meditation: Vipassana means “insight” or “clear-seeing.” It involves developing a deep awareness of the body, sensations, thoughts, and emotions. This technique aims to cultivate insight and wisdom.
- Zen Meditation: Zen, originating from Zen Buddhism, focuses on seated meditation (zazen) and emphasizes direct experience and self-discovery. It often involves observing the breath or engaging in contemplation.
- Guided Meditation: In this style, a meditation teacher or an audio recording guides the practitioner through a meditation session, providing instructions, visualizations, or prompts to enhance relaxation and focus.
- Kundalini Meditation: Kundalini is a form of yoga-based meditation that incorporates breathwork, chanting, repetitive movements, and visualization to awaken and channel the energy within the body.
- Walking Meditation: As the name suggests, this style involves meditating while walking. It emphasizes paying attention to the movement of the body, the sensations in the feet, and the surrounding environment.
- Body Scan Meditation: This technique involves systematically focusing attention on different parts of the body, usually starting from the toes and moving upward, to develop body awareness and release tension.
Spiritual Benefits of Meditation
There are so many mental and physical benefits to meditation like stress reduction, increased concentration, and decreased reactivity to situations. But for me, the spiritual benefits are why I have been a student for so long. Meditation is an integral part of my intuitive readings and has provided me with the level of concentration and awareness needed to glean insight into my energy work too.
While the specific experiences and benefits can vary from person to person, here are some of the more common spiritual benefits of meditation:
Enhanced self-awareness: Through regular meditation practice, individuals can develop a deeper understanding of themselves, their thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior. This self-awareness can lead to personal growth, self-discovery, and a greater sense of authenticity.
Inner peace and calm: Meditation cultivates a state of inner stillness and calmness, allowing individuals to experience a sense of peace and tranquility. It helps to quiet the mind, reduce mental chatter, and find a refuge from the stresses and demands of everyday life.
Connection with the present moment: Meditation encourages individuals to focus on the present moment, to fully experience and appreciate the here and now. This can lead to a deeper sense of presence, mindfulness, and an increased ability to fully engage in life’s experiences. It is in the present moment that insights and intuitions arise.
Spiritual growth and insight: Meditation can facilitate spiritual growth by providing a space for introspection, contemplation, and the exploration of deeper existential questions. It can lead to insights, intuitions, and realizations about the nature of reality, the self, and one’s place in the world.
Expanded consciousness: Through meditation, individuals may have transcendent or mystical experiences that expand their consciousness beyond ordinary perceptions. These experiences can provide a profound sense of interconnectedness, unity, and a glimpse into higher states of consciousness.
Cultivation of compassion and kindness: Many forms of meditation, such as loving-kindness meditation, focus on developing qualities of compassion, kindness, and empathy towards oneself and others. This can foster a deeper sense of connection with others and a more compassionate approach to life.
Spiritual discipline and discipline of the mind: Regular meditation practice requires discipline and commitment. It can help individuals develop a stronger sense of willpower, focus, and mental discipline, which can be applied not only in meditation but also in other aspects of life and spiritual practices.
So think about what you would like to achieve with your meditation practice. Then choose a style that is best suited to your needs. Then practice, practice, practice. Some days it will be easier than others, but with all of these benefits, it is a worthy pursuit that has the potential to bring deeper awareness and balance to all aspects of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies.