The most common image that comes to mind when people think about meditation is of a person probably sitting under a tree with their legs crossed and eyes closed, humming “Ohmmm”. The reality is a little different. Meditation can be complex because there are so many ways to do it. What might work for bringing peace to one person may end up doing nothing for the other.
In this article, we will look at 3 popular meditation styles and techniques for you to try:
1. Vipassana Meditation
Vipassana means “Insight”, which is having awareness of exactly what is happening when it happens. In this type of meditation, you use your concentration to bring your awareness away from illusions and distractions that may be blocking you from living reality. This meditation heightens your senses and makes you be completely present to life’s smallest things.
How to do it: Sit down with your legs crossed. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your stomach. Start breathing as you normally do. No need to quicken or slow down your breathing. Keep your focus on the flow of your breath as it passes in and out. Also, focus on the movement of your stomach as it rises and falls with each breath. If you have distracting thoughts, don’t engage with them. Just let them pass and bring your attention back to your breathing.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
With mindfulness meditation, your goal is to make your mind calm. It also aims to help you reach a state where you can observe events and accept everything without judgment. When you are deep in a mindful state, your mind doesn’t go blank. You are keenly aware of everything happening around you, but you let it happen without being part of the drama.
How to do it: Sit down with your legs crossed, and actually be aware of your whole body. Focus your gaze down, just a few inches away from the tip of your nose. Your gaze shouldn’t be hard, keep it soft. Focus on the natural flow of your breath and relax with each breath. When a thought enters your mind, acknowledge it. Tell yourself that it may be an important thought, but you will not think about it more because you are meditating right now.
3. Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation is a type of mantra meditation that lets you be in a relaxed state of awareness without the need to concentrate or contemplate. You use a word, or mantra, to calm your mind and to transcend thought itself, so you can advance to a state of pure awareness.
How to do it: Sit down with your legs crossed, and close your eyes. Then think of a mantra. Repeat that mantra as you meditate and let it change as it wants too. It may grow louder or softer or fainter or faster. Let it take the course it wants to. Let thoughts enter and leave your mind along with the mantra. When thoughts will your mind and you distract yourself from the mantra, that’s okay, just quietly bring the mantra back. Towards the end, stop thinking of your mantra and then open your eyes after two minutes.
Every method may not work for you, but by trying each one, you will know which technique brings you the most inner peace. For best results, do it every day until it becomes part of your daily routine.