Finding The Right Meditation For You
Meditation is the practice of sharpening the focus of your mind, connecting to the body and being at one with your breath. It is about noticing your thoughts, but not engaging with them, accepting and working with strong emotions, being completely aware of the present moment and nothing else, and sometimes even altering your consciousness.
Meditation techniques have been used for thousands of years for spiritual and religious reasons as part of teachings, although the act of meditation does not belong exclusively to any particular religion or faith. It is an ancient practice still used today by many cultures and individuals, used to harness calm and inner harmony and a way to disconnect from the stresses of our everyday lives.
I wanted to talk about some of the health benefits that can be gained from introducing meditation into your life, and some of the varied methods of meditation. There are many types and ways to meditate, but they won’t all work for you. It’s about finding the best fit for you and your lifestyle. There’s no right or wrong way to meditate, but in order to introduce it into your life successfully, it needs to be something that works for you and fulfills your needs.
Some people feel like stopping to ‘do nothing’ is a lot of time wasted for not much gain, but for me, meditation only adds to my life. Every moment spent on the ‘nothing’, although it is far from that, is only amplified with what it returns to me.
Meditation is known to reduce stress and anxiety, not only from the act of meditating and allowing our mind to slow, but it has the ability to shift our fixation on negative emotions so they no longer overpower and overwhelm. Meditation improves inner peace, calm, boosts low moods, and helps aid with sleep issues.
Meditation promotes better cognition & attention span, and improves focus and memory. When you are learning the act of concentrated focus and stilling the mind, it seeps into other aspects of your life outside the time you devote to meditation.
Meditation enhances self-awareness and empathy by connecting to positive emotions that evoke empathy and compassion for ourselves and others. By looking within we can better see outside of ourselves to view the world from a more caring perspective. We gain greater emotional flexibility within ourselves and surrounding our relationships.
“Meditation is not evasion, it is a serene encounter with reality.” - Thich Nhat Hanh -
There is so much to gain from meditation, so today, I want to talk about 7 different types of meditation that you might like to try, so you too can enjoy some of the benefits in your life.
Mindfulness is the act of being fully present in the moment. It originates from Buddhism, and is one of the most widely used and popular forms of meditation in the West.
In mindfulness meditation, you are encouraged to be aware of your thoughts, whilst not getting tangled up with them. It’s about observing, not judging. Awareness, not dwelling. No thoughts of the past, no fear of the future, you will simply embrace being in the present. So, emotions and thoughts may drift into your head, which you will notice as they pass through your mind, but you will not engage with them.
This meditation is a combination of awareness and concentration. It may be helpful to fixate on an object, perhaps a crystal in your hand, or focus solely on your breathing, while at the same time, noticing thoughts, feelings, and what is happening in your body.
This is a great type of meditation to do with guidance. It is an easy meditation to practice alone.
Like mindfulness meditation forces you to focus on the thoughts and feelings present in your mind, breath awareness encourages you to concentrate on your breathing. It is, itself, a form of mindfulness meditation, as you become mindful of your breath and the single act of breathing.
Practitioners breathe slowly and deeply, counting their breaths. The idea is to focus only on your breathing, to dismiss and ignore any other thoughts that cross your mind. You do this by breathing slow and deep, and counting each breath as you inhale and exhale.
This meditation is ideal for anyone wanting to help improve their focus or attention. Like any skill we spend time practicing, our ability sharpens.
Focused meditation uses any of the five senses to concentrate heavily on a single thing. It might be internal, like your breathing, or something external which you can hold or stare at. Some examples might include listening to a gong, staring into the flickering flame of a candle or up at the moon, or counting your breaths or mala beads.
It’s harder than it sounds to focus on a single thing at a time without distraction, but it is possible. If you notice your mind wandering, simply redirect it back to where you are wanting the focus and continue on.
This is a beautiful form of meditation for those who find peace and stillness through movement, and for those who desire greater body awareness. Movement meditation includes many types of focused movement. Some examples are yoga, walking, tai chi, qi gong, and even gardening.
Movement with meditation helps you gain greater connection with your body whilst forcing you to remain in the present moment.
Visualisation meditation is a method used to promote feelings of relaxation and calm, or to increase motivation and drive. It might involve visualising a particular scene with great detail, involving all the senses, or bringing a figure to mind with the intention of using the meditation to embody their qualities.
Another way visualisation meditation works is by imagining yourself succeeding at specific goals, or releasing emotions holding you back, both of which aim to increase your focus at what it is you’re hoping to achieve in life.
If you’d like to try a visualisation meditation, my forgiveness ritual is a beautiful meditation to do if you are needing to remove the weight of anger and resentment from your shoulders.
Guided meditation Guided meditation is almost self explanatory, you have a teacher by your side, either via an app, a recording, or an in-person guide, walking you through the meditation. Their voice and the actions they give are the only thing you need to focus on. It is perfect for beginners, because really, it is like holding someone's hand while they pull you along the forest path; they guide the way, you simply follow.
It is similar to hypnosis, using imagery and visualisation to induce deep relaxation. The most important thing with guided meditation is to find a teacher you feel comfortable with and who you connect with.
If you want to try a guided meditation, you might enjoy my Healing Temple Meditation.
Transcendental Meditation ( TM ) is something you might like to try for a way to experience a deeper level of meditation. TM is a spiritual type of meditation that’s goal is to induce a state of peace by quieting the mind and helping you rise higher than your current state of being.
It is a seated meditation that involves a mantra and is most often taught by a TM teacher.
As you can see, there are so many varied options for you to try, but remember, if you have never tried meditation before, don’t expect to be as good as a monk overnight. It does take some practice. At the same time, don’t fixate over the struggle of learning the art. Just appreciate what you are doing in this moment as you start it. That in itself is a benefit to you. And each session that follows your first needs to be the same. Don’t cause yourself anxiety trying to learn, just sit and do, the learning comes from the doing.
Remember, if the method you attempt isn’t quite the right fit, try another type of meditation. There’s so many different options, and like I said earlier, not each one will suit each of us. Just like a pair of jeans, you need to find the pair you’re most comfortable in.
Try not to think about the results, what will change for you WHEN you perfect the practice of meditation, WHEN you learn to do it everyday without fault, WHEN you can do it easily. Of course, all of those things will build on the benefits it brings into your life, but so will adding this one single session into your day. The key is to enjoy this moment. The one you’re in now. Not the moment after the meditation. Focus on now, that is the most important and beneficial place to be.
And the more you do it, and the more easily it comes to you, that is when you have found your match. That is the meditation that’s right for you. That is when it becomes your favourite pair of jeans you never want to put in the wash.
If you want another meditation to try, my Cellular Memory Release Meditation is a beautiful guided meditation which focuses on releasing feelings of being unloved, unworthy, undeserving and overwhelmed. It is free when you sign up to my monthly newsletter. Scroll to the bottom of my web page to sign up.
Wishing you many serene meditations in the days to follow,