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Meditation Part 2: Types Of Meditation

When people say they can’t meditate, it is actually because they didn’t realize they already do throughout their life. Meditation involves a slowly down of the mind from the busyness of constant thinking. We do this naturally already every time we sleep, read a book, play a video game, watch a movie without absorbing it, going on a long car drive, etc. There are four brain waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta. When we are active, our brain waves are mainly in beta waveform. When we slow the mind down to sleep, our brain goes through alpha and theta to sleep and, in sleep, we bounce between theta and delta with delta being the majority of time. When we are focused on something and tune everything else out like listening wholeheartedly to a song or dancing with great emotion, our brain slows down. We meditate on one thing to the complete blockage of everything else. So, in gist, we meditate all the time, but to actively take on the act of focusing on one thing at will is harder for some than others and there are a number of different meditation techniques to do this. It’s a matter of finding the right technique and continuing to do it daily until it becomes a habit, easier and easier to do.

There are a variety of meditation apps out there that help those starting practice. The one I currently recommend is Insight Timer. It has a variety of different types of meditations, it’s free and, for a nominal fee, you can access inspiring lectures by the most reputable names in meditation. There are also devices that can help train the brain to more actively go into alpha and theta waves. Muse 2 is one such advice. Apollo Neuro is a device one can wear on them which pulsates to calm the mind. So one can have fun finding and trying gadgets if they like, but below are a list of different types of meditation to get one started.

  • Mindfulness Meditation – This is a meditation that originated in Buddhism and is often used in psychology and hospitals to help guide people to self-discovery and self-acceptance. It is basically a combination of awareness, acceptance and concentration. In basic form, it is finding a quiet space and watching your passing thoughts without judgement or getting emotionally involved in them and taking note of patterns. It can be used to show one what their subconscious mind is constantly feeding the conscious mind which, in turn, colors the experiences we have on a daily basis. When one truly stops to see the nature of their thought processes, they can see how changing these thoughts can change their view on life and is very helpful in improving one’s happiness.

  • Spiritual Meditation – This type of meditation is used often in many religions in the form of prayers and mantras. There are a variety of them from repetitive prayers counted out with a rosary or mala beads to silent meditation on connecting with a higher power or God. The power of spiritual meditations is a sense of connection to something greater that makes us feel loved and safe.

  • Focus Meditation – This meditation involves focusing on one thing. This is something we already do as stated above like reading a book, playing a video game, focusing completely on one task to the point where one tunes out everything else. In this meditation, the focus is on our breath, a candle, listening to a sound like a gong, counting mala beads or prayer beads. The point is to have the mind not wander, just focus on the task at hand and give the mind a break from the many worries it has.

  • Movement Meditation – I’ve met a number of athletes who state they don’t like sitting meditation, but they do meditate when running or biking. This is a form of movement meditation. Your mind relaxes and your body serves to keep it relaxed. Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Yoga are east Asian forms of movement meditation where your concentration is on one part of the body, one action while blocking out all others. It brings the mind into the present moment and blocks out the past and the future. So, yeah, meditation doesn’t have to be in the form of sitting and contemplating one’s belly button. One can do a movement meditation as simple as walking in a circle and following one’s breath.

  • Mantra Meditation – This is discussed in the above meditations, but has some merit by itself. Mantras are considered by many east Asian cultures to have power in and of themselves. The most reputable one is Om. Om, Aum (and later adepted as Amen) is believed to be the sound of God (and some gnostic Christian cultures believe is the Holy Ghost that binds us to God). It is the sound that God makes when he/she created the universe and it is the sound that holds the universe and us together. When meditated on, some feel that they connect more closely to Spirit that lives within them. From there, one can travel down the road of different Sanskrit mantras (most of which have Om in some form or fashion in the mantra).

  • Transcendental Meditation – This became the most sought after meditation in the 60s/70s when rock groups like the Beatles started to use it. It’s pretty similar to mantra meditation, but put here because it deserves it’s own place for those who have heard of it and want to know more. There are teachers that can provide one with more training on it as they go through a certification process to teach this special mantra meditation.

  • Progressive Relaxation Meditation – This meditation involves body scans and the VA has recently adapted it into their mental health programs. Progressive relaxation is aimed at relaxing the body one body part at a time. It generally involves tightening and relaxing one body part at a time and is a great way to unwind from the day. To try one of these meditations, download Insight Timer app and search through guided meditation for Yoga Nidra which means night yoga. It is a great meditation to relax the body for bedtime

  • Loving-Kindness Meditation – There is a subset of Buddhist meditation that focuses simply on loving oneself and finding love for others. It strengthens feelings of love, compassion and forgiveness and dispels constant feelings of depression, anxiety, anger/frustration and guilt. If done with genuine perseverance, it can change one’s outlook on life to happiness in a way that is life-changing and may decrease/dispel many physical health symptoms that are perpetuated by a negative mindset.

  • Visualization Meditation – This meditation is truly the easiest one to do for those who say they can’t meditate. Unless someone has a complete lack of imagination, one will get benefit from this meditation. Guided meditations are great and involves someone guiding the person through scenarios to calm the mind and access positivity/relaxation such as having them imagine sitting on a beautiful beach and listening to the waves as they hear them playing in the room they are in or walking a forest path while listening to the sound of wind through the trees. These truly can be powerful in calming the body and mind and many instances, people can have a cathartic release of emotion to help heal themselves. Insight Timer App has thousands of guided meditations for one to try.

Meditation is a life coping mechanism. It helps us maintain our composure and our happiness when dealing with life experiences. Without coping mechanisms, people become so overwhelmed with their emotional and physical pain that they cannot function in life. It is never too late to embrace meditation.

“Change yourself and you have done your part to change the world” – Paramahansa Yoginanda


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