Part 2: Introduction To Meditation

- Lesson #06

05-Types-of-meditation

If you consider any type of mindfulness practice as a form of meditation, the types of meditation are almost endless. There are, however, a number of formal styles that you may wish to consider once you’ve learned the basics. All offer different approaches and set different intentions. None of them are any better or worse, it comes down to each individual’s personal choice and what you find works best for you.

  • Chakra Meditation

Chakra is a Sanskrit word that translates to ‘wheel’ or ‘disc’ and references the spiritual energy centres of the human body. There are seven main centres or chakras including the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, and crown. It is thought that these energy points can become blocked resulting in physical ailments and disease. Chakra meditation focuses on unblocking and keeping these energy centres clear and flowing with pure energy, resulting in better health.

  • Christian Meditation

The goal of contemplative practices in Christianity is moral purification and a deeper understanding of the Bible, or a closer intimacy with God and Christ. This can include contemplative prayer, contemplative reading, and sitting with God. Contemplative prayer usually involves the silent repetition of sacred words or sentences, with focus and devotion. Contemplative reading involves thinking deeply about the teachings of the Bible. Sitting with God is to focus mind, heart and soul on the presence of God.

  • Focused attention meditation

This is possibly one of the most common styles of meditating, especially for beginners. It is where you focus all of your attention on just one thing such as breath, a body part, a visualisation, a single thought, or something external such as a candle flame, a point on a wall or picture, a crystal, etc.

  • Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a modern approach to teaching meditation to a wide group of people and is one of the easiest ways to start practising meditation. There are guided meditations for almost every style of meditation out there and basically consists of following the instructions of a guide. Because of their nature, guided meditations can be delivered in person, groups, recorded on CD’s or listened to on the internet. They can also include music, sound effects and binaural beats to enhance the experience.

  • Hypnotic Meditation

Similar to a guided meditation, hypnotic meditation is different in that it uses hypnotic language to speak directly to the unconscious mind. Because of this, hypnotic meditation can help the practitioner gain deeper and more profound results faster than may be possible practising alone. This is particularly useful for people with busy minds who do not find it easy to relax and quiet the mind.

  • I AM Meditation

This meditation is designed to investigate our true nature by asking the question ‘who am I?’ This practice is said to culminate with intimate knowledge of the true self of the practitioner. This is a powerful approach to bringing inner freedom and peace.

  • Kundalini Meditation

The goal of Kundalini meditation is to awaken the kundalini energy which lies dormant, coiled at the base of the spine, develop several psychic centres in the body, and eventually achieve enlightenment. The word ‘kundalini’ translates from Sanskrit to ‘coiled one’. There are several dangers associated with this practice, and it should not be attempted without a qualified teacher.

  • Loving Kindness Meditation

This meditation from Buddhist traditions can boost one’s ability to empathise with others, develop positive emotions through compassion, grow a more loving attitude towards oneself, increase self-acceptance, instil a greater feeling of competence about one’s life, and increase the feeling of purpose in life.

  • Mindfulness Meditation

An adaptation from traditional Buddhist meditation practices, ‘Mindfulness’ is the common western translation for the Buddhist term sati. Anapanasati translates to ‘mindfulness of breathing’. Mindfulness meditation is one of the easiest ways to start meditating.

  • OM Meditation

OM or Mantra meditation is a Hindu meditation. A mantra is a syllable or word without any particular meaning. This is then repeated for the purpose of focusing your mind. Some claim that the vibrations associated with specific pronunciations are important in gaining the full experience.

  • Open attention meditation

This is the opposite of a focused attention meditation. Instead of focusing your attention on just one thing, you open your awareness to all things such as thoughts, emotions, sensations, memories, as well as what you are sensing and what is going on around you. Just allowing everything to occur without judgement or reaction. Simply allowing all perception to flow through and out as if you are merely an observer.

  • Prana Meditation

The full term being ‘Pranayama’ is a form of breathing regulation and is technically not a meditation. However, it is a good practice for calming the mind and balancing moods. There are several variations, the simplest being the 4-4-4-4 breathing exercise. This means breathing in to the count of 4, holding for 4, breathing out for 4, and holding empty for 4.

  • Pure being meditation

The state of pure being is generally the purpose behind most meditation. It is a state of quiet emptiness where all things are let go leaving only the pure introspective presence of the meditator.

  • Qigong Meditation

Qigong sometimes spelled ‘chi kung’, or ‘chi gung’ is a Chinese word meaning life energy cultivation. It is a body-mind exercise for health, meditation, and martial arts training which typically involves slow body movement, inner focus, and regulated breathing.

  • Sound Meditation

This meditation is the focusing on sounds. Often with the use of bells, gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, flutes, and more. All attention is focused on the sound to quiet the mind until the practitioner eventually hears the internal sounds of the body and mind.

  • Sufi Meditation

Sufism is the esoteric path within Islam with the goal of purifying oneself to achieve union with Allah. Practitioners follow a collection of spiritual and meditative practices including contemplation of God, heartbeat meditation, breathing meditation, bond of love meditation, and gazing meditation, among others.

  • Tantra Meditations

Although often associated with the idea of ritualised sex, Tantra is actually a collection of contemplative practices with over a hundred different meditations.

  • Taoist Meditations

Pronounced Dowist, this is a collection of practices that date back to the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in the 6th century B.C. and was influenced by Buddhist meditation. The main aspect to this meditation is the creation, transformation, and circulation of inner energy for the purpose of quieting the mind and body, bringing together the body and spirit, finding inner peace and harmony with the Tao. Tao meaning, the absolute principle underlying the Universe.

  • Third Eye Meditation

A form of focused attention meditation where the focus is the third eye or the point between the eyebrows. Some claim this can lead to experiencing a higher sense of consciousness, increasing intuition, aligning with the law of attraction, and gaining a greater understanding of the universe within.

  • Transcendental Meditation

This is a specific form of Mantra Meditation originating in India and was brought to fame in the West by pop culture icons such as the Beatles and The Beach Boys. Transcendental meditation can only be taught by a licensed instructor and can cost thousands of dollars. Something that has brought the technique many critics.

  • Vipassana Meditation

A traditional Buddhist meditation, dating back to 6th century BC that is still practised today in a more westernised version. It is good for grounding yourself and observing how your mind works.

  • Yoga Meditations

Yoga, meaning ‘union’ goes as far back as 1700 B.C. Yoga is more than just one type of meditation and brings together many practices such as rules of conduct, physical postures, breathing exercises and contemplative practices, all with the goal of spiritual purification. It is also the oldest known meditation practise on Earth.

  • Zen meditation

As mentioned earlier, Zen comes from Japanese Buddhism and is sometimes referred to as Zazen meaning ‘seated meditation’. This is the meditation traditionally linked to the iconic lotus position of someone sitting on the floor with their legs crossed, back straight and hands touching to form a circle. The practitioner then commonly focuses on the breath or a form of open attention meditation.

Your Teacher

James Cole

James Cole

James is an author of the book Empowering Thoughts, a meditation educator, empowerment specialist, hypnotherapist, filmmaker, and photo-artist. He has had a passion for meditation since being introduced at high school. Since then he has studied various forms of meditation before discovering hypnosis and recognising the similarities. He now teaches hypnotic meditation, as well as creating and publishing guided meditations that people can use for personal development. his creative work can be found at JamesCole.com.au

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