The Gift of Meditation
“The gift of learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime.” – Sogyal Rinpoche
Meditation is more than just sitting down and concentrating for five to fifteen minutes. In fact, there are several different versions of meditation that you can use in your daily life. Meditation offers a break from the day and the chance to refocus and gather your thoughts so that you can relieve the tension and get ready for your next challenge.
Meditation is a gift that can be used when you need it in order to lower stress, focus on your goals or simply relax and reflect upon your day. However you use the gift of meditation is up to you, just remember that it is there when you need it.
Different Types of Meditation
When many people think of meditation, they often refer to the seated variety which is certainly one of the most popular and most often discussed. However, there are actually several different versions of mediation that you can use on a daily basis. Remember that there is no best form of meditation and you can use as many of these techniques as you want, whenever you want.
Chakra: There are seven chakras or energetic centers in the body with each associated by a different sound, purpose and color. In yoga, these meditations can be very powerful if you focus on connecting with a single element either physical or emotional. Generally speaking, this form of meditation uses the placement of hands, visualization and sound to help connect all the chakras and provide healing energy to the body or address a particular emotion.
Kundalini: This is a form of meditation that taps the energy located at the base of the spine. When it is released, it will surge upwards to create a Kundalini awakening that begins the path towards enlightenment. This form of meditation uses mantras, hand placement, chants and breathing techniques to unlock the unconscious mind, energize it and bring it out into the open.
Loving-Kindness: Also known as Metta which means kindness and friendliness that knows no bound, this particular technique originates in Tibetan Buddhist teachings. This form of meditation works on boosting positivity, acceptance, kindness and empathy towards yourself and others. By starting with yourself, this form of meditation can flow outwards towards how you feel about others.
Mindfulness: This is a catch-all phrase for several different types of meditation practices that are similar in nature. Each of these creates insight and awareness by focusing the attention of observation and accepting what arises without passing judgment. This form of mediation is similar to Buddhist teachings, but it also incorporates other philosophies and practices in a manner that is nonsectarian. Mindfulness meditation has a very broad appeal, is simple to employ and its open philosophy makes it one of the most popular in the Western world.
MBSR: Standing for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, this is a form of meditation that takes place over an eight week period. First developed in 1979, this form of meditation combines traditional mindful meditation techniques with yoga to create a unique form that is used by people around the world. The goal is to successfully manage your stress, anxiety and even chronic pain. People of all ages and backgrounds use this type of meditation for their particular needs and it is taught in hospitals, clinics, medical centers and universities.
Primordial Sound (PSM): This is a mantra-based technique that comes originally from India. An ancient practice that was recently revived, it is fairly simple and people of all ages can use it to get in touch with the universe that surrounds them. PSM guides the person on the vibration that was being cast through the universe at the time and location of their birth so that you can reach a quieter place in the world. By silently repeating the mantra, you can slip into a place that offers stillness while experiencing pure awareness which will help you reach a higher state.
Transcendental: This is another technique that is based in mantras. Like PSM, it comes from India and each person will have their own unique mantra to use. However, there are differences in how the mantra is selected, the instructions for using them and how long a person should meditate using this particular technique.
“The mantra that you’re given in Transcendental Meditation you keep to yourself. The reason being, true happiness is not out there, true happiness lies within.” – David Lynch
Yoga Nidra: Sanskrit for “yogic sleep”, this is a very restful, relaxing type of meditation that comes from the Tantra tradition in yoga. Generally speaking, you will sit or lie down in a comfortable position and begin a process of visualization along with guided instruction that leads to a very deep trance-like state. This is not sleeping, but instead focusing on the elements in the meditation for maximum results.
Zen: Called Zazen for “seated meditation”, this form was originated in Japan and is practices by millions of people. Here, you focus your awareness on how you breathe and entertain the thoughts that enter your mind, watching them float by. By emphasizing the breath at the belly and not the nose, you hold a strict posture during this time while keeping your eyes open.
How Meditation Can Help You Live Well
“Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Meditation offers a number of gifts for the mind and body, particularly for those who are in need of pulling away from their hectic life. With meditation, you can find balance once again that will not only energize the body, but bring direction to the mind and soul. The good news is that you can choose from any of these techniques and the many more that exists in the world to help you find the right balance needed for your life.
For those who are seeking the gift of meditation, the good news is that it is available for anyone to use. With the different number of techniques that are available, you can try one or more and find the right meditative program that will help you achieve your goals. Whether you need to relax the mind and body or become energized in accomplishing your dreams, meditation can provide the pathway for you to focus your energies in that particular direction.
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity. ~Sivananda Saraswati
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