There is something to be said about mastering the art of emptying your mind of all thought. If you have never meditated before, this may seem like an easy task. However, this is not the case! Meditation is a practice that does not come easily to most people…me included! This article is the first part of a meditation series, mainly written for beginners of meditation. In this article, I will discuss the different ways that you can meditate.
Different types of basic meditation techniques
1. Concentrative meditation. Here, you would focus on emptying all thought from your mind with the goal of gaining more concentration, awareness and clarity.
2. Mindfulness meditation. In this type of meditation, rather than clearing your mind you open it. You would open your mind to become fully aware of everything around you, such as scents, sounds and thoughts.
How to begin with concentrative meditation techniques
I personally find this the most difficult type of meditation, because no one is guiding me and my mind always wanders. With practice, concentrative meditation becomes easier, so the key is to practice it often. Obviously, it is easiest to begin in a dim and quiet room. Make yourself comfortable, and even lie down if you would like.
Shut your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel your breath through your nose, in and out….in and out. When you begin to feel more relaxed, start counting your breaths as this may help to keep your mind from wandering. Focus on slowing down your breath, holding it slightly and letting it out as slow as possible. This helps you to get oxygen into the bottom of your lungs.
If you are stressed-out, your breathing will be short and fast when you first start this meditation technique. As you start to relax, your breathing will slow down and become regulated. As you focus on your breathing, your mind will become absorbed with the regulation of your breathing and all your thoughts should eventually vanish from your mind. The idea is that once you are able to rid yourself of the thoughts of everyday life, you can reach that inner sense of peace that exists in everyone. Meditation helps to calm the mind and body to give you insight. Many problems have been resolved during meditation! You must be patient and persistent in meditating in order for your mind to become clear.
As is the case with new meditators, you will start to think about something. I always get the urge to think, “stop thinking!“, which does not really help me to meditate. The best thing to do when your mind wanders is to go back to counting, or repeating a word (mantra) silently in your mind. Which brings me to discuss the different types of concentrative meditation techniques:
1. Mantra meditation. This is when you repeat a word or phrase in beat with your breathing. Some people cho0se to say the mantra out loud, but quite honestly I feel ridiculous doing that and say it silently in my head. It is up to you.
2. Zen meditation. This is one type of concentrative meditation in which you concentrate on the functioning of the heart. This is a more advanced meditation technique, that I may write an article about later.
3. Raja Yoga Meditation. This form of meditation helps you to gain control of your mind to enable to you to develop a sense of peace. Another advanced form of meditation, focused on the ”life force of your body” as it moves through the spine and into the “Third Eye” which is a point between your eyebrows.
Moving on with a mindfulness meditation technique
Mindfulness meditation is on a complete other spectrum, and may be easier for beginners. However, I recommend that you begin with concentrative meditation and move on to mindfulness meditation so that you recieve more benefit from it.
You will begin by sitting again, but this time you will freely allow thoughts to enter your mind. Acknowledge your thoughts, but do not concentrate on them. Instead of focusing on one individual thought, allow each thought to become part of one big picture. This meditation technique trains your mind to meditate on things in your life over which you have no control, and brings you a heightened sense of inner peace to deal with those problems.
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