When you say meditation, what exactly comes to your mind? Sitting in one posture and focus on an object or chant constantly? Before we proceed with a complete meditation guideline, let us first understand what the word meditation actually mean.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practise where the mind crosses the conscience bar and enters a zone of deep relaxation of body and mind. It is beyond any religious practise. It is largely practised to go beyond the common awareness and let you enter a state of ultimate awareness of your inner conscious.
Origin and History of Meditation.
Let us look back at the roots of the practice of Meditation. The word meditation is derived from the Latin word ‘meditatum’ which means to ponder or think deeply. The roots of meditation lies in the religious chants of ancient civilisation. The chants were rhythmic and repetitive in nature to appease the ancient religious gods. The chanting are now known as chant mantras. These chant mantras are still used for certain meditative practise.
Antiquity – The earliest record of meditation practise has been noticed in Hindu religion, Vedanta to be precise. That goes back to 1500 B. C when meditation was practised in Vedantism. Meditation then was started in Buddhist religious offering and the Taoist, Chinese religious practice. On the other hand, some believe that meditation practise had its origin in Eastern Asia and was spread via the Silk Road.
Growth in the middle ages – The Japanese Buddhism took a surge after the growth of Chinese Buddhism. This led to the growth of Japanese Zen. In the meantime Jewish meditation was also growing and was also revolutionizing. The Christian practiced meditation in a particular mode and pose. The western Christian meditation contradicted the single posture meditative practice.
The Modern Time – In the modern times, the Buddhist meditative practice became more prevalent. Yoga session and classes popped up at various places. In fact at this time period, meditation took the transformation from religious practice to a mind exercise to relax stress and promote self-satisfaction.
Now let us discuss seven different types of meditation which are more commonly in practice now.
Seven most effective forms and techniques of meditation:
Vipassana Meditation :
The best way to define this form of meditation is insight meditation. The purpose is to actualise the inner sense. The mind is made to wander and to feel the existence of life. It is a both way practise. You let in the outer world feelings to come inside your mind, but at the same time you practise to remain detach from them.
It is believed by some, that Vipassana meditation was first introduced byBuddha himself, therefore it is practised in Major Buddhist meditation.
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How to practise Vipassana Meditation
First of all, find a quiet place to practice this meditation. It is recommended to do this meditation in open air. Sit with crossed legs and your back straight. You can sit in on a chair if you have a back problem.
You have to breathe in through your nose and then breathe out through your mouth. Each time you breathe in and breathe out, you observe your abdomen movements with each breath. Slowly you start concentrating into the real world life cycle and at the same time get detached from them.
Through this meditation what you achieve is a deeper and clearer awareness of your inner mind. If you do this meditation for an hour in a day, then you can both rise on ground reality and walk away as you wish.
2) Heart Rhythm Meditation
This meditation is practiced to keep a balance between the heart and heartbeat. The heart is the center of all organs, where blood is pumped to reach other organs. The heart is the centre of all emotions too. The goal of this yoga is to know and identity with your heart.
For this meditation, you should be sitting in the grand monolithic posture. That is sitting on your chair on upright position with your back at ninety degree angle. Keep both hands on your knees, palms down and close your eyes. Start breathing slowly. Concentrate on the stillness of your body and stay calm. Let your mind realise the harmony between your breath and your heart. This augments the purification of body, mind and heart.
3) Zazen Meditation
Zazen Meditation, popularly known as Zen Meditation, is practised in Japanese Buddhism. It is a form of sitting meditation. This form of meditation aims at sharpening your senses. This meditation has to be essentially practised while sitting. If you feel uncomfortable while sitting, then there are various postures to choose from. You can opt the ‘half lotus’ position, whereby you can tuck your right leg under your left leg. If your back and leg does not hurt then you can sit in ‘full lotus’ position. You can sit crossed legged on your knee also but if your back and knee is weak, then sit on a chair in upright position.
This meditation wholly focuses on worldly realism and actualising your mind. You start with counting and focussing on your breath. First count till five and breath without thinking anything but your breath. If you can’t, retry. Once you achieve till five, increase counting. With daily practise you will learn to focus on your breath without even counting.
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4) Hypnosis Meditation
This is not a fun party meditation. You can actually meditate and hypnotise yourself. This affirmation meditation is done to get rid of stress and regain self-confidence. First of all, find a place where you will be undisturbed from rest of the world. You will have to believe in the meditation. You should feel the stress moving out of your body. Once you start feeling relaxed, affirm your belief or faith in yourself.
You can try out the hypnosis audio recordings to get a better grip on hypnosis meditation.
5) Mindfulness Meditation
This meditation is followed to increase concentration and focus. After practising this form of meditation, you feel more relaxed and your awareness gets deeper.
For this type of meditation, you can find a place of solitude. Choose any position which you feel you are comfortable. First relax yourself and then focus on your breath. Close your eyes and then shift your focus from one part of body to another, from one organ to another. Then start to explore the sensations within you. Think about your mind, ideas and dreams. Then slowly clear your mind from these thoughts. Make your mind an empty box slowly.
You should practise this meditation and see how it feels. Do not over occupy your mind. Think one thing at a time and then set your thoughts free. Let them wander till you empty your mind from thoughts.
6) Floating Feather meditation
This is the most relaxing and easy form of meditation. If you are a beginner with meditation, then you should start with floating feather meditation. This meditation involves breathing, concentration and visualisation.
First sit on the ground with your back straight or you can sit on a chair if you wish. Breathe in till your belly is full with air. Then slowly breathe out every bit of air inside your lungs. While this breathe in and out, imagine a feather in front of you. When you breathe in,the imagine the feather to fly and drop when you breathe out. Focus on every detail of the feather while you breathe in and out.
7) Guided Visualization Meditation
This form of meditation is practiced to escape into the world of imagination. If for some time, you want to be completely detached from the world of realism; then follow this guided visualization meditation.
First find a quiet place for yourself, then close your eyes and relax your senses. Listen to the audio and engage all your five senses to feel and visualize and imaginary world. Listen and feel the ruffle of leaves, listen to the rumble of train wheels while it is moving. This form of meditation is also used as a psychological tool to get immersed into a visual and imaginary world.
Create a space for meditation in your surroundings.
Choose any form of meditation which you can relate with your present state. Then your next important step would be to create or find a surrounding which compliments your meditation practise perfectly.
Some people believe in having single object as point of focus for meditation. It can be a statue, painting, craft work, candle or a photo.
Decide what you want to derive from your space of meditation. If you want to feel secure and be indoors then it can be paintings with low light surrounding. If you want a visual space, then a solid colour wall or an open space is what you need. Wherever you are, you need to be detached from the outer world and live in your inner world.
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Simple tips to meditate successfully:
1) Follow it to the distance– Noone can master the art of meditation in few days. But you should have the perseverance to continue and increase the practise. You might not get immediate result but if you believe in your practise, you are bound to feel relaxed and focused.
2) Make it regular and official – If you want to go the long way then make a specific time for yoga on daily basis. This will make you disciplined and definitely pave the way for a long term association with meditation.
3) Find a support or guide – If you want to advance in your meditative practise, then it is advisable to take the support of an experienced friend or guide. You can even take help of meditation related journals. Studying meditative forms and practise goes hand in hand for a successful meditation.
4) Master your breathing speed – Breath is a vital component in meditation. With constant practise, you can master the art of slow breath in and breathe out. It is the most essential component for a complete body and mind relaxation.
5) Meditate at the end of the day – It is the best practise you can do to clear your body and mind before sleeping. Obviously early morning meditation is the best start to your day, but meditation at night is a perfect way to end your day.
It is normal to have doubts while you are starting with meditation practice but do not stop in the middle. That will not give you happy results. If you feel like, take a guide or tutor in meditation for a year. That will help you to get a better hand in meditation and you can progress for a higher level of body and mind relaxation. Happy Meditation!