When it comes to meditation, there are lots of different styles for you to choose from. Experiment and see what works for you. Some will assist with focus, productivity and clarity. Others will have a relaxing effect and simply help you feel good.
Mindfulness Meditation is the most popular type of meditation derived from the mindfulness philosophy. It simply means being aware of our body sensations, no matter if pleasant or unpleasant, acknowledging sounds, thoughts and learning to be present and still. It involves the main three principles of mindfulness:
- Being in the present moment without recalling the past or worrying about the future
- Non-judgement of ourselves or others. In the meditation the beauty is to accept what unfolds without finding explanations and understand there is no right or wrong way to meditate.
- Non-attachment of the outcome and following the flow without a desired outcome
During concentration meditation we focus our attention o n something external that helps us gain more clarity and stability. The subject we can focus on can be an object, for example watching the light of a candle, a gemstone or a jewellery, a colour or a picture. We can watch the object with our eyes open, or we can visualise the object with our eyes closed. Over the time, concentration meditation improves our cognitive capacity.
Mantra meditation derives from concentration meditation, but its effect is to allow the mind to reach a state of bliss and peace. Just as an ocean who is busy on the surface and still as it deepes, practicing this meditation will allow our mind to reach its natural stillness.
To train the mind, we use a mantra that we repeat. It can be a simple word with meaning, such as ‘Om’ - the sound of creation. Tip: choose a simple word that has meaning to you and repeat it with your eyes closed for at least 20 minutes.
Breathing meditation is a form of concentration meditation where the object is to focus on your breath. We start with a few deep breaths to center ourselves and then we use different techniques which count the breaths. This helps us our body relax while our mind gets peaceful. During the breathing meditation we can achieve a deep relaxation state and the results will come quickly in just a few minutes of practice.
The loving kindness meditation is the most powerful type of meditation with direct effect on our own happiness. If other types of meditation aim to induce relaxation and train the mind to stay focused and still, cultivating loving-kindness will grow our ‘feel-good’ sensation by tuning into our heart, learning to love ourselves first and spread the love to the people around us. It starts by wishing good thoughts to our own being and connecting with the meaning of those wishes, and then expanding these wishes to the loved ones, friends, family, our acquaintances and enemies, to all humans and finally to all beings on the earth. Practiced daily this meditation will open our hearts and cultivate the unconditional love coming from within. Also, the ability to feel and share positive emotions will increase while the negativity will decrease.
Ideally, you can try all of these techniques and see which one you’ll enjoy more, but for the best results in your long-term practice would be best to combine the loving-kindness meditation with any of the other techniques, depending on how you feel on the day and what do you consider you need.
Silatha offers a 21-day meditation app which pretty much touches all these different forms of meditation. You can see which one you like the most and give it your personal star rating. You can then go back and repeat the ones that suit you most.