There are many different methods of meditation, however they can basically be divided into two main groups- directive and nondirective.
Directive meditation involves focusing all of your attention on the breath, an image or a mantra. The goal, in doing so, is to suppresses distractions and other thoughts. These kinds of meditative practices are known for being the most accessible and are considered the go-to practices for beginners. Having a focus is often important in learning the art of mediation however concentration in and of itself is not meditation. Concentration is one-pointedness of mind- a single minded focus on one object without interruption. Meditation, on the other hand, is free of any particular factor. It is a pure noticing state.
Specific Types of Directive Meditation
1. Mindfulness Meditation:
This is probably the simplest form, making it the most suitable for beginners. This form of meditation solely entails being in the present moment, and silencing all other thoughts and outside noise. Though simple, this type of meditation is not always easy, particularly if you’re someone that struggles to clear your mind and silence the outside noise. However, if you’re one of those people, this type of meditation may prove to be the most beneficial, if you’re up for a challenge! To try Mindfulness Meditation, sit in a quiet space and try focusing on your breathing. Then, let go of all judgement. If negative thoughts creep in, let them go and focus on the silence. Just be in the moment. For more info, check out this article.
3. Guided Meditation:
This is an instructor-led form of meditation that guides you through the process. Different techniques are taught in these sessions, such as body scans and affirmations, and it’s a great option for those who prefer instruction or get distracted easily. The guided style is particularly effective if you have a specific focus on your meditation, something you’re trying to eliminate or achieve like reducing physical tension or overcoming emotions. There are tons of Podcasts and Apps that offer Guided Sessions if you’re interested in trying it out, such as Headspace. Learn more here.
4) Vipassana Meditation- a practice of developing concentration and mindfulness simultaneously. Mindfulness directs the power of concentration. This style of yoga teaches practicioners to emphasize the awareness function at the start, there will be so much to be aware of that concentration will be impossible. With practice you will incredibly active the mind really is. You will notice distractions much more quickly and be able to pull out of them to return to the formal object of attention. Once this concentration is developed mindfulness will happen in time. However, Mindfulness grows only one way: by continuous practice of mindfulness, by simply trying to be mindful, and that means being patient. It can't be forced
Non-Directive meditation is sometimes called dhyana (effortless) although it can be anything but. It is a class of meditations that allow the body and mind to settle naturally into peace. They are so called because you are not directing or concentrating your mind/body toward specific goal or state. Rather, you create the conditions which allow the body and mind to move into the state that they naturally prefer. In this meditation, deep stresses held in the mind and body are released, and a vibrant aliveness takes their place.
Types of Nondirective Meditation
1. Transcendental Meditation:
This type of meditation involves the repetition of a mantra, or a positive saying that has significance to you and your life. It is recommended to practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day, in 20 minute sessions. This is a great approach if your goal is to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, or promote positivity and self-development. This is a good type of meditation for those who struggle to clear the mind and be in the moment, as the mantra guides you in a sense and allows you to focus on your intention. This is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to lift their mood, is recovering from a trauma or experiencing extreme stress or depression. For more info, click here.
2. Acem Meditation
In Acem Meditation, you repeat a meditation sound mentally without effort, while thoughts and impressions are allowed to come and go freely. There is no attempt at emptying the mind. It was developed in 1966 in Norway and its are attributed to psychological and physiological research which we have discussed in another blog on meditation as a practice of developing reflective thinking and wisdom.
Because there are many different methods of meditation if you’re not connecting with one, don’t give up! There doesn’t have to be some huge revelation or amazing epiphany. Rather regular practice itself will naturally develop your ability to control stress, improve your connection to yourself and ultimately greater purpose behind how you spend your time and energy. If you stick with it, meditation really can change the way your brain operates. Imagine that.