Wednesday, October 14, 2009

5 Practical Forms of Meditation


            Recently meditation has been gaining popularity in the west. Meditation can be a powerful way to relive anxiety and maintain focus in an ever increasingly fast paced society. I am going to outline some of the basic types of meditation that can be easily integrated into ones hectic lifestyle in order to maintain presence and ease stress.

1) Mindfulness: This is the practice of the mind operating in the present moment rather than being lost in thought. Don’t dwell on the past, don’t become anxious about the future. Focusing on the present situation can be done any time whether you’re working, doing chores, participating in a hobby, or any other daily activity. Immerse yourself completely into the activity at hand and take notice of small details you would normally overlook.

2) Breathing Meditation: Relax in a comfortable position, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. You may notice your breaths become slightly deeper. Focus the mind solely on the sensation of each breath.

3) Walking Meditation: This is a form of mindfulness that focuses entirely on each sensation as you walk. Notice the feeling of each part of your foot against the ground, the feeling of the atmosphere, the feel of your clothes against your skin, and the sensation of each breath you take. Take notice of your surroundings and feel present within them.

4) Transcendental Meditation: This is a form of meditation that has gained a lot of hype lately. It is portrayed as the most difficult form of meditation which requires the guiding of a spiritual guru who provides you with a unique mantra. In reality, a mantra is simply a tool to tire the mind and bring it into a state of blankness. This state of mind is said to be the connection to our true nature. This can be done by sitting in a comfortable position and getting into a relaxed state through breathing meditation. Once in a relaxed state, any word or sound can be repeated in your mind. The key is to not focus on the meaning of the sound, but rather just the sound. The less you think, the deeper you go. The goal is to go beyond concentration and  transcend the realm of thought.

5) Contemplation: This is the opposite of transcendental meditation since it focuses completely on  thoughts. This can be done with a short passage of wisdom such as an inspirational quote, philosophical maxim, or teaching from a religious text. Deeply understand this idea and how it relates to you.

“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” - Aristotle

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