From a western revival in the 70s to “namastay in bed” T-shirts. Medication in all of its forms is an ancient tradition steeped in the different cultures of its birth.
Whether you’ve been exposed to the idea of meditation through the variety of religious teachings, spiritual workshops, or awareness training that’s been recommended by mental health professionals, meditation can be a great way to calm your mind, soothe your soul, and reduce the majority of stress and anxiety symptoms.
Admittedly, there isn’t a wrong way to meditate. But if you’re completely unfamiliar with the practice, then you’re better off familiarizing yourself with the types of medications available to you. Keep on reading for our full breakdown of the most popular types of meditation.
Types of Meditation 101
Needless to say, there are so many different types of meditation and paths that it can be a bit overwhelming to go through all of them in one go. Esoteric types of medication, like comic energy mediation, generally require some previous experience in the more traditional meditation types.
That’s why we’re going to cover the most popular types of meditation here.
Let’s start with one of the most ancient practices, which is Vipassana meditation. This is a type of silent meditation, which emerged out of Buddhism.
It’s more of a regulated form of meditation, since Vipassana has an unbroken lineage, with the practice handed down from one teacher to their student from the time of the Buddha themselves.
So if you’re looking for a type of meditation with strict guidelines and a system to follow, you can always go for Vipassana meditation.
Zen Meditation (Zazen Meditation)
Whether you’ve heard of it as Zen meditation or Zazen meditation, this type of meditation was taught by the Siddhārtha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, specifically under the Sanskrit term “dhyan.”This term was changed to “chan” once it made its way to China, and then traveled to Southeast Asia, where it finally became “Zen.”
In the simplest of terms, the original term “dyhan” described the meditative state. Out of the different forms of meditation, Zen meditation is well-known for being a minimalist practice. Thus, you won’t find prayer beads, mantras, or a breakdown of the process described anywhere.
This type of meditation would ask you to focus your attention on one specific thing. This can be a sound vibration, your breath, or even a little stone. Once you’ve done so, the tradition states that your mind will naturally become calm and enter a meditative state.
The Loving-Kindness Meditation
Also known in the Pali language as the “Metta Bhavana,” this meditation technique uses images, words, and feelings to soften both the heart and mind.
By using specific phrases and kind thoughts, you get to unlock the door and reach deeper levels of pure love. This will aid in breaking the barriers that we tend to put up around our feelings for ourselves and others.
It’s a bit similar to other forms of mantra meditation, and it can be often found in many Buddhist traditions and practices that emphasize love for all of humanity.
If you’ve ever heard about Headspace or the Calm app, then you’ve already known what mindful meditation techniques can look like. This form of meditation was recently developed to describe secular techniques of cultivating deeper awareness into the present moment.
It has been popularized as a great tool to use when combating the stresses of daily life in the modern (and specifically, the western) world. You’ll find that the majority of adherents would report higher degrees of happiness, lesser distractions, and more satisfaction with their lives and where they’re headed.
Generally speaking, mindful meditation can be summed up as the “present moment awareness” without judgment. Therefore, adherents aren’t trying to actively change their current state, but simply observing and noting where they are and accepting it.
By focusing your attention on the specific details of your present existence, even if it’s difficult, unpleasant, or even boring.
Popularized through a variety of pop culture references, Mantra meditation is a technique of meditation, a tool for the mind to use on its path to enlightenment. The word itself is Sanskrit, coming in from two roots: “man,” meaning mind, and “tra,” which means instrument or tool.
You might have seen mantras being used in the form of positive affirmations. Yet, you can also use it in its traditional form, which is made of one-syllable sound vibration, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
Basically, what you’re doing is replacing your thinking thoughts with a mantra, which forces you to focus on one thing. Thus, in mantra meditation, every single moment you’ll be actively concentrating on your mantra and your mantra alone.
Furthermore, you’ll find in some religions, like Hinduism and Christianity, practitioners will recite mantras to deepen their mind-heart connection and create a fuller presence with divinity.
Many people would confuse Transcendental meditation with Vedic meditation, which is a type of Hindu meditation. And while they do share similar practices and were founded by the same person, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was an Indian sage in the 20th century.
Yet, Transcendental meditation (TM) is a specific and regulated technique that can only be learned through a trained professional, usually in a one-on-one setting over a period of four days.
It’s a great practice with the foundational understanding that the mind may have agitations at the surface level, but it’s naturally peaceful.
Unlocking the World of Meditation
This isn’t an obscure or esoteric path that only people who are involved in organized religion can access.
It might seem a bit vague at first, but once you’ve gotten in your practicing hours, you’ll discover that meditating is one of those things that are both ridiculously easy and unbelievably hard at the same time.
Hopefully, our little breakdown helped you identify the different types of meditation that you might be interested in. Just pick one technique or path, and take it slow. Don’t start with half an hour of daily meditation, just a couple of minutes a day will do.