While much of energy healing is still in the process of scientific evaluation, many studies have shown the benefits of meditation. However, getting started can seem a bit overwhelming, especially when you start noticing the various types of meditation.
Ultimately, you want to find a practice that works with your life. The best way to do this is through experimenting. By doing that, you’ll discover what feels best for you.
Scientists have created three classifications of meditation, based on how you’ll focus your attention during the practice. The three categories include: Open Monitoring, Effortless Presence and Focused Attention. And within each category you can find specific types of more traditional meditation practices. Here’s an overview of each...
During this practice, you’ll keep your mind and attention open to the world around you. It’s a monitoring of each aspect of your experience. All perspectives, both external (e.g. smell, sounds) or internal (e.g. memory, feelings), get recognized and appreciated.
You aren’t looking to evaluate any of the things you notice. Instead, you’re simply monitoring each experience in a non-reactive way. Some examples include:
This is the state of not focusing your attention on anything in particular. Instead, you’re present in the experience itself, becoming quite, empty, introverted and steady. When you’re looking at meditation quotes, you’ll find most of them speak about this state of being.
In reality, this is the true purpose of meditation – to let go of everything else and find peace in the stillness of your soul. The techniques in other categories are training your mind through focus and monitoring, all for the ultimate goal of inner silence and discovering deeper states of consciousness. Eventually, monitoring and focus should be left behind as you move forward into your true self and completely balanced mind.
Some techniques focus on this goal from the very beginning, instead of training you first through focus and monitoring. A few include:
The Self-Enquiry of Ramana Marharishi
This method is exactly what it sounds like: during the meditation, you’ll focus your attention on one specific object or experience. Some examples include: a part of the body, a mantra, an external object or just your breath.
In the beginning, you’ll find it difficult to keep you attention on the object. Your thoughts will wander and distractions will come. Don’t get discouraged. This is perfectly normal!
As you progress deeper into the practice, distractions will come less and less. Likewise, the flow of attention on your object will get stronger. Both steadiness and depth are developed. These practices can be especially helpful for those who have a hard time living in the presence moment and focusing throughout the day.
Any meditation which requires your focus on a specific object falls into this category. You can find a more elaborate practice, or simply sit in the quiet focusing on the inhalation and exhalation of your body. Again, it’s all about finding what works best for you!
A few practices to get you started include:
Loving Kindness Meditation
Now that you have a starting point, it’s time to begin your meditation practice. I’d like to challenge you to find 10 minutes of your day to meditate today. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking you need to meditate for hours. Start small and realise that you’re on a journey. Slow and steady wins the race, my friends.
If you need help beginning your practice, there’s a great app called Headspace. You can try it for free while you get started on this wonderful journey.