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The age of information, like a dual-edge sword, often creates many pitfalls. The over saturation of information has created perplexity online regarding meditation. Meditation is a broad term encompassing many schools of traditions based on religion and empirical evidence. This article contains an comprehensive look at the most popular forms of meditation. Hopefully by the end of this article you, as the reader, can learn about different types of meditation techniques and see which one is best suited for you.

In general meditation can be sorted into 3 main categories, these categories are made based on the way the user focuses their attention. These classifications include focused attention, open monitoring and effortless presence meditation.

Grouping Types Of Meditations

Focused Attention Meditation

Focusing ones awareness and attention towards a single object during the entire session. The “object” in question can be the breath, visualization, external object (a flame), part of the body, a mantra etc. [Learn More]

Examples of these are: Buddhist meditation, some forms of Zazen, Loving-Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, some forms of Qigong, and many others.

Open Monitoring Meditation

This requires one to focus on all things in a holistic and non-judgemental way. All periphery sensations, internal (thoughts, feelings, memories etc) or external (sound, smell, heat etc), are observed and seen for what they actually are. [Learn More]

Examples are: mindfulness meditation, Vipassana, as well as some types of Taoist meditation.

Effortless Presence

This is an advance level technique in terms of the prerequisite skills required for success. Quiet, empty, steady and introverted are key qualities necessary for being able to execute this method. Other names for this brand of meditation is “choiceless awareness” or “pure being”. [Learn More]

Examples are: Examples are: the Self-Enquiry (“I am” meditation), Tibetan Buddhism, some forms of Taoist Meditation; and some advanced forms of Raja Yoga.

Buddhist Meditation

Zen Meditation (Zazen)

zenZazen (坐禅) refers to, ‘seated zen’, or in other words ‘seated meditation’ according to the Japanese. It has roots connected to Taoism. It is one of the most popular forms of Buddhist meditation, with over 10,000,000+ members. Zen Buddhism is heavily influenced by the religion of Buddhism, while still retaining core meditation concepts such as focusing on breath and mindfulness of the present. [Learn More]

Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana is Pali means “insight” or  “clear seeing”. This is a traditional Buddhist technique dating back to 6th Century BC. The popularity of Vipassana has invigorated the “mindfulness of breath” concept. Vipassana uses a variety of techniques to create a deeper state of consciousness, such as locking ones awareness to breath and using mental noting to stay “above the fold” of secondary objects during meditation. [Learn More]

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is a fresh take on traditional Buddhist meditation practices, especially Vipassana.  Mindfulness Meditation is very western friendly and is often practiced in schools and hospitals. It can be incorporated into everyday life to enrich our understanding of life, our emotions and consciousness, while also minimizing the religious aspects found in typical Buddhist Meditations. [Learn More]

Loving Kindness Meditation (Metta Meditation)

Metta is a Pali word that means kindness, benevolence and goodwill.  Compassion meditation is also another name for this tradition. This meditation technique has proven benefits: boostings ones level to empathize, positive emotions through compassion, loving oneself, increased self-acceptance, feeling of competence in life and increased feelings of purpose in life. [Learn More]

Hindu Meditation (Yogic and Vedic)

Mantra Meditation (OM meditation)

A mantra is a combination of characters without any particular meanings. It is used for the sole purpose of sharpening and focusing the mind on vibrations and sounds of the mantra. . Some experts believe the choice of words and correct pronunciations are critical to this practice, for purposes of achieving ideal vibrations. Other experts dismiss this notion and believe that a mantra is only a tool for focusing the mind, the word itself is irrelevant. [Learn More]

Transcendental Meditation (TM)

Transcendental Meditation is a very specific form of Mantra Meditation produced by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1955 in India and the West. Maharishi gained notoriety because he was a guru for the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other famous celebrities.. There are many scientific papers written on this form of meditation, many sponsored by the TM organization. There are 600 peer-review papers in circulation regarding this popular form. [Learn More]

 Yoga Meditations

There are many forms to “Yogic Meditation”. Yoga means “union”. The tradition traces back to 1700 BC, its goals are for one to achieve the highest spiritual purification and self-knowledge. Yoga can be divided into rules of conduct (yamas and niyamas), physical posture (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and contemplative practices of meditation. There are numerous benefits to doing yoga. [Learn More]

Self-Enquiry and “I Am” Meditation

Self enquiry in Sanskrit means “atma vichara”. It means to investigate ones true nature and find answers to questions like, “who am I?”. This leads to more intimate knowledge of our higher self and the state of our true being. This method was popularized the 20th-century Indian sage Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950).  Many contemporary teaches employ this technique, including Mooji, Adyashanti and Eckhart Tolle. [Learn More]

CHINESE MEDITATION

Taoist Meditations

Daoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy and religion. This tradition dates back to Lao Tau (Laozi). The primary motive behind this practice is to find balance with Nature, or quite simply Tao. Its main book of teachings is call the Tao Te Ching, which dates back to 6th century BC. The purpose off this practice is the generation, transformation and circulation of the inner energy. [Learn More]

Qigong (Chi kung)

Qigong (chi kung or chi gung) is a Chinese word that means “life energy cultivation”. This is a mind-body exercise that promotes health, meditative states and martial arts training. It typically uses slow body movements, coupled with inner focus and regulated breathing. [Learn More]

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

In Eastern traditions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Daoism) meditation is used with the purpose of transcending the mind and body to achieve enlightenment. In christian tradition the goal of meditation is for moral purification, deeper understanding of the Bible and closer intimacy with God/Christ. [Learn More]

GUIDED MEDITATION

Guided Meditation is a fairly new concept that encompasses topics from ancient teachings. It is ideal for beginners because the meditations are done with a guide. We live in modern times now, our lives are busier, strong will power is uncommon and distractions are everywhere. These reasons are the basis for formation of guided meditation. [Learn More]

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