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. Through practice one can gain proficiency at focusing on the “object”. Through effort and pactice distractions become less likely to occur and are often short-lived.
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. The trick to this method is to free yourself from attachment and to monitor your minds during the entire session in a passive way. All periphery sensations, internal (thoughts, feelings, memories etc) or external (sound, smell, heat etc), are observed and seen for what they actually are. A non-reactive monitoring of the mind from moment to moment without delving deep into the thought is the backbone of this method. Examples are: mindfulness meditation, Vipassana, as well as some types of Taoist meditation.
This is an advance level technique in terms of the prerequisite skills required for success. The basis of this meditation requires one to pay attention to oneself. 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”. Most books and anecdotes romanticize this form of meditation as being the ultimate level achievable via meditation. Traditional meditation techniques recognize that focusing on the “object” or the process of “monitoring”, is just a means to train the mind. The ultimate goal is to reach effortless inner silence and deeper states of consciousness. When meditation is done correctly the “object” of focus and the process of “monitoring” dissolve away, revealing the “true” nature of oneself (pure presence).