There are many spiritual meditation practices taught today. I’ve included a description of 4 different meditation techniques. With a little creativity and mindfulness, any practice can be created – even a quick, easy meditation. The technique itself is not important; transcending thoughts and experiencing self as pure awareness, consciousness, or one with the source of all life is the true purpose.
“Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.” ~ Sivananda
Many years ago I experimented with several meditation techniques until I found one that was a perfect fit for me; one where I could easily center within a peaceful state. Some meditation practices are focused on the mind, some on the breath, some on sound and some on the body. Many techniques involve sitting still with eyes closed, while some involve movement. There are many physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health benefits of meditating, but each person has their own reasons for spending 15, 30 or 60 minutes a day turning inward and connecting more deeply to self.
For me, I’ve found meditating to be the best way to calm my over-active mind, help me to move into the present moment, connect to my body, and most importantly, become aware of myself as a spiritual being, bigger than my thoughts, beliefs, emotions and physical sensations. This has been extremely empowering for me.
Read on to learn more about spiritual meditation practices, and if you’d like to read a book that offers exercises for meditating, click on the book image, How to Meditate.
4 Spiritual Meditation Techniques
This is a formal technique based on the ancient Vedic tradition of enlightenment in India. This practice was handed down by Vedic masters from generation to generation for thousands of years until Maharishi introduced Transcendental Meditation worldwide. This is a mental practice which involves sitting with eyes closed for 15-20 minutes twice a day while focusing on a mantra (a word or phrase the TM centre gives you). The purpose is to calm the mind and move beyond thoughts to what is called transcendental consciousness or enlightenment. For more information, visit the Maharishi site.
Vipassana, meaning to see things as they really are, is another ancient technique from India. Gotama Buddha practiced and taught this practice as a way to end all suffering. It is a mind body format that is taught around the world in 10 day silent retreats. Students follow a specific code of ethics during the course while they sit with eyes closed and focus initially on the natural flow of breath through the nostrils and then on sensations in the body. Practitioners develop equanimity by learning not to react to thoughts or sensations in the body. At the end of the course students are taught a loving kindness meditation.
Vipassana meditation is a self-exploration of the mind and body as a way to dissolve mental irritations and open to love and compassion. For more information, visit the Vipassana site.
Tai chi, yoga, taekwondo, and qigong are examples of mind body practices that can be used as a form of meditating. Practitioners move beyond thoughts as they enter the body and connect to their soul through movement. It’s a wonderful way to experience being in the flow of life as you mindfully (or mindlessly) focus on physical activity, breathing and sensations in the body. Something else takes over and instead of moving your body, your body is being moved. I view it as spirit in action.
Present Moment Awareness
With present moment awareness, any activity can be a non-formal way of meditating. Buddhist philosophy teaches mindfulness as a way of living. Brushing your teeth, taking a shower, making a meal, walking the dog, interacting with people, and doing daily tasks are done with present moment awareness. No past or future thoughts swirl in your head, no fantasies or unconscious thinking takes place; every ounce of attention is in this activity, this experience, this moment. When I am able to be present like this I feel peaceful, energized and full of clarity. I highly recommend you try it.
What meditation techniques are you drawn to, and what are the benefits for you (or what benefits would you like to receive if you haven’t started meditating yet)? Please share below.
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