Good morning everybody, hope you are all doing well. Did everyone have a good Halloween? As I’ve mentioned in previous years, I’m not really a lover of Halloween (I much prefer Christmas), so I don’t actually celebrate the holiday itself, but I know for many it’s their favorite time of year as it’s a chance for people to get dressed up as their favorite superheroes or characters from movies/tv show, etc…so if you do like Halloween and went out to celebrate or even stayed indoors and had a quiet night in, I hope you had a good time! We’ve not really done much this past week due to being poorly with a cold and my headaches getting worse again mostly due to my CFS/ME but also because our neighbors are very loud and for some reason shout and bang on the floor until the early of hours of the morning, so I, especially, have been sleeping a lot the past few days to try and block the pain out.
Anyway on with today’s post… Meditation is a technique used for thousands of years to develop an awareness of the present moment. It can involve practices to sharpen focus and attention, connect to the body and breath, develop acceptance of difficult emotions, and even alter consciousness. It’s been shown to offer a number of physical and psychological benefits like stress reduction and improved immunity. While many spiritual traditions include meditation as a part of their teachings and practices, the technique itself doesn’t belong to any particular religion or faith. Though ancient in origin, it’s still practiced today in cultures all over the world to create a sense of peace, calm, and inner harmony.
Practicing meditation can help you focus and feel more connected to the present moment. In doing so, you can also benefit your health by lowering stress, achieving higher self-awareness, and improving your tolerance for pain. There are many different types of meditation that have different benefits. Some of them will work better for you than others—just like different sports or diets work better for some people than for others. There is no cookie-cutter approach to meditation. You need to experiment with many and find the one that works best for your unique needs and personality. The type of meditation that is most helpful against anxiety, for instance, might not necessarily be the best one against depression or for spiritual awakening. Again there are literally hundreds of types of meditation, but here are nine of the more popular types that you might find that could work for you…
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. It combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present. It’s done by increasing your awareness of your consciousness, breathing, and body. This type of meditation is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as it can be easily practiced alone.
Techniques can vary, but in general, mindfulness meditation involves deep breathing and awareness of body and mind. Practicing mindfulness meditation doesn’t require props or preparation (no need for candles, essential oils, or mantras, unless you enjoy them). To get started, all you need is a comfortable place to sit, three to five minutes of free time, and a judgment-free mindset.
How to do Mindfulness Meditation:
- Remove all distractions from your room, including your phone. Lie down in a comfortable position.
- Focus on your breathing. Inhale for 10 counts, then hold your breath for 10 counts. Exhale for 10 counts. Repeat five times.
- Inhale and tense your body. Pause, relax, and exhale. Repeat five times.
- Notice your breath and body. If a body part feels tight, consciously relax it.
- When a thought comes up, slowly return your focus to just your breathing.
Spiritual meditation is an experience that takes you to the depths of who you are. You, as your real self, are stripped of all the perceptions you had about yourself until that point in your life. In the process, you experience joy and peace. A feeling of love and light warms up your being. Spiritual meditation makes you realize the eternal truth and let go of all that had happened and will happen. The present is where you want to be and find solace. The need to practice spiritual meditation comes from an innate longing to see and think beyond the chaotic world surrounding you. Spiritual meditation is used across the globe in countless religions and cultures. Some use it for stress and relaxation, others use it to clear their minds, and some use it to awaken and deepen their connection to something greater than themselves.
For spiritual meditation for beginners, start with 5 or 10 minutes for your morning/evening meditations then gradually build up to 30 minutes or even an hour if you can. The more we focus on the Light within, the more our physical (dream) lives begin to reflect light, joy, and peace. You’ll discover it is well worth the time!
How to do Spiritual Meditation:
- Sit comfortably in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed.
- Close your eyes. Scan to see if there is anything about the way you are sitting that is uncomfortable. Take time to adjust your body so that it is completely and comfortably supported by the chair or bed your body is resting on.
- Now bring attention to your breathing, without trying to change it in any way. However, you may notice that your breathing changes by itself, perhaps getting deeper and slower. It may even speed up at first and seem erratic. Don’t worry about this.
- However it shifts, let it be as it is. It is important to give your body full permission to breathe as it wants to. Be aware of yourself breathing in, and breathing out. Be with yourself.
- If you notice that your thoughts wander off during this spiritual meditation, just bring your attention back to your breathing, without faulting yourself.
- Don’t try to pull the air in or push it out. Let your body breathe all by itself, in its own way, at its own pace.
- In our physical world, air and breath are a reflection of Spirit. As we breathe in and notice how good it feels, we are effortlessly and consciously experiencing ourselves as Life Force.
Focused meditation involves focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down the inner dialogue. Unlike classic meditation, where you focus on nothing to quiet your mind, this meditation style allows you to focus your attention on an object, sound, or sensation rather than trying to achieve a clear mind without a specific focal point. Focused meditation is also feasible without an instructor or teacher, which makes it accessible to anyone with a few minutes of time, something to focus on, and a quiet place. With focused meditation, you still remain in the present, but focus wholly on one thing. Typically, you focus on sensory stimuli like sounds, visual items, tactile sensations, tastes, smells, and even your own breathing—much like mindfulness meditation techniques.
Starting your practice involves just a few steps that will come more and more easily with time. Begin with five-minute sessions and work your way up to longer periods of time as you become more comfortable with the exercise. You’ll need to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. These short sessions of focused meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time, whether you are in the comfort of your own home or in an office at work. The key is to practice your focused meditation in an environment that is calm.
How to do Focused Meditation:
- Choose a target for your focus. Focusing on your breath is a good choice since it is usually the entry point to any meditation practice.
- Get into a comfortable position. Sit upright. If you are sitting on a chair, sit right on the edge of it, relaxing into your pelvic bones with your feet on the floor. If you are sitting on the ground, preferably propped yourself up with a cushion or block so that your thighs are relaxed and your spine remains tall.
- Relax your body. Loosen your shoulders and breathe from your belly. You can cross your legs but you don’t have to if you’re more comfortable in another position, just as long as you can fully relax without falling asleep.
- Turn your attention to your chosen target. Zero in on the sensations including the sound, smell, sight, and details of your focal point. The idea isn’t to think about it but simply to experience it, being fully present in the moment. If you are focusing on your breath, for example, pay attention to the sensations you experience as you inhale and exhale each breath.
- Calm your inner voice. If your internal monologue starts to analyze your target or begins to rehash stressful situations of the day, worry about the future, make a list for grocery shopping, or anything else, gently turn your attention back to your chosen target and the sensation it provides. You may be focusing on something, but the goal is to maintain a quiet mind.
- Don’t worry about failure. If you find your mind engaging you and realize that you’re not being fully present with the sensations of your chosen target, don’t let your inner perfectionist beat you up for doing it “wrong.” Simply congratulate yourself for noticing and return back to the present moment and the sensations you’re experiencing.
Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t need to be carried out sitting perfectly still in the lotus position. This is especially true of Movement Meditation which simply put, is meditation while moving. More specifically, it is moving while being minutely aware of the movements of the body (i.e. how the legs feel when tensing) and the outside elements occurring in tandem with those movements (i.e. the smells of the air, the sound of your feet hitting the pavement). Ideal for people with energetic bodies and spirits who grow restless while sitting still, movement meditation provides the body with a physical outlet for its energy while at the same time stimulating circulation
It is commonly practiced through walking meditation, an activity that releases tension while at the same time creating a calm mind. It is also commonly practiced by walking a labyrinth or practicing mindfulness during T’ai Chi or Yoga. Even a routine trip to the gym can be a great time to practice movement-based mindfulness! Wherever your path may take you, movement-based meditation is a useful tool for calming your mind while on the go.
How to do Movement Meditation:
- Take a few moments to sit in a comfortable position and align your breath and body. Try to make your movements and breath one, like swaying your body in time with a swaying tree.
- Put your hands on your body and feel the movement of breath as you breathe in and out. Notice as your arms extend and return slightly.
- Start to stand up and notice what occurs. You will likely feel your hands touch the ground, your legs begin to extend, and your spine lengthens as you stand up.
- Once standing, notice the feelings in your body and pay special attention to any uncomfortable feelings. Adjust your body to make those uncomfortable feelings go away, or if you can’t, then just take notice of them and move on to somewhere else.
- Start at the top of your head and notice sensations or feelings that come to mind. Keep moving through your body, and registering any feelings that you have, until you reach the tip of your toes. This process does not have to be quick or slow. It is important to move at your own pace and not judge how fast or slow you are going.
- Bring your whole body back into focus, instead of just one area, and begin to move with your heartbeat.
- Raise an arm into the air and pretend as if you are picking fruit off a tree that is just out of reach. Notice as your arm lengthens and reaches for the fruit. Notice how your toe raises off the ground in order to allow more height for your arm. Notice all the movements of your body during the simple act of reaching for a fruit takes place.
- Repeat with the other arm.
- Leave your standing spot and move around the area you are in. Notice the sensations that appear as you begin to take steps. Your feet, your legs, your hips, and your stomach all work together to create movement. Take the time to notice the individual sensations in those areas.
- Now, sit back on the floor and pay attention to your body as it crunches and bends. End as you began, and align your breath with your body.
Mantra is a Sanskrit term, with “man” meaning “mind” and “tra” meaning “release.” Think of a mantra — a word or phrase you repeat during meditation — as a tool to help release your mind. It can make a lot of difference, especially if you have trouble concentrating or getting in the right frame of mind. Many people find that using a mantra can boost awareness and improve concentration. Since it helps you stay focused, it could lead to improved results in meditation. Repeating a mantra while meditating can also help you find a natural breathing rhythm. It can take some time to get accustomed to meditative breathing exercises. Matching your breath to your mantra can make this process easier and help you feel more relaxed at the same time.
Many meditation practitioners believe the vibrations and harmony of chanting certain syllables can enable a deeper meditative state. This deep meditation can help release any blocked energy disrupting your well-being. Meditating with a word you like the sound of, or one that makes you happy can also reinforce a sense of calm or joy. Your mantra can be spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment. This allows you to experience deeper levels of awareness. Some people enjoy mantra meditation because they find it easier to focus on a word than on their breath. Others enjoy feeling the vibration of the sound in their body. This is also a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.
How to do Mantra Meditation:
- Get comfortable. Find a quiet place where you can meditate without disruptions. Find a position you can hold for the length of your meditation, whether that’s sitting on the floor, in a chair, lying down, or even walking.
- Set a timer. Decide how long you want to meditate and set a timer. Consider using a quiet, relaxing sound, so the alarm doesn’t jar you from a peaceful meditative state.
- Start with a few deep breaths. Pay attention to your breathing without doing anything to try and modify it. Just focus on the sensation of it entering your lungs and filling your body.
- Use your mantra. Continue breathing slowly and steadily through your nose as you begin to chant your mantra. You can say it out loud or repeat it silently. It often helps to match the mantra to your breathing.
- Let your breath guide you. As you settle into the meditation, your mantra and breathing will eventually settle into a rhythm.
- Remember to gently redirect wandering thoughts. As you meditate, you’ll probably notice your attention begin to wander. When this happens, don’t try and force those unwanted thoughts away. Instead, just acknowledge them, let them go, and then pick the mantra back up.
- Close the meditation. When your timer goes off, don’t jump up right away. Instead, take a few moments to sit with your quiet mind. Check-in with yourself. “Do you feel more relaxed? More optimistic?” This closing exercise lets you check in with yourself and track your progress.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a form of silent mantra meditation advocated by the Transcendental Meditation movement. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi created the technique in India in the mid-1950s. Advocates of TM claim that the technique promotes a state of relaxed awareness, stress relief, and access to higher states of consciousness, as well as physiological benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The meditation practice involves the use of a silently-used mantra for 15–20 minutes twice per day while sitting with the eyes closed It is reported to be one of the most widely practiced and among the most widely researched, meditation techniques, with hundreds of published research studies. The technique is made available worldwide by certified TM teachers in a seven-step course, and fees vary from country to country.
While meditating, the person practicing TM sits in a comfortable position with eyes closed and silently repeats a mantra. A mantra is a word or sound from the Vedic tradition that is used to focus your concentration. TM does not require any strenuous effort. Nor does it require concentration, or contemplation. Instead, students are told to breathe normally and focus their attention on the mantra.
How to do Transcendental Meditation:
Unlike some forms of meditation, the TM technique requires a seven-step course of instruction from a certified teacher. A TM teacher presents general information about the technique and its effects during a 60-minute introductory lecture. That’s followed by a second 45-minute lecture in which more specific information is given. People interested in learning the technique then attend a 10- to 15-minute interview and 1 to 2 hours of personal instruction. Following a brief ceremony, they’re each given a mantra, which they’re supposed to keep confidential. Next, come 3 days of checking for correctness with 1 or 2 more hours of instruction. In these sessions, the teacher does the following:
- Explains the practice in greater detail
- Gives corrections if needed
- Provides information about the benefits of regular practice
- Over the next several months, the teacher regularly meets with practitioners to ensure the correct technique.
Also known as body scan meditation, progressive relaxation is a practice aimed at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation. Oftentimes, this form of meditation involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body. Doctors have used progressive muscle relaxation in combination with standard treatments for symptom relief in a number of conditions, including headaches, cancer pain, high blood pressure, and digestive disturbances. Progressive muscle relaxation can be learned by nearly anyone and requires only 10 minutes to 20 minutes per day to practice. People who suffer from insomnia often report that practicing progressive muscle relaxation at night helps them fall asleep. Progressive muscle relaxation is also an excellent tool to help learn about the body and the signals it may be telling you. With practice and time, you can learn to accurately identify and diminish the signs and signals of stress and tension in your body.
Most practitioners recommend tensing and relaxing the muscle groups one at a time in a specific order, generally beginning with the lower extremities and ending with the face, abdomen, and chest. You can practice this technique seated or lying down, and you should try to practice with comfortable clothing on, and in a quiet place free of all distractions.
How to do Progressive Meditation:
- While inhaling, contract one muscle group for 5 seconds to 10 seconds, then exhale and suddenly release the tension in that muscle group.
- Give yourself 10 seconds to 20 seconds to relax, and then move on to the next muscle group.
- While releasing the tension, try to focus on the changes you feel when the muscle group is relaxed. Imagery may be helpful in conjunction with the release of tension, such as imagining that stressful feelings are flowing out of your body as you relax each muscle group.
- Gradually work your way up the body contracting and relaxing muscle groups.
- Once you finish scanning parts of your body, let your awareness travel across your body. Visualize this as liquid filling a mold. Continue inhaling and exhaling slowly as you sit with this awareness of your whole body for several seconds.
- Come back. Slowly release your focus and bring your attention back to your surroundings.
Loving-kindness meditation (LKM) also known as Metta meditation is a popular self-care technique that can be used to boost well-being and reduce stress. Those who regularly practice loving kindness meditation are able to increase their capacity for forgiveness, connection to others, self-acceptance, and more. This technique is not easy as you are asking yourself to send kindness your way or to others. It often takes practice to allow yourself to receive your own love or to send it. During loving-kindness meditation, you focus benevolent and loving energy toward yourself and others. There are many well-documented benefits of traditional meditation, but as with other techniques, this form of meditation takes practice. It can be difficult and sometimes leads to resistance since the average person is not used to this level of giving and receiving love.
There are different ways to practice this form of meditation, each based on different Buddhist traditions, but each variation uses the same core psychological operation. During your meditation, you generate kind intentions toward certain targets including yourself and others. Some people use visual imagery while reciting each phrase. For example, you can imagine light emitting from your heart or the person you’re thinking of. You can also change the phrase throughout the practice.
How to do Loving-Kindness Meditation:
- Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep breath through your nose and continue breathing deeply.
- Focus on your breathing. Imagine your breath traveling through your body. Focus on your heart.
- Choose a kind, positive phrase. Silently recite the phrase, directing it toward yourself. You can say, “May I be happy. May I be safe? May I find peace?”
- Slowly repeat the phrase. Acknowledge its meaning and how it makes you feel. If you get distracted, avoid judging yourself. Just return to the phrase and keep repeating it.
- Now, think about your friends and family. You can think about a specific person or a group of people. Recite the phrase toward them, “May you be happy. May you be safe. May you find peace.” Again, recognize the meaning and how you feel.
- Continue reciting the phrase toward others, including neighbors, acquaintances, and difficult individuals. Recognize your emotions, even if they’re negative. Repeat the phrase until you experience compassionate feelings.
Visualization meditation is a type of meditation that requires concentrating on a mental image or several images to help focus and center the mind and body. Any calming image that you find peace in can work, but there are often some commonly used images that may help. Scenes like picturing a flower opening and closing in the body, inhaling and exhaling rays of light in and out of the body like breaths, or visualizing areas of the body where you feel the tension slowly expanding are simple ways to cultivate a sense of calm and serenity. You can also use guided visualization meditation programs to help you fine-tune your focus if you have trouble selecting an image. Some people find visualization meditation is enough when practiced alone, but others may use it with additional forms of meditation, such as mantra meditation. This can help enhance concentration, create a sense of deep relaxation, and keep the mind from wandering into other thoughts that may jeopardize the meditation practice.
Visualization meditation, like other forms of meditation, takes practice. Start by meditating for just five minutes and work your way up to longer sessions. When you’re ready to get started, simply get comfortable, find your meditative anchor, center your breath, and begin your practice. Ultimately, in a visualization meditation practice, you are replacing the focus on the breath with a focus on a mental image. When your mind wanders, come back to that mental image. It might not be perfect on the first try, but it will improve with each practice.
How to do Visualization Meditation:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed, no tension in the body, and your mind as relaxed and clear as possible.
- Think about the image you want to focus on during your visualization exercise. This might be somewhere you’ve visited or an imagined scene of somewhere you’d like to go.
- Use your five senses to add as much detail to your image. What do you hear? Can you smell relaxing fragrances? Are you warm or cool? Can you feel the air on your skin? Is the sky bright, dark, stormy, or full of stars?
- Imagine yourself moving forward, feeling calmer and more peaceful as you enter your vision more deeply.
- Continue breathing slowly as you look around the scene you’ve created, fully experiencing it with all of your senses.
- With each inhale, imagine peace and harmony entering your body. Visualize exhaustion, tension, and distress leaving your body as you exhale.
- When you feel ready, you can leave your vision. Knowing you can return at any time can help your newfound sense of relaxation linger throughout your day. This can help you feel more in control of difficult feelings and allow you to manage stress and frustration more easily.
Whether you’re looking to reduce stress or find spiritual enlightenment, there’s a meditation practice for you. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try different types. There is no one-size-fits-all form because people have different preferences. It can take time to master, as does any other skill. But if a person sticks with it and is willing to experiment with the various methods, they are more likely to discover a meditation type that suits them. It often takes a little trial and error until you find the one that fits.
Thank you for visiting my blog and reading today’s post, I hope you found it helpful and hope you all have a lovely week and I shall see you next time!