While archeologists have found evidence of meditation dating back as far as 5,000 BCE, many of us are reluctant to practice it today. But if ancient cultures understood that the mind was an ecosystem of its own, why do we find it so hard to practice so many years later?
Below, we want to help you take care of your own mental ecosystem by exploring six different types of meditation and how you can use them to benefit your life.
1. Mindfulness Meditation
In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind.
The practice originates from Buddhist teachings and is the most popular meditation technique in the West. In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your passing thoughts without judgement or emotional involvement. You simply observe them and take note of any patterns you identify during that process.
This practice combines concentration with awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.
This type of meditation is good for people who don’t have a teacher to guide them, as you can easily practice it alone. Take a few minutes at your desk, in your home, or on a walk to get into the practice of mindfulness meditation.
2. Spiritual Meditation
This type of meditation is similar to prayer. People who practice spiritual meditation seek a connection with God, nature, or the universe.
Spiritual meditation is used in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Daoism, and in Christian faith. It’s similar to prayer in that you reflect on the silence around you and seek a deeper connection with a higher power.
Many people who practice this kind of meditation use essential oils to heighten their spiritual experience. Some popular options recommended for spiritual meditation include:
- Palo Santo
You can also practice spiritual meditation anywhere, from your home to your place of worship to a beach, forest, or meadow. This practice is beneficial for those who thrive in silence and seek spiritual growth.
3. Focused Meditation
In focused meditation, you tune into a heightened state by engaging with any of the five senses.
For example, you can direct your focus to an internal experience, such as your breathing, or on external objects.
Try counting Mala Beads, rosary beads, listening to meditation frequencies, or staring at a candle flame. Take creative liberties, depending on which sense you want to channel.
This practice may be simple in theory, but it can be difficult for beginners to hold their focus for longer than a few minutes at first. If your mind does wander, it’s important to come back to the practice and refocus.
As indicated in the name, this practice is ideal for anyone who requires additional focus in their life.
4. Movement Meditation
If you have a tendency to fidget, or find you are most at peace when you are being active, then active meditation may be right for you. This practice may include walking in nature, gardening, preparing tea, cleaning, or building something with your hands.
Although most people think of yoga when they hear movement meditation, it really could be any task you find enjoyable. Many people find that when they are in motion, it’s easier to clear their minds. If you’ve ever gotten lost in a task, you could have been in a state of meditation without knowing it.
Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
5. Mantra Meditation
Mantra meditation is prominent in many teachings, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound, said out loud or silently, to clear the mind.
It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “Om.” It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, you will 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. This is also a good practice for people who don’t like silence and enjoy repetition.
6. Transcendental Meditation
Transcendental meditation is the most popular type of meditation, and it’s also the type of meditation that scientists have studied most extensively. This practice is more customizable than mantra meditation since it uses a mantra or series of words that are specific to each practitioner.
In transcendental meditation, the person meditating will reach a state where they transcend their thinking process and enter into a more heightened experience. This is thought to be a perfect state of awareness, rest, stability, and consciousness. Some even say it is the absence of mental boundaries.
This practice is beneficial to those who want to take their meditation practice deeper and experience more tangible results from the time they spend meditating.
The Bottom Line
While many people focus on their physical well-being, some people neglect mental healthcare. Mental health is not just a metric for well-being, but also a tool to optimize your success in every area of your life. Meditation helps you understand and improve your mental well-being, especially when you pick a type of meditation that is best for your goals and preferences.
Determining which kind of meditation is best for you can be a journey, and you may have to try different types to see what fits best in your life. Pick an end goal for your meditation, identify a type of healing you’d like to experience through meditation, or make a goal to be open to any meditation experience.
If you’re looking to create more healthier habits in your life, reach out to one of our Arootah Coaches to learn how they can support you.