With all the bustle going on at work and the unending clutter that comes our way in the form of social media, our attention span has become used to being scattered, making it harder to focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Meditation may seem a tad bit old-fashioned, but it is more necessary in this day and age than it ever has been. There are many ways going about meditating, so here a rundown of a few different types of meditation and which one is right for you.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is an old tradition that many cultures followed that essentially exercised for the mind. Through intense reflection and the practice of stillness, the goal of meditation was to establish harmony and calmness. The root behind this activity can stem from religious origins of aligning one's frame of mind to his or her religious beliefs.
Although the end goal is the same, there are a plethora of meditation techniques that are wildly different from each other. Some may fit better to the angle of mental wellness, while others have heavy religious connotations to them. What works for you is strictly boiled down to preferences. Many believe that if meditation ultimately leads to relaxation, the methods will not be the biggest concern.
The term "mindfulness" gets thrown around alot to correlate exercises and even supplements to a calmer center. Although there might be some truth to it, the term is coined from a type of meditation that originated from Buddhism. The main gist of this style of meditation is to disconnect one from his or her thoughts and observe the sequences of which these thoughts occur.
Concentration and reflection are important to identify the separation between passively "spectating" your thoughts and fully being immersed in them. It takes practice (as all meditation styles would) and requires a certain frame of mind, rather than altering the way of thinking in order to find peace and calmness.
The same suggests that this style of meditation has strong religious connotations and you're not wrong for assuming so. This method of meditation comes from Asian religions such as Hinduism and Taoism. This is more about a reflection between yourself and the connection you have with God/Gods under said religions.
Although this would come more naturally to a religious person, the commercial world has found ways to make this palatable for atheists as well. Essential oils are added to enhance the spiritual aspect by engaging the senses. Oils from myrrh, cedar, and sandalwood are commonly used for this.
The name doesn't give much to work with at first, but Focused Meditation requires immense concentration using all five human senses. Hearing the sound of your breathing, or focusing on scents are good ways to narrow your attention down to small details which helps the mind.
Your eyes can be opened during this process too and focusing on the subtlety of an object can work wonders. Despite how easy it sounds, this style of meditation is not approachable for beginners. Not because of the task to find something to focus on, but due to the length of time required to focus on one thing at a time.
Movement meditation may sound complicated or even bordering on workout territory, but it does not. This form of meditation requires you to keep yourself in motion when centering your thoughts. From walking to the woods to engaging in smaller movements like knitting or gardening, the act of moving is meant to be an outlet for establishing a peaceful rhythm.
Through this, the mind tends to be better focused on the "task" at hand. There is, however, a need to distinguish between focusing on your thoughts during the movement phase without daydreaming. This style isn't for everyone, but for those who struggle to sit still, this is the perfect method.
This form of meditation goes back to eastern religion - being present in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. In many television shows, many Buddhists use the phrase "Om' during their meditation. Although this has been heavily commercialized, there is some truth to it.
According to ancient beliefs, chanting the incantation can drastically help experience a deeper level of awareness with your surroundings and internally. Many have claimed the effectiveness of this method and is the perfect fit for those who don't do well with silence.
Despite how cosmic it sounds, Transcendental meditation is popular among those in the scientific community due to its factual legitimacy based on survey data. It originated from yoga and has been a popular method of relieving stress and managing high blood pressure for generations.
This form of meditation also uses elements of Mantra meditation but has become the poster child of defining meditation in the secular community. This form of meditation is supposedly meant to usher practitioners into a higher plane of consciousness, but this can be subject to the case.
This type of meditation could possibly be the most enriching angle of attaining inner peace. Although many others on this list intensify focus and harmony through concentration and repetition, adding love and kindness puts a moral compass that can have long-term implications on your character development. By focusing on accepting others and using your capacity of compassion, detoxing the mind from negative thoughts could be a longer-lasting solution that may reshape your outlook in life.
Ezra Gideon, UNB and Dhaka Courier Correspondent in Singapore.
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