THE 5 MOST IMPACTFUL FORMS OF MEDITATION

In today’s crazy and hectic world, meditation is becoming increasingly critical, just to sustain yourself.  Work, school, family, and friends keep your schedule constantly in flux.  Sometimes, we don’t even find the time for ourselves anymore.

However, it’s always important to find the time to be alone and meditate every now and then. After all, doing so will only bring you nothing but benefits.

How Often Should You Meditate?

There is really no right or wrong answer to this, so there’s no need to worry.  There’s no pressure to meditate every day, especially if you really can’t find the time to.

Whether you meditate every day or just once a week, the point is to sit down, close your eyes (sometimes) and meditate.

The 5 Most Impactful Forms of Meditation

It’s recommended to meditate at the same time every day or week, depending on one’s schedule. Doing so will allow you to easily form a habit.

Meditation doesn’t have to take place in a fancy area – it can be done anywhere.  Just take a few minutes to take deep, calming breaths, especially when stressed, and try to clear the mind of any worries.

1. Zazen

Otherwise known as Zen Meditation, this technique is from the Japanese word meaning “seated meditation.”  This is a type of Buddhist practice where a person simply focuses on their breath and allows thoughts to come and go.

For Zazen, the practitioner needs to be seated in a comfortable position, with their back straight. This is an important thing to note about Zen meditation: it’s strict when it comes to the posture.

The spine must be straight, the chin needs to be tucked in, and lastly, the hands should be over the belly.

Unlike other forms of meditation, Zazen requires the practitioner to open their eyes and keep it downcast. The benefits you can get from doing Zen meditation is more on the mental side.

For example, it allows one to forget and let go of any judgmental thoughts.

2. Spiritual Meditation

Spiritual meditation can have chanted prayers, but it can also be silent prayers – it all depends on the tradition you are following.  It’s a well-known fact that many religions across the world practice meditation in order to be and feel closer to the deity they worship.

However, that doesn’t really apply to those religions with non-theistic traditions, such as Buddhism.  For those practitioners, spiritual meditation is more about self-awareness and enlightenment.

When looking at this form through that point of view, it is then safe to say that spiritual meditation can be about trying to be the best version of ourselves.

You can practice this anywhere, but some recommended places are at home, within nature, or even where one worships their god.  It is perfect for those people who are more than open to spending time with oneself, learning and reflecting on who they are.

It’s also great for religious people who want to grow not only mentally, but spiritually as well. Overall, spiritual meditation allows one to find ease in loving others and being more compassionate.

3. Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana is an Indian meditation that could be translated to “to see things as they really are.” It’s such a well-known practice that in fact, the mindfulness meditation stemmed from it.  As a result, similarities can be seen between the two.

The aim of Vipassana is for one to remain focused on their breathing – in and out through the nose.  Just like mindfulness meditation, an individual should just take note of their thoughts and should their minds wander, their attention should be brought back to their breathing.

It’s a perfect technique to practice for anyone, but especially beginners.

Usually, Vipassana meditation is taught within a 10-day course or retreat, during which time you are not allowed to tell lies, drink alcohol or anything intoxicating, among other rules.

4. Loving Kindness Meditation

Loving Kindness Meditation or Metta Meditation is perfect for people struggling with low self-esteem or for those who want to be kinder to others.  This technique stemmed from Buddhist teachings and it’s all about wishing oneself as well as others well.

You will usually sit in a comfortable position when practicing this form and recites phrases or words that can lead you to feel happy and warm.  For instance, after breathing deeply, you repeat “May I be happy.  May I be well. May I be safe.”  Do note that it doesn’t have to be these exact words.

After directing love and kindness to yourself, you can then direct that affection to loved ones.

You can even think about people you don’t really like or have a hard time dealing with.  The meditation ends with a mantra that directs the kindness to every living thing.

This is a wonderful meditation to practice in order to have more empathy toward others and even to yourself.

5. Mindfulness Meditation

This is a fairly popular form of meditation that was inspired by the Buddha’s teachings.  It allows the practitioner to know and understand his or her mind better.

The self-awareness you can get after practicing this allows them to throw away negative feelings and habits that prevent them from finding happiness and peace.

First and foremost, you must be mindful of your thoughts.  It’s quite similar to Zen meditation wherein you should just allow their thoughts to float by without worrying too much about it.

You should be sitting down with your legs crossed and back straight, focusing on their breath.

If you find that your thoughts are starting to wander, then it’s best to acknowledge the thought and then go back to focusing on the breathing.  By doing this practice, it allows you to keep your cool at all times – no matter the situation.

There are so many forms of meditation that it would be hard to list everything.  However, these 5 forms are a good start, especially for beginners.  As mentioned, it can be done anywhere and at any time of the day.

Keep in mind that meditating is not a competition and there is no right or wrong way to go about it.  Everyone meditates in their own way and at their own time, so there’s no point in comparing yourself to those who meditate every day and may have more experience.

As long as you find the time to meditate and clear your head, then you will be able to reap the benefits.  If only meditating once a week, this can slowly be increased eventually as needed.

Not only is it good for your mental health, but it’s also good for the body’s physical health.  If in a lot of stress and anxiety, either because of work or school, then try taking a few moments to meditate.

Choose from the different forms of meditation available to suit your needs and feel the benefits coursing through the body after the session.

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Michael Kayia

Michael is currently living in Tokyo. He has been meditating for years, and if he is not writing, he is probably hunting for Ramen in Shibuya.You can find out more about him on Kayia.co

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