Meditation is a practice that has been used globally over centuries to enhance the quality of life. Now, it appears to be making a comeback.
Through today’s lifestyle, we’ve created nearly unattainable expectations for ourselves; we’re surrounded by stimuli and drown in information. We work long hours for weeks on end, year after year, decade after decade, in the hope of creating the life we envision for ourselves only to discover it’s an elusive dream.
Meditation offers us an oasis of relaxation amid the stress we’ve created. Research suggests that meditation has the potential for more than just temporary stress relief. “Meditation is also a consciousness-changing technique that has been shown to have a wide number of benefits on psychological well-being.” (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Meditation: In-Depth. Updated January 2, 2019.) Not only does it help with mental health, but it can also help fight chronic illnesses, heart disease, and chronic pain.
The practice exists in many forms, choosing one that suits your personality shouldn’t be an issue.
One of the first things that comes to mind upon hearing the word meditation is that of someone sitting cross-legged, motionless, eyes closed. Although this is one way to meditate, it’s not the only way. There are many meditative experiences to choose from, one for nearly every personality type.
Here are 5 Popular Forms of Meditation Practices:
Mindfulness is about being aware of what we’re doing and where we are without reacting to what’s going on around us. It’s about being aware, observing, accepting all that arises, and to do this without judgment.
Mindfulness meditation, therefore, is about being fully present with your thoughts. You can do it anywhere, anytime. It’s the simple act of observing your thoughts and emotions, and letting them pass by without engagement.
The fundamental idea behind Kundalini meditation is to awaken untapped Kundalini energy, which is found at the base of the spine, and allow it to move up the spine to the head.
Kundalini meditations tap into the unconscious mind by guiding the body through breathwork, mantra, mudras (hand positions), and chants. Besides reaching the goal of enlightenment, these meditations can also reduce stress, lessen addictions, and clear chakras.
Guided Meditation aka Visualization
Visualization is a form of meditation where you conjure images or situations that you find pleasant and relaxing. Using smell, sound, and textures as part of the imagery while focusing on specific physical sensations, the result brings peace to the mind.
Visualization is a technique that uses the imagination’s creative power for positive personal transformation.
This type of meditation exchanges breathwork with mental images. It is sometimes guided by a teacher, ergo “guided meditation,” though not always.
Those of us of a certain age will recognize TM as the form of meditation made popular by the Beatles. This meditation uses mantras or a series of Sanskrit words rather than the breath to help with focus. It is usually done seated and is taught by a trained yogi.
TM’s premise is based on the understanding that even though the mind may be agitated at the surface level, its natural state emanates peace.
The benefits of transcendental meditation range from reducing cardiovascular disease to treating PTSD. There are many peer-reviewed articles explaining its benefits.
Loving-Kindness Meditation aka Meta Meditation
This meditation is becoming increasingly popular in Western society and originates from Tibetan Buddhism.
The goal of loving-kindness meditation is to cultivate an attitude of love and kindness toward everything, including a person’s enemies and sources of stress. It always starts with sending love to oneself, specific individuals or situations, and the world.
Loving-kindness meditation helps boost empathy, positivism, acceptance, and kindness toward oneself and others. It’s also thought to decrease depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and helps those affected by anger, frustration, resentment, and interpersonal conflict.
In our modern, hectic world, meditation has gained traction in recent years as a way to manage stress. Scientific evidence has also emerged that shows meditation can be a helpful tool in fighting chronic illnesses, including depression, cardiovascular disorders, chronic pain, and even PTSD.
These five meditation practices are but a few of the myriad available to us.
Try one, try them all and find the one that best suits your personality. You have nothing to lose and a lot of peace to gain.
– The Wellness Universe
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