Everyone tries to meditate at some point in their life. It’s the sort of thing most people associate with Himalayan mystics, yoga gurus, and hermits. Movies and TV shows may have even convinced some that meditation will somehow give them supernatural cognitive abilities.
While none of that is true, it’s a known fact that meditation could be helpful. It has a measurable and well-documented positive effect on your mind and body. Meditation could help you focus better, improve your moods, enhance emotional well-being, boost your immunity, and improve memory.
Scientific research has concluded that almost everyone needs to meditate regularly. Doctors actively encourage patients with acute pain, high blood pressure, and certain psychological disorders to practice mindful meditation to control the symptoms. But despite the evidence most people simply do not meditate. The reason for this could well be that meditation is grossly misunderstood.
The anecdotal evidence, marketing ploys, and lack of awareness has made people ignore the benefits of meditation. People tend to be overwhelmed by all the contradictory information on this subject. Without the right information people generally struggle to find inner peace through meditation.
So, here are the most prominent and popular forms of meditation:
Mindful meditation may just be the most popular form of meditating. This sort of meditation is more passive and non-controlling. Essentially, you take on the role of the observer. You witness the thoughts that occur but you help yourself from indulging in them. You keep yourself aloof. The trick is to be non-judgmental while you have the thoughts you usually have. You’ll soon notice a pattern of thought and action that you’ve become accustomed to. This will help you understand yourself better.
Mindfulness may be the most accessible type of meditation and also the easiest to get started with. There are guided courses online and offline that could help you practice, but most people usually try it out on their own.
Bringing awareness to every thought and action is a really straightforward way to meditate. Research also suggests that it could have a lasting impact on the structure of your brain. The best thing is you don’t need intense practice or hours of concentration for it to work. You simply learn the basics and start right away.
Concentration meditation is a little more interesting. It involves focusing on single thing for as long as possible. You could pick to focus on a lite candle, a certain repetitive sound, or even your own breathing. As long as the object or sound is consistent and you can provide your undivided attention, you’ll be deeply meditating.
Compared to mindfulness, however, this type of meditation takes a little practice to get right. Initially you’ll feel somewhat fidgety and unable to concentrate. Random thoughts and emotions will keep popping up the first few times you try. But over time there’s a good chance you’ll improve and focus on a single point for minutes without needing a break.
Another form of meditation involves emptying the mind completely. Void meditation is a lot more challenging than the other two mentioned so far. It takes a lot of practice to completely shut out the world and make your mind a vast sea of emptiness. Thoughts and anxieties will crop up initially, but the more your practice the better you’ll get at maintaining a state of voidness for longer.
A sensory deprivation tank could be the best example of void meditation. Or you could just sit or lie down silently for a few minutes and try to rid your mind of any thoughts. Research suggests void meditation has a positive impact on your mood. It helps to release happy hormones like dopamine and endorphins.
Action meditation is a form of concentration meditation where you focus on the ways your body moves during physical exercise. In other words, it’s yoga. The soft and fluid movements in yoga can help you focus your attention and enter a state of active meditation.
The best thing about this type of meditation is that it’s a way to get exercise and inner peace at the same time. You can boost your fitness and flexibility while relaxing your senses and improving concentration.
There are many other forms of meditation, though not all of them are as effective. Chanting, for example, is a great way to meditate by focusing on a single word or phrase you vocally repeat. Buddhist monks focus on cultivating compassion, which is considered another form of meditation as well.
These were some of the most common forms of meditation for inner peace. Research is ongoing about the way meditation works and the true benefits of regular practice, but one thing is for sure - there is no superior technique. In other words, meditation isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone responds to different techniques differently. To find true inner peace, try all the meditation techniques you possibly can and settle on the one that feels most natural to you. Consider your work schedule, your habits, needs, and state of mind, while deciding on the best form of meditation.