There are many styles and approaches to Meditation. Many of these are similar in their methodology. It’s good to explore your options and discover what works best for you. Be mindful of quick-fix, immediate-results mentality. Meditation is a long-term practice whose effects unfold and integrate over time. With the emergence of modern technology, virtual instruction and app-based learning have burst onto the scene. While these options are convenient, we recommend personalized instruction and in-person, if possible. When your learning process is intimate and personalized, you reap exponential benefit over time. The quality you receive from your experience is reflected in the quality you offer it. Let’s explore 3 Main Types of Meditation in some detail:
Transcendental Meditation burst onto the American scene in the 1960s. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian master, brought this house-holder technique to the West. It quickly gained popularity for its universal accessibility, ease, and effectiveness. Transcendental Meditation and Vedic Meditation are known as transcending techniques. Vedic Meditation and TM come from the same Tradition, the Shankaracharya Tradition of India. They are designed to cause the practitioner to transcend (go beyond) his/her conscious thinking mind and arrive in a unique state of consciousness beyond thought. A mantra is thought silently, in a very particular way, triggering this de-exciting (settling down) process. When we use a transcending technique properly, we transcend even the technique itself in various moments. We don’t try to stay with it, we don’t wrestle with our mind. The hallmark of this approach to Meditation is effortlessness and surrender. Other techniques implore varying degrees of focus and control. With this approach, our job is to get out of our own way, and let go! If you’re ready to get started, inquire within. There’s no time like the Present.
Also called Insight Meditation, Vipassana has gained popularity in the West over the last few decades. Multi-day Vipassana retreats offer deep-dive experiences with the value of structure, setting, and guidance. With this approach to Meditation, we sit in silence and upright, with the head above the heart. We draw our awareness inward, to our breath and to the sensations of our body, emotions, and mind. Correct practice asks us to become a neutral observer. To notice and deeply allow our inner experience, moment to moment. Through our practice, we discover the transitory nature of our thoughts, our emotions, our body sensations, and our circumstances. All of these experiences come and go within the vast, infinitely stable realm of consciousness. This is the essence of your own Self.
Metta Meditation, popularized as Loving-Kindness Meditation, is uniquely valuable in its own right. This approach to Meditation highlights relationships, community, and our collective consciousness. With this approach, we guide our Awareness to the people in our lives. We send them positive, loving, healing, and supportive energy. We highlight any grievances and grudges we are holding onto, creating space to forgive, release, and surrender. Metta Meditation is a beautiful opportunity to connect with those we Love, in our own intimate way. We are unified by energy and consciousness is non-local. When we mindfully offer loving-kindness to others, that energy is received. This offering also upgrades the one who offers it. What we give, is what we receive. Ultimately, for any of these techniques, direct experience is the best teacher. Namaste!