Find the meditation style that words best for you and your life. Below you will find nine different kinds of meditations that each offer a unique way to get into a meditative state. If you are looking for your ideal meditation method, this is a good starting point. As you become more experienced at quieting your mind you’ll naturally fine tune you personal meditation style.
Meditation offers many forms to address the specific challenge you face. Which type of meditation best suits you?
1. guided meditation
Guided meditation is a great place to start if you’re not sure what to do. Typically you’ll listen to a voice guide you through the process, somewhat like a yoga class. Depending on the length of the meditation, there most likely will be a few minutes of silence to allow you to start to build the muscle of self-practice. There are many styles and types of mediations based on the need.
Guided mediation is like working out with a trainer. If you’re new to lifting weights, it’s good to use a personal trainer or a good friend to demonstrate the proper form. The keep you focused on each movement as well as keeping track of the time for you.
When first starting to meditate in silence can feel like an eternity, and you end up wondering, “How many more minutes do I have left?” Before you know it, you’ve missed your window of being present worrying about the clock or the timer. You can find guided meditations on meeting relaxation meditations, sound bath meditations or loving compassion meditations.
2. walking meditation
You can practice walking meditation by yourself or in a group. If you search your local neighborhood or city, you should be able to find a place or group that offers this type of meditation. It may be more difficult considering the current state of affairs. There are also videos online if you need to stay safe and social distance. Mindfulness Practice Community of Houston explains that walking meditation “helps us to connect with ourselves and Mother Earth.”
3. mindful meditation
Mindfulness meditation is being present in all that you do. Letting go of the laundry list of items you have to get through on your day, worrying about what happened yesterday, last week, or last year.
Some meditation practices suggest keeping your eyes open during mindful mediation, noticing everything around you. The room you’re in, the floor, the scent, how your body feels. The key is to notice what is around you without allowing judgement or the thinking mind to engage.
4. silent meditation
Silent Meditation is sitting silently and observing your breath, turning off your thinking mind. No speaking, no chanting, no “Om” or large loud exhale. Stillness is the goal; it is difficult to do and is not the first type of mediation recommended for a novice. Distraction creeps in before we realize it. Silent meditation can be mindful and mindful meditation can be silent.
It may help to distract your wondering mind with some sort of white noise like the air conditioner, recommended by Abraham-Hicks, a fan or any other background noise that can help drown out the sound of your thoughts.
Silent meditation does not necessarily mean solitary. There is power in sitting silently with others in a group. There is power in sitting silently with others in a group.
5. mantra meditation
Mantras allow your body to repeat a sound or word to help get you into the right mental state of relaxation for meditation. You could say it’s a proactive form of distraction for our minds. We preoccupy our mind with the mantra, so our mind doesn’t have time to wander off to distract us. If you have loud mental chatter, this may be a suitable type of meditation for you to try.
Like Mantra Meditation, you will be chanting a sound like “Om” or a name or a word that calls to the energy with which you want to connect. There is power in the vibration of sound, especially if you generate the sound from within you. Chanting can be cleansing and a tool to help release stuck energy. It also serves as a buffer against distraction. If you struggle with sitting still, try a chanting meditation.
Journaling is a great way to help clear your mind, to make space for what you want to enter into your life. Journaling is like having a free therapist. Once you get everything out, you somehow feel lighter and rejuvenated. Plus, it’s interesting to look back at old journals to see what you were struggling with and how far you’ve come. Dream journals are useful to help tap into your intuition. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, wake up, and start writing about what you think you were dreaming the next day. Once you do this for a few days, you’ll start remembering your dreams more vividly. It’s like a muscle; the more you use it, the more developed it becomes. The opposite is true, too; if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you’re looking for guidance, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a phenomenal tool.
8. automatic writing
Automatic writing is a little bit different than journaling in that you will receive answers in response to your inquiries. Some practices suggest asking the question with your dominant hand and writing the answers with your non-dominant hand. Another option is to do a mental dump. Once you’ve mentally cleared your mind of all of the things you have to do for the day, concerns, distractions, then your mind and body transition into a different state. If you need clarification on a question:
- Ask your question.
- Write down whatever comes to mind.
- Don’t think about the answer.
Completely immerse yourself in the stream-of-consciousness writing process.
Yoga has many mental benefits, in addition to physical benefits. Yoga improves the mind-body connection. Often, yoga will gently show you parts of the body that have been neglected, need attention or breath, and overworked areas. We tend to over-compensate due to inactivity or habit. Many times we unknowingly have imbalances. Yoga brings us back to center.
Like meditation, it takes practice, commitment, and dedication to see results. Yoga allows for focused attention to your breathing and movement. Yoga is a beautiful discipline that helps quiet the mind. Notice that at the beginning of class, the yoga instructor may ask you to set your intention for the class. It can be one word, such as love, gratitude, or non-judgment.
“Julia Cameron invented the way people renovate the creative soul.” –The New York Times
Over four million copies sold!
Since its first publication, The Artist’s Way phenomena has inspired the genius of Elizabeth Gilbert, Tim Ferriss, and millions of readers to embark on a creative journey and find a deeper connection to process and purpose. Julia Cameron’s novel approach guides readers in uncovering problems areas and pressure points that may be restricting their creative flow and offers techniques to free up any areas where they might be stuck, opening up opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery.
i can't meditate
Meditation is an outlet, a joy, a retreat, not another time on our to-do list in our already hectic lives. If you’re not finding peace or enjoyment during your mediation sessions, ask yourself, “Why is this?” Are you physically uncomfortable? Do you feel like you should be spending your time doing something else? Whatever it is, notice it, let it be. Don’t label it.
Continue with your minute of meditation. Remember that you are growing your meditation muscle, expanding your capabilities. Trust the process. It will get better. Give yourself credit for starting. Celebrate the little victories, even sitting still for one minute, for making an effort. Reward yourself. The next time it will be more comfortable and more manageable, and then you will add time. You’ll stretch yourself, and in one month to three months, you’ll be amazed at the difference.
I can't turn off my mind
If your mind is continuously racing, that’s okay. Try going for a walk or run, doing some push-ups, or dance around your home before your meditation session. Get moving and release pent up energy. The release of your feel-good hormones will create a better association with the meditation process.
Try a yoga class. I found that yoga and meditation reduce mental noise over time. It started in a yoga class for me about ten years ago. At first, I felt stupid and was laughing at myself and everyone else in the room. But then I decided to stop being rude, pay attention, and try to follow along. Once I let go of whatever expectation I had and relaxed, I started realizing meditation’s power—focusing on the body, the breath, and being present in the moment. Learning to settle-in to uncomfortable positions, surrendering. The yoga instructor was terrific. I wish I remembered her name. I am forever grateful to her for showing me how quiet the mind – this is where the real magic is. If I can do it, you can do it.
Books are our teachers. They have been my source of comfort and encouragement over the years. See what calls to you.