Thursday, July 11, 2013

Meditation Techniques

Meditation has many benefits and anyone who has tried even a single meditation technique will swear by it. Everybody meditates to bring peace and serenity into their lives, to be one with their inner selves, to heal and to improve their mental and physical health. Thus, no matter what the reason for practicing it, meditation is universal.

Now, although meditation is universal, meditation techniques may differ from one culture to another. Often different meditation techniques are suited to different personality types. Some techniques are expansive and allow for the free flow of thoughts and their observation whereas some types are concentrative that involve bringing focus into one's thoughts.

If, as the old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, then the journey of meditation begins with the cultivation of awareness, or attention. In fact, awareness is the mental muscle that carries you along and sustains you on your journey, not only at the start but every step of the way. No matter which path or technique you choose, the secret of meditation lies in developing, focusing, and directing your awareness. 

An overview of various meditation techniques has been listed for your reference:

Mantra Meditation: The mantra meditation technique involves the conscious repetitions of certain sounds that appeal to the mind in order to achieve a meditative state. Mantra literally means ‘revealed sound’ or a combination of sounds that develop spontaneously. It is important not to confuse a mantra with religious chants. A mantra maybe given by a guru or may be a personally chosen sound or word, but the important thing is that it must appeal to the mind.

Trataka Meditation: The Trataka meditation technique is one that has been followed by many religious systems, including Sufism and Christianity. In this, a steady gaze is performed on any one particular object. Trataka is an established yoga cleansing technique and dedicated practice of the same takes it to the highest level of meditation.

Chakra Meditation: Chakras represent a higher level of energy manifestation and development of self. The meaning of the word ‘Chakra’ is a wheel. Each chakra represents the major nerve centers that branch off from the spinal cord, serving the major organs of the body. In all, there are seven chakras. The main aim of this meditation technique is to help individuals discover and explore their chakras, thereby awakening them on a conscious level in a balanced and integrated way.

Vipassana Meditation: The word Vipassana means ‘insight’. It refers to the ability to see things as they really are, attained through a process of self-observation. It means identifying one’s own nature, recognizing the bad elements and consciously eliminating them from the system. Vipassana is a meditation technique that is free of rites, helps develop wisdom and allows an individual to study different sensations in the body such as cold, pain, itching, etc.

Raja Yoga meditation: This form of meditation takes the yogi (person who practices meditation) through to a higher level of oneness and a greatly ennobling experience. It fills the yogi with super-sensuous joy or bliss that elevates the mind away from pleasures of the flesh and reforms bad habits. A Raja Yogi establishes a relationship with God and gives up all worldly pleasures and devotes all energies to the spiritual awakening of fellow beings. 

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