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How to choose the right meditation technique for you
Best meditation style?
With so many types of meditation around which one to choose? Is one meditation technique better than the other? Will one bring results sooner or deeper than the other? Will the effects of one meditation style last longer than those of another? You may have to try a few before you pick one. And the same as with asanas (yoga postures) it also depends so much on the teacher!
East VS West
Vinyasa, kundalini, mindful, stop, minute, bhajan... have you guessed what all those words have in common? all those are styles of meditation. Some are ancient and have their origins in the East and Eastern scriptures tell us they were given to men by the Gods. Others are less than 5 years old and were adapted by western minds with degrees in psychology and other specialties.
But is any style really "better" than another? Is there any one style that could be considered "the" best? Indeed. Depending on the occasion and the goal you have in mind.... and the meditator! We all have different needs, wants and challenges and for each we can find a meditation style that will help us best.
There are many meditation techniques that require "aids" like gongs, bells, music, some may ask you to perform rituals. Some meditations will tell you to dance, humm, some to make efforts to move different muscles in your body in an awkward ways! There is so much variety!
First things First
With so many types of meditation around which one to choose? The answer is the same as with any other thing we choose in life. Choose what suits your needs best. You may have to try a few styles - or read about a few of them- before you decide to give any of them a chance. Once you have tried them for the first time you will have a vague idea of the effects they can have on you. I say vague idea because unless you practice them for a little while you may not be able to have clear the physical, mental and emotional changes the style you choose brings about in you.
I would say try a style every day for a week. If you can do so for 20 minutes in a row at least. At the end of the first week you will have a better idea of what that particular style does to you.
However, first and foremost, you need to decide what exactly is it that you expect from meditation. Some of the questions to ask yourself are:
- Do you want relaxation? Sense of peace? Almost everyone wants this from meditation and almost any type of meditation can give it to you... or at least it will keep your mind busy trying something new as opposed to focused on the issues that haunt your life.
- Do you want to find a group of kindred people to socialize with? Ahh, then you need to find a meditation group that gathers regularly. They may even organize retreats not only for the meditators but for their families too.
- Do you prefer to meditate in the peace of your own home? Make sure they will teach you the technique on the first session and that you can continue on your own. Or get the contact information of the teacher just in case you have any questions or concerns.
- Do you want to get serious about spirituality or is it just as a stress relief that you want meditation for? As I said there are all kinds of meditation for every need, want and lifestyle. Some may require some changes in your every day life like diet, habits and even in your intimate life! Some will teach you how to meditate in one minute only and get all the relaxation and centeredness you need from it!
Are you sure this is right??
Incredibly enough the market has been swamped with self appointed meditation and yoga teachers. Ok, the yoga teachers may not all be self appointed but are still lacking so much of the essence of yoga. For example I can bet 99% of them do not know that meditation was the very first type of yoga from which all other forms evolved.
I once was talking with someone who told me that to meditate longer than 3 hours was harmful for your body since the chemical changes were similar to those of some drugs. When I told him that I had meditated up to 16 hours a day he stared at me in disbelief. You'll see, he paid thousands of dollars to learn a specific type of meditation and that is the information he received.
How will you be able to tell what is right and what is wrong? as with most things by trial and error. One thing I can assure you: Meditating more than 3 hours in a row causes NO harm. Actually it simply increases your concentration and hones your senses.
Then again, who do you think is telling the truth? The teacher that requests thousands of dollars to teach his meditation style or me? You may have to decide by your self
Meditation for beginners
Wait! Are you positive you are a "beginner"?
The fact that you may be trying meditation for the first time in this life doesn't necessarily mean that you are new to it. The simple fact of being attracted to it shows that you already have some understanding and spiritual awareness. The best indicator of whether or not you are a beginner will be in the very personal experiences you have during your meditation. However, being a beginner or an advanced meditator is not a goal here, unless you are serious about your spirituality. Otherwise, as long as you get what you want from the meditation you choose you are on the right track.
Now, although your soul may be no novice to meditation, your mind, the one that carries your personality better known as _____ (fill in the blank with your name), may not remember a thing about how to do it. There are two things that your mind may struggle with: concentration and time spent meditating. How to handle those two?
First I wil advise you to focus on how to improve your concentration, after that it is all just a matter of practice. Make sure you follow the instructions of the teacher and if you have any questions or need more help make sure to let him/her know. Stay in the present moment, FEEL the present moment where perfection exists.
What meditation technique will have the longest lasting effects? The one where you manage to stay the longest in the PRESENT moment. Seriously, regardless of how long you meditate for or what technique you use. This is the reason that some people get better results than others, from their ability to stay focused on the PRESENT moment.
The Formula made Simple
Take into account:
Your needs. What are you trying to achieve?
The time you can devote to your meditation.
The teacher! I can not emphasize this enough. Does your teacher look like he practices what he preaches? and does he get good results?
Any other requirements the teacher may ask for: money, set up, clothes (or lack thereof), gongs, candles, etc
Then do a research, find the one that may give you the results you are looking for and try it! sincerely and honestly.
If after some time you feel you have outgrown a particular meditation style, or teacher, feel free to move on! We all are here to become whole, and the pieces of the puzzle may be found in different places.
Good luck in your search and journey!
Interested in spirituality?
Then like my brand new FB page where I share spiritual quotes, with lovely images, from my upcoming book that will be published at the end of 2013.
See you there!
I always like to listen to what others have to say. I think this is one of the best ways of learning, when you become aware of a different perspective on the same topic. If you have questions please let me know to help me make this lense more complete for you and others.