There are several types of meditation, and you’ll need to choose one that will work best for you. First, we’re going to go over 4 questions that you need to ask yourself to help determine what type of meditation will suit you best, and then we’ll take a quick look at the 3 types of meditation that you can choose from.
1. What type of meditation does my lifestyle need?
If you live a “fast and furious” life where you always seem to be on the go and dealing with a lot of stress, then you’ll need a meditation type that will help you relax and stay centered and stress-free. However, if your life is more laid back, then you’ll want a type of meditation that focuses on keeping you focused and your mind sharp.
2. How much time can I devote to meditation?
If you want to get the most out of a meditation technique, you need to be able to devote a certain amount of time to it. Any less time, and you won’t be getting all the benefits, which is why it’s important to consider timeframes before getting started. While some types of meditation require two 1-hour sessions every day, others only require 15 to 20 minutes a day to work.
3. What do I want to get out of meditation?
Because each type of meditation works differently with your mind and body, you have to also consider what you want to get out of it. While one type of meditation will help you become more compassionate and creative, the other two types can boost your psychological and physical health. Some meditation techniques are targeted at relieving addiction, anxiety, insomnia, and many other conditions.
4. Do you agree with the beliefs and philosophies of the meditation type?
Some meditation types are much more spiritually-rooted than others, so you need to make sure you’re 100% comfortable with the spiritual side of meditation before you begin. Fortunately, there are some types of meditation that don’t have a strong spiritual base, so anyone can enjoy these without feeling a conflict of beliefs come up.
Now, here are the three main types of meditation that you can choose from:
1. Open Monitoring
Often shortened to OM, open monitoring finds its origins in Buddhism. The focus is on being aware of your breathing, feelings, and thoughts, and the goal is to detach yourself from your mind. Once you become successful at detaching yourself from your mind, then it will give you the ability to identify with your emotions rather than being controlled by them.
2. Focused Attention
Also known as FA, this style of meditation involves focusing your attention onto one thing. This is usually something specific like an image that you visualize, or it could be something more general like a sound or an emotion. The goal of focused attention is to keep your mind focused on only one thing so that you can relax and allow everything else to fade away into the background.
AST meditation techniques involve selecting a mantra (or having one selected for you by a mentor), and repeating it gently over and over again. It’s the mantra itself as it’s repeated that helps you reach a meditative state and calms the nervous system. It works similarly to FA meditation as you focus on just one mantra, but the two are actually very different.