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The title could be a bit confusing, as we were all taught that meditation is just that - meditation. So, how could there be forms and types? But stay with me, and I will explain.
Now, the basic and most important reason for meditation still remains the same - calming the mind, focusing on the beyond, connecting with the divine and drawing inspiration for our life. The sequence is more or less the same. The idea is to calm the noises (including mind chatter) in our environment that disturbs us from having clarity of thought. When we do that, we are free to listen.
So, if everything is the same, why do we call it forms of meditation? Well, there is a reason. The idea is what we intend to achieve out of the meditation. It could be to calm the mind, or to find an answer or to find a meaning to our lives, and so on. Depending on our pursuit, the type or form can differ.
This is the most basic form of meditation and the one which the practitioners would be using more than 90% of the time. After all, the chatter that our mind creates and keeps telling us what to do and what not to do, what to be and what not to be, has to end somewhere. Meditation is where it ends.
The process is also quite simple. It is to find a calm place with least disturbance and distraction. Then be seated in a comfortable position and close our eyes. Thereafter, focus on one part of our body or voice or pattern. The best and the most reliable is the breathing pattern which is continuous, recurring and is easy to focus on.
When we focus on the breathing, we come to the present time, and our mind is stopped from wavering in the past or scampering into the future. When that happens, the mind calms down and then it stops playing around. That’s when we can listen to what we couldn’t among the chatter of the mind earlier.
This is essentially the same form of meditation, however, with an attempt to seek an answer. The only difference is that before you start your meditation, you ask a question and then get into the meditation.
The meditation process is the same. However, when your mind is finally silent, you will be inspired towards a solution that answers your question. Now, without meditating, it may sound far fetched, but try it, and you will love what I am talking about.
A small caution, don’t try to meditate while thinking about the problem. Otherwise, your mind will be the one trying to find a solution. When it is trying to find a solution, it will never be calm. The core of the solution-seeking meditation is to allow the answer to come from within (or divine) self and not from the mind. So, ask the question, then stop, and then start meditation. Enjoy the process!!
Now, this form of meditation could be either of the two that we have discussed so far. The only difference is that instead of we focusing ourselves, we are guided by an outside voice on what to do. This form works for people who are unable to focus on their own.
There are many ways of finding a guided meditation host. It could be a person that you know who is proficient in meditation or could be a monk (or priest) or even your friendly neighbourhood YouTube in these COVID situations.
Interestingly, there are numerous modes of meditation presented on YouTube. My only recommendation is to do a background search on the teachers who you choose to follow on YouTube. A good teacher makes a lot of difference. I personally follow Master Sri Akarshana (who was known as Eric Ho earlier). The guided meditations of his are good. I can vouch for that.
So, that’s about the forms of meditation. You can start with the basic and then progress ahead with time.
For those who have meditated, the answer would be simple – meditation is worth more than what it promises. There would be hardly anyone who would be disappointed with meditation, and therefore, it only makes sense to try it out.
I say that again, try it out. You have nothing to lose!