Updated: Apr 15, 2021
How Exploring Different Styles of Meditation Can Lead You To Harmonious Practice
Meditation: what a broad brush! For most that one word in one stroke paints a picture of peaceful people sitting silently, eyes closed, in perfect union with themselves and the universe.
I can only speak for myself, but when meditation was first suggested to me by my midwife, I was intimidated. How could I as a new mom in her mid-twenties with a very tired body and very busy brain ever achieve enlightenment? When would I have the time? What if I was distracted (and with a newborn there was no doubt that I would be distracted)? Fast forward to today; my practice is still bumpy, but less so. It is still sidetracked by life's surprises, and yet, it has grown to encompass more than just quiet moments alone on my mat. Meditation is a practice that infuses a steadying awareness into even the most mundane and manic moments.
I am grateful to be able to teach and to demystify mediation as I guide others in exploring their own individual practices, but with so many types of meditation practice how do we know where to start?
Being curious and open to experiencing multiple modalities of meditation allows each of us to distinguish which practice(s) meet our needs in the moment and to build a tool box into which we can reach when our inner and outer worlds pull us away from being present in what is into the fray of distraction and disharmony. The two most recognizable forms are focused or concentrative meditation in which a thought, word(s), or physical practice like breathing or walking are used to promote focus while open monitoring practices aim to awaken awareness as an observer without trying to control thoughts or emotions that arise.
Whatever style of meditation we choose to practice, there are four qualities that all meditation practices share
an open, nonjudgmental attitude
intention for the practice (focused or open monitoring)
a comfortable position for the practitioner
a location with minimal distraction
Meditation has been proven to facilitate the lowering of blood pressure, to improve mental well-being and to develop specific capacities such as calmness, clarity and concentration. If you are curious about learning to meditate, I invite you to become a member of the Alight Ashram community.