Everyone may feel the need to meditate at one point or another in their life. But first, it’s important to recognize the different types of meditation so you can choose the practice that best suits what we want to achieve.
Stress, anxiety, and lack of awareness about how to manage our emotions have made practicing some existing types of meditation a necessity for many of us.
For this reason, today we want to reveal to you the different types of meditation, as well as the benefits they produce and for whom they are designed.
The 12 Types of Meditation:
The primordial sound meditation
The primordial sound meditation, or PSM, is a healing meditation practice based on mantras. But, what is a mantra? A mantra is a sound, a word, or a phrase that is mindfully repeated, and that makes our mind vibrate.
A mantra is, for example, the classic “Om, Om” or “I AM meditation” or any kind of positive and meaningful words. Practicing mantras help us to stop distracting thoughts from taking over the present moment.
We can think of mantras as sounds chosen at random. In fact, these are sacred sounds, which have had meaning since ancient times.
The primordial sound meditation takes you away from the noise of the mind which causes us to divert from stillness.
Vipassana meditation is also known as “insight meditation”. This practice is very much centered on nasal breathing and the identification of thoughts and emotions, observing them without expressing judgment.
This type of meditation helps us see things as they are and not as we want to see them. It opens our eyes and allows us to understand what is happening within us and around us.
Zazen meditation (Zen)
Zazen meditation, also known as Zen meditation, is a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at the perfection of personhood. It is the direct experience of what we might call ultimate reality or the absolute.
The Zazen practice focuses on the breath but with one essential difference: you do not focus your attention on the nose but on the movement of the stomach. For this type of meditation, the posture must be straight, the chin a little down and the hands placed on the stomach.
Zazen meditation teaches us to see the thoughts passing through our mind, one after the other, observing them and then releasing them.
Metta meditation has its origins in Tibetan Buddhism, a beneficial and compassionate way of meditating.
Through this meditation, we learn to empathize with others more. We face life with more positivity and we learn to accept others as much as we do with ourselves.
People with low self-esteem, perfectionists, and self-critics can benefit a lot from this type of meditation.
The fundamental purpose of Kundalini meditation is to awaken our minds. Through mantras and hymns, we try to access our unconscious mind.
This type of meditation focuses a lot on the spine. The Kundalini energy exists in its lower part.
When we release the energy that resides in our column through mantras and hymns, then we come to wake up and, if we go a little further, we can achieve enlightenment.
According to Hindus, we have 7 chakras. They are energy centers distributed throughout the body.
This type of meditation focuses on the sounds, the arrangement of the hands, the visualization, and the focus on each chakra which will cause us to connect the physical body with the emotional one.
Mindful meditation (Mindfulness)
As the name suggests, mindfulness is a process of being fully aware. In its simplest approach, it is an invitation to focus on the present moment, moment by moment, intentionally, and without value judgment. Most of the time, mindfulness exercises are the type of meditation that is that takes over in schools, businesses, and the apps you put on your phone offer. This is sufficient for the majority because not everyone is interested in the process of spiritual enlightenment or soul searching.
In its more advanced approach, mindfulness becomes an invitation to be fully aware of reality. The monk Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the first to have spread Buddhist teachings in the West, made it a practice in its own right which he taught, in particular, at the Plum Village in France.
Sound meditation uses an instrument, relaxing music, or just the voice (in the form of a sound or a mantra) as the object of meditation. Even if some objects are dedicated to this use, such as the crystal bowl, any musical instrument can touch deeply and have a direct effect on the cells of the body or on the functioning of the brain.
The sound can be a powerful healing tool to calm the mind, ease emotional turmoil, or induce a state of deep relaxation or altered awareness. If it is an instrument that is used, I have never encountered any contraindications to this type of meditation. I have more reservations about some mantras. Most of the classical mantras are beneficial, such as the OM mantra which represents the primordial sound of the Universe or OM MANI PADME HUM which invokes pure wisdom or OM NAMAH SHIVAYA which invokes well-being. But some powerful mantras are used for a purpose that is not always healthy for the individual who is not physiologically ready (see TM below).
Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Transcendental meditation is a technique of relaxation and development of consciousness that is practiced at the rate of two sessions of about twenty minutes per day. It consists of repeating a secret and personal mantra, chosen by a teacher. This technique often presented as a kind of “magic pill” (quick, easy, and absolutely improves every aspect of your life) was invented by the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who popularized it in the West. This meditation would allow the mind to move into a state called “pure consciousness”.
My opinion: A mantra can be a very powerful tool for transformation. Chanting mantras is absolutely not a problem, but using the same mantra every day for the purpose of awakening consciousness can lead to states of consciousness that the individual is not ready for. I, therefore, recommend that you remain cautious about this type of mediation. To me, Transcendental meditation is not a healthy process, is not suitable for children, and has nothing to do in schools.
The word meditation in the classical languages of Buddhism is translated as bhāvanā, which means “mental development”. So the intention of Buddhist meditation is to achieve nirvāna (a philosophical concept meaning “perfect quietude” or “freedom”).
Buddhist meditation always corresponds to a postural, mental, and rigorous practice. It should also be learned from a qualified instructor.
But contrary to the ideas perceived by Westerners, Buddhist meditation is only one element of Buddhism. And its importance varies greatly depending on the school. For most Buddhist traditions, studying the sacred texts is more valuable than meditation alone in achieving profound personal transformation.
Guided meditation is, as the name suggests, letting yourself be guided by a voice. It can have a goal of relaxation, therapy, hypnosis, motivation, relaxation, emotional cleansing, or just well-being. One can obviously create a guided meditation from all of the types mentioned above
The last of the meditations we are going to talk about is Tonglen. This helps us to connect with what makes us suffer, to accept the pain, and be free from it.
We tend to shy away from anything that we see as negative, which causes us pain. However, this only makes the situation worse.
Hence, this type of meditation allows you to fight effectively against these so difficult circumstances present in our lives.
Tonglen meditation helps us let go of negativity, be compassionate, and empathetic towards ourselves. In addition to meditation, you will also find special attention to the breath.
Have you ever tried any of these types of meditations?
While they are all positive, some focus more on certain things than others. Choose the one that best suits your needs and purpose.