Beginners Guide to Meditation
If you need a moment for yourself in the midst of all the chaos, then meditation is the answer for you. Sit comfortably and let me walk you through the alley of tranquility.
Let’s start this article with a quote by the famous French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne “The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself” and meditation is all about exploring your inside.
The term meditation derives from a Latin word "meditatum" that means “to ponder”, and through meditation, we can open the door of self-enlightenment for ourselves. Meditation is a practice in which several techniques like mindfulness or putting your focus on a specific object, helps to achieve a sense of spiritual and mental harmony. Meditation might seem like an ancient concept, but amusingly it is still practiced by people all over the world.
Origin of Meditation:
There is a clash between the several schools of thought when it comes to the origin of meditation but most people consider its origin to be somewhere between ancient India to China. During 1500 BC in India, the practice of Dhyāna and Jhāna was famous to train the mind, which we call meditation now. Many of these records come from the Hindu scripture of Vedantism. Vedantism explicated the meditation practices that were common in ancient India. The Buddhist scriptures are also the living proof of the popularity of meditation in ancient India.
There is a widespread myth, which regards Buddha as the founder of meditation. The Buddha was a prince who became a priest, sage, philosopher, and religious leader, known by other names, such as Siddhartha Gautama in Sanskrit or Siddhattha Gotama in Pali. The teachings of Buddha lay the foundation of Buddhism. Because of this, it could be convenient to believe that meditation was supposedly invented by Buddha, but this is not accurate. The scriptures of Buddhism refer to various meditation practices, but Buddha sought out other enlightened teachers to learn about the practices and means of self-fulfillment. The Buddha himself did not invent it, even though he was contributory in promoting the importance of meditation as a discipline.
Moreover, some people regard Lao Tze, the actual founder of meditation. Lao-Tze was an ancient Chinese scholar, often remembered by the name Lao-Tzu and Laozi, whose name is simply a homage title, which means 'Old Teacher' or 'Old Master.' He is the author of the Tao-te-Ching, a text book that explains his thoughts and teachings that conceived the philosophical framework of Taoism, illustrating several meditative practices and principles of wisdom. There is a lot of debate as to whether Lao-Tze lived as a single entity or whether the term applies to a group of people and thinkers who shared the same thoughts.
Types of Meditation:
Now that you are well informed about the origin and concept of meditation, we can move forward towards diversity. There are various types of meditations but not all meditation styles are accurate for everyone. Tune in to find out which meditation style is the best for you.
It is the most common type of meditation. It gained popularity due to the teachings of Buddha. In this meditation, we let our thoughts flow through our heads. We try to be less critical and judgmental about the thoughts that are flowing through our heads. We merely notice the pattern of thoughts. This meditation helps us to connect individual awareness with concentration.
It is a meditation in which a person connects to something greater than him/her. This type of meditation is a part of various religions. Through this meditation, the person forms a connection with the universe or God through silence. Some people believe that spiritual meditation can help them achieve superpowers like telepathy or invisibility but, spiritual meditation helps us to gain spiritual awareness, which I consider to be nobler than those imbecile sets of superpowers.
In this therapy, we concentrate intently on something as a way to remain in the current moment and to calm down our senses. Unlike classical meditation, where you concentrate on nothing to relax your mind. In focused meditation, we focus solely on one thing, typically sensory stimulation such as noises, visual objects, touch perceptions, tastes, smells, and even your breathing.
It is a meditation in which we are "moving". Some people are too restless and energetic to sit somewhere for extended periods. Hence moving meditation is an effective alternative for such hyperactive individuals.
Mantra is a Sanskrit term, in which ‘man’ means mind and ‘tra’ means to release, hence mantra translating into “mind release”. Think of a term or phrase, you would like to chant or mutter while meditating. Think of a positive term, which could delude you with positive energy. Now, chant that term the next time you meditate and focus on that phrase or word rather than your breath while meditating.
There are many other types of meditations but the five mentioned above are the most common ones. According to Andy Puddicombe, the founder of headspace, mindfulness meditation should be the first step before embarking on the journey of meditation and exploring diverse types of meditation.