I’ve recently posted a list of meditation types. This brief list doesn’t include all the sub-types and variations, but it gives an idea of what’s available to someone who wants to explore meditation. From that list, my favorites (and the ones I’m most familiar with) are guided meditation and mindfulness meditation. Below I share my favorite top five meditations, which are all included in those two types.
1. Journey Meditation
This is a type of guided meditation, and by far my favorite. The narrator takes you on a journey to a lake, an island, a cave behind waterfalls, or wherever else. I’ve experienced it a few times in a group meditation, and I found it fascinating how everyone’s journey was so different from each other’s. Sometimes I was taken back to a place I used to go in my childhood, awakening distant memories associated to that place. Other times I found special objects, such as a blue-green seashell or a black pebble that glowed bright orange and was hot to the touch. I never know what to expect, and I find it easy to be “in the moment” and stay focused on what the narrator is saying and the images going on in my mind. I always learn something about myself from those meditations. I’m still trying to find a recorded one I could add to my toolbox page, but I’m having a hard time finding one I can really connect with. If you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments.
2. Basic Mindfulness Meditation
This meditation is very simple and can be done anywhere, any time:
I sometimes take a short break from my busy day to just take a few deep breaths, quiet my thoughts, and go within to find that peace, that clarity I can only find when I go past my thoughts and deep within my heart. My goal is to practice this throughout the day, staying present and mindful instead of living in the past or in the future. It doesn’t have to be your breath you’re focusing on, it could be the experience of taking a morning shower, having a meal and really tasting it and staying present while you eat, or taking a walk and just listening to all the sounds around you without focusing on any of them in particular. The goal is to live in the moment.
3. Body Scan Meditation
Source: Fix.com Blog
In this type of mindfulness meditation, you focus on each part of your body, starting from your feet all the way up to your head, feeling any sensation you may find along the way, being aware of any tension that exists, any point of contact with your surroundings (floor, chair, mat, etc.). I find this easier than just focusing on my breath, and as an added advantage, I take notice of tension I have in my body that I was unaware of, and I can consciously release this tension to feel more relaxed.
4. Connecting to Your Inner Guidance
We all have access to our own inner guidance, once we go past our thoughts and everything else blocking the light. I found two guided meditations about connecting with this guidance.
The first one is from Christie Marie Sheldon, founder of the Love or Above method. It came as part of a paid package, so I can’t share it here, but I’ll describe it briefly. In this meditation, she guides you through picturing a source of light about three hundred feet above your head, and allowing it to fill you up and surround you like a rain shower, from the top of your head, going through you all the way to your feet and continuing to the center of the planet. Then from the center of the earth, you picture another light that feels like motherly love. This light comes up through your feet, all the way to your heart until you radiate it all around you. The whole process only takes about five minutes, but the goal is to carry this feeling with you throughout the day.
The second one is lesson #44 in A Course in Miracles. It teaches you to sink into your mind, going past your thoughts and feelings that are clouding your vision and making you unaware of this light within you, and go deep within your mind to reach that light. The light is always there, and can be accessed at any time for guidance and support. What’s interesting with this meditation is that the light is within you, unlike the previous meditation which has you picture an external light and inviting it in.
5. Crystal Bowls / Music Meditation
Crystal bowls (also called singing bowls) can be part of a meditation to enhance the experience. Each of these bowls plays a different sound that resonates with one of the main chakras. I’ve experienced them a few times in guided meditations in a group setting, and I absolutely love them. Some people can’t stand them, so you have to try it and see if this is something for you.
I’ve participated in a few mindfulness meditations where we had to focus on each instrument or on the music itself and let go of any other thoughts we may have. It’s a nice variation from focusing on your breathing.
To me, background music is always a nice enhancement to any meditation as it helps me stay focused and creates a more pleasant experience than just silence or listening to someone’s voice. But that’s a matter of preference. Some people prefer no music, and that’s perfectly fine too. Silent meditation is just not for me.
Question of the week: What’s your favorite type of meditation?