In part 1 of this series we dove into 2 wonderful flavors of meditation, Insight Meditation Techniques, which use the active power of intelligence and Mantra-Thought-Intention type meditations which use the vibratory power of sound and thoughts to tune into the individual and Universal Electromagnetic field to produce desired results. In part 2 we will explore the popular category of Concentration and Visualization Meditation Techniques.
3. Concentration and Visualization Meditation Techniques: These are probably the most common and well know of all the meditations and often meditation is defined by these kind of meditations exclusively. They are closely related to the Insight Meditation Techniques with the difference being that Insight Meditation Techniques utilize the active application of intelligence and discernment, while the Concentration Meditation techniques use the power of focused attention to a greater degree. To some extent these meditations lay the groundwork for the Insight Meditations which need a high degree of concentration as a prerequisite to being effective.
- Breath Meditation Technique (Zazen): The heart of Zen Meditation is Zazen, the meditation of the Buddha. In this meditation awareness and concentration are brought to the breathing process to help build mastery over the mind and free the system from dualistic thinking. An in-depth look of this meditation can be found in the popular article Zen Meditation Technique (Zazen) – Free Book of Guided Meditations. Another breath based meditation is Vipassana. In Vipassana one extends one’s awareness from one’s breath, to the body and the sensations that rise and fall within it. The objective being to have insight into the workings of the mind through self-observation. This form of meditation is also called Insight Meditation as it helps one develop insight into the true nature of things.
- Concentration Meditation Technique: There are many meditations that utilize an external object as a focus point for the mind. Zazen/Vipassana belong in this sections as well, but due to their widespread use I mentioned them separately. The objects of focus can be anything from a point on the ceiling, to a flower, to external sounds in the environment. These meditations all develop focus, concentration, self knowledge, calmness and the witnessing consciousness. Their ultimate objective, though, is to have the meditator finally drop the object of concentration and encounter the non-dual nature of Reality directly. Some examples of these meditations can be found in the following articles: Sound Awareness Meditation Technique and candle flame gazing (Trataka) as described in Brain Development and Enlightenment – Awaken the Senses.
- Visualization Meditation Technique: This meditation technique is suitable for those who are creative and perceptive. In this technique the meditator uses visualization techniques to produce the desired results. These can range from simply moving awareness to various areas of the body, to visualizing internal flows of light, to imagining mental places etc. Many internal Chakra Meditations, Kriya Yoga Meditations, Kundalini Yoga Meditations, Yanta (geometric shapes) Meditations fall under this category. In additions meditations on the image of God, visualizing places of power or peace, etc, belong in this category as well.
- Mindfulness Meditation: This is a wonderful meditation technique and one that can be practiced throughout the day. Mindfulness meditation means to have moment to moment flowing awareness of your physical, emotional and mental activities. In other words, to be aware of what is transpiring in the here and now. This is ultimately the goal of all meditation — to awaken you to the present. Others definitions of this meditation are J. Krishnamurti’s Chioceless Awareness, Osho’s Double Pointed Awareness, Gurdjieff’s Self-Remembrance and S. N. Tavaria’s Awareness of the Divine Fragment.
The above category consists of many profound and powerful meditation techniques which are worth exploring and discovering. I hope you will find some that suit you, but if not, no worries, part 3 is coming up soon.