Summon your inner yogi.
Well known for both its mental health and stress-reducing benefits, meditation can still be somewhat of a mystery. But a recent article has shed some light on some of the most common misconceptions around the ancient practice.
How many different types of meditation are there?
While some meditations would simply have you sitting quietly, others (such as Tai Chi) involve movement. That’s the type you’ll likely see in the local park with slow, flowing moves that look like martial arts, but in slo-mo.
Others are more mind-based, involving mantras or visualisations or reflect on the transience of being. Heavy, man. There’s also the current buzzword in meditation, mindfulness, and that involves paying attention to the here and now no matter where you are or what task you are experiencing.
It’s all about stillness
There can actually be varying intentions behind meditation, from practicing stillness of the mind (non-reactive attention) to building certain qualities within yourself such as compassion and forgiveness.
Deconstructive meditation develops insight into the mind itself. Meditation can also involve moving through these different stages, including finding clarity around the motivations and intentions for the practice.
Empty the mind
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not all about emptying the mind altogether. The ability to observe thoughts, emotions and sensations without reaction develops compassion. Even advanced meditations in limited thinking retain a degree of alertness awareness.
Sadly, you won’t be Zen from day one. Starting to become aware of unhealthy mental habits can be a challenge and possibly even result in negative feelings, so make sure you’re practicing with a qualified teacher who can help.
We already know it all
We do already know a lot about the benefits of meditation through past research. Some benefits such as stress reduction and combating the negative effects of aging are still being studied, although it’s hard to measure a short course or retreat against a lifetime of benefit. It’s also hard to measure one type of meditation over another which may have different outcome goals!
It’s just a health benefit
Research tends to focus on health benefits, but in doing so can ignore the traditional aim of exploring meaning and purpose in life. In the rush to turn meditation and mindfulness into a popular commodity, it runs the risk of turning into a fad.
Article by: Katrina Eastway