Primarily there are two types of meditation:
One is called concentrative meditation, also referred to as fixed attentiveness, and the other one is called contemplative meditation, also known as analytical investigation.
A good meditator is skilled at both types of meditation. It is the meditator’s ability of staying on one thought for as long as he wants that determines the quality of his meditation. An important point to remember is that meditation is a skill, it is an art. It can be learned by the determined and mastered by the persistent.
There is only one way to learn this skill, that is: practice, careful practice at that. And, there is only one way to master this art, that is: intense practice, persistent intense practice at that. Guided practice increases your chances of success multifold provided such guidance comes from a practical source, from an experienced teacher and not just a preacher, from an expert doer and not a smooth talker.
If your guide cannot sit with perfect stillness, he may offer you a wealth of bookish knowledge but will remain incapable of guiding you from a practical standpoint, much less impart any wisdom on the subtleties of meditation.
In this post, I am going to briefly explain the difference between the two types of meditation:
Types of Meditation
1. Concentrative Meditation
In this type of meditation, the meditator stills his thoughts and settles his mind on an object of concentration. Refer to the previous posts for exercises on concentration. If you want to read in detail about the practice of concentrative meditation, you can go here.
This method is specifically designed to help the practitioner achieve stillness of the body and mind. Until you are able to achieve perfect stillness, you will not be able to lose body-consciousness, that is, you will continue to have a distracting awareness of your body during your sessions of meditation.
And until such time that you are able to completely rise above your body, you are not going to experience any cosmic oneness.
Until you are able to achieve perfect stillness, all your experiences are mere intellectual fabrication. They have no intrinsic value and remain mostly meaningless. Such experiences are not replicable. They do not purify, cleanse, guide, or strengthen you.
This is the harsh truth. An intense practice of concentration stills the ten vital energies in your body helping you gain complete control of sitting still like a rock with ease.
Concentrative meditation is the first step. If you are unable to concentrate on the desired object for as long as you want, you are not ready for any contemplation or analytical investigation. Predominantly because the mind is still restless.
A restless mind is incapable of carrying out penetrating analysis with discerning wisdom. Once you master concentration, supranormal awareness and super-consciousness emerge naturally. My goal is to share with you the methods, obstacles, ways to clear them, deviations, aberrations, and various stages of this practice.
If you are truly serious about becoming a great meditator, I strongly recommend that you reread all posts under Mental Transformation so far. Do not rush; take your time.
This is the foundation. Even if you are sure that you have the message figured out, read them still. Once done, read the ones on concentration one more time. Unless you grasp the importance of those practices, you will find it hard to champion any of the different types of meditation, specifically concentrative meditation.
2. Contemplative Meditation
After you have attained ease of the body and the ability to settle your mind, anytime at will, anytime at your discretion, for however long you want, you are ready for contemplative meditation.
How do different types of meditation practices affect your brain?
When practicing meditation, you will automatically gain remarkable insight into the true nature of things, the realities of different planes of existence, and into many things beyond words. Super knowledge will sprout. There is a term used in meditation texts called acala vipashayana, insight devoid of mental activity.
Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary defines vipashaya as unfettering, or without a trace. And that is the key: when no trace of the conditioned mind is left, when you gain insight rising above your intellect, above all calculations, above logic, that is transcendental knowledge, true insight. It has come from within. It is not the product of some conditioning, agitation, or deliberation. This is the output of contemplative meditation. That’s just one of the different types of meditation. Let me tell you this is an advanced practice. I will shed some light on it in due course.
Over the years, meditation has become very popular worldwide. It would not be wrong to say that most of us try or have already tried meditation to just stay on trend. That, of course, is of no use. The idea of meditating should not be like some latest fashion trend, which you try, then as it gets old, is sidetracked by you.
Meditation is a lifetime commitment. It should come from your heart and soul. There should be an everlasting desire from you to truly know who you are if you want to meditate. Meditation for beginners can be like some thrilling individualistic journey. The more consistent and committed you will be in your practice, the more profound the outcome.
As a beginner on this path, it’s quite natural to be confused about how to meditate, the different types of mediation, various ways to meditate, and more. But, as a beginner, it is crucial to know about the two most important types of meditation practices – concentrative and contemplative. And then, slowly make your way to other details. Moreover, it’s not about what kind of meditation you are doing, the best type of meditation for you will be what suits you. Yes! It’s about the practitioner, not the practice!
Art of Meditation
Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)
Here are some frequently asked questions to enlighten you even more about different types of meditation practices, their benefits, and much more.
As a beginner, how do I meditate? How will meditation benefit my body?
Many ask this question when they start to seek the path of self-realization or spirituality. What is meditation? What are the different ways to meditate? and so on – all these questions come to your mind.
Well, meditation is not just the art of controlling your mind in the moment, but about maintaining it for a prolonged time frame too. That’s why it is called Dhyana.
Meditation for beginners is like the first step towards seeking that concentration and then, later on, going into the mode of maintaining that for a longer period of time. There’s a big misconception about meditation that it calms your mind. Not exactly. To practice meditation effectively, the mind needs to be calm. For this, you first need to build your concentration.
As a beginner, it is not about how long you meditate for, but more about how effectively you can train your mind to be concentrated and focused on one thing. It can be just 5 minutes a day. Of course, there are different types of meditation. But, each of them needs you to be determined and persistent.
Start meditating once or twice a day for just for 5 mins. Before being able to meditate effectively, you need to commit to the practice, daily. It should come from your heart and soul – that burning desire to get closer to your true and natural self.
Meditation in time helps you remain calm not just while doing the practice but in every aspect of your life. In fact, when you are agitated or irritated, you will eventually feel a deep sense of calm within yourself because of daily meditation.
If you are new to meditation and want to comprehend how to take your first step in this direction more fruitfully, visit here!
Also, here are some amazing meditation quotes for you to be inspired!
What are the best meditation techniques? Do all types of meditation have the same effect?
Primarily, there are two main types of meditation – Concentrative meditation, also known as fixed attentiveness, and contemplative meditation, analytical investigation. A skilled meditator must be practiced in both types of meditation.
Here is some more insight into different types of meditation practices:
Different kinds of meditation practices produce different effects, according to studies. It depends on how intense, deep, and consistent your meditation practice is. Different types of meditation affect different parts of the brain, resulting in different benefits. Here’s more about the effects of meditation.
Well, in the large scheme of things, it all boils down to how effectively and properly you are following your meditation regime. That’s all that matters.
What is 'Mindfulness Meditation' and its goal?
As we know, there are different types of meditation, Mindfulness Meditation being one of them. Mindfulness is a sort of meditation in which you concentrate on being acutely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in that very moment, without judgment or interpretation, just with sheer awareness. It is like a kind of training that teaches you to quieten your mind and body while slowing down racing intrusive thoughts and letting go of negativity.
There are different techniques used in Mindfulness Meditation, but in general, it mainly entails deep breathing and body & mind awareness.
Breathing is a crucial part of Mindfulness Meditation. Studies have shown how deep breathing helps with good sleep and in lowering anxiety, depression, and various other mental health challenges.
There are many different benefits of and changes that come about with meditation. Here’s an amazing guide on the effects of meditation.
What's the best way to meditate at home and become stress-free?
Meditation has become immensely popular in today’s day and age. People from different parts of the world are meditating today to reap the exceptional advantages of it. As mentioned above, whether you are at home or anywhere else in the world, you need that burning desire inside you plus consistency to make meditation an effective part of your life. It does not matter much what type of meditation practice you are doing, it’s more about passion and commitment. Of course, after the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of people have reduced their social presence and are avoiding visiting gyms, yoga centers etc., to protect themselves from the spread of the virus. Workouts and meditation practices at home have become quite popular in present times, no doubt. Here are some steps that can be followed to aide your meditation practice at home:
- Decide upon a fixed time
- Find a quiet corner
- Consistency is key
- Start with the basics
- Try a meditation app like Black Lotus
There are many do’s and don’ts of meditation. Click here to understand them better.
What are the benefits of Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation is a meditation practice that involves mantra repetitions and some other yogic activities. It was developed by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from India’s ancient Vedic tradition. Back in the 1960s, he introduced this technique to the United States. While practicing transcendental meditation, you have to sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and silently repeat a mantra. A mantra is a word or a sound from the Vedic tradition recited to concentrate your thoughts. There are various health benefits one can achieve with the daily practice of transcendental meditation. Here are some of them:
- Better and more sound sleep.
- Reduced blood pressure.
- Improved memory and brain function.
- Reduced anxiety and stress.
- Better flow of good hormones.
Read these meditation quotes to feel inspired and reach your highest potential in any form of meditation.
How good is Mantra Meditation? Why?
Mantra Meditation is one of the most followed types of meditation practices. According to neuroscience, mantras have a profound effect on both the mind and the body. They are repeated sounds that have been proven by several neuroscientists to have an impact on various elements of our lives. Therefore, chanting mantras while in meditation is found to be very effective for concentration and focus. Here’s a complete in-depth delve into the Ancient Science of Mantras and how it can uplift your entire spiritual being.
Also, the video mentioned below will walk you through the whole process of Mantra Meditation in depth and detail.
Watch it now!
Timeline of the video:
- 0:00 Start
- 1:58 Is it better to meditate for a short while in the beginning?
- 2:32 How is the Akshamala done?
- 3:24 How does practice help in one-pointed focus?
- 6:17 Why does renunciation come last in the four varnasharams?