In today’s fast-paced society, we get deeply entangled in the trivialities of daily life and often forget to notice the negative patterns that we form in order to deal with the ever-increasing stress. As people start to look for natural ways to cope with this and to find the balance to lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives, meditation is becoming an increasingly popular wellness approach.
However, it’s not something new; meditation is an ancient spiritual practice that has been followed throughout centuries by different communities, traditions, and cultures around the world. As a result, there are so many different forms and approaches to it. In modern times, meditation is bridging the gap between science and spirituality as scientific studies are beginning to reveal its many benefits for the mind and body.
So what exactly is meditation?
Meditation is a powerful practice involving focused concentration by connecting with one’s inner self to experience the peace and clarity that exists within us, amidst the chaos of life.
In simple terms, meditation is truly about the art of being, of feeling, and of experiencing. This can be quite conflicting for many of us who have been conditioned to always focus on the doing, the achieving, and the acquiring of goals throughout life, which is precisely quite the opposite of what meditating really is. That being said, studies have shown that this practice can actually contribute to our success by helping us take a step back to reconnect with who we really are, what we want, and what truly makes us happy.
For those looking to begin their meditation practice, it can often be quite overwhelming and intimidating to choose from the very many different styles, approaches, and traditions. So how do we know where to start and what works best? First let’s begin by understanding the different approaches and most popular types of meditation.
Sound, Vibrations, and Mantras
These meditations involve continuous repetition and chanting of high-energy sounds, vibrations, and mantras, which increase our energy vibration, bring us into a space of peace and tranquility, and awaken the wisdom and compassion within us.
These meditations involve establishing a deeper spiritual connection with what we may call the universe, the divine, or the higher self in order to increase our faith by moving beyond our mental control and into a space of trust, faith, and intuition.
Visualization and Guided Meditations
These meditations take you through a beautiful healing journey by guiding your mind and body into a state of deep relaxation through visualization. In this tranquil state, positive reinforcement within the subconscious mind will accelerate the powerful manifestation process of our thoughts into creating an empowering reality.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Meditations
This involves focused attention and awareness on the present moment by observing your natural breath and thought patterns until you are able to move beyond the mind into a place of stillness and silence.
These meditations involve incorporating an activity, such as walking, or a hobby, such as painting or dancing, through focused concentration where we move into a space of total oneness with our activity and away from the world of multitasking in order to channel our creativity, intuition, and stillness.
I’ve often heard friends discuss an amazing meditation approach they experienced and, when I tried it, I didn’t find it all that powerful for me. The opposite is also true. It is difficult to suggest at first hand which form of meditation works best for each individual. Since we are all wired so differently, what resonates with you may not resonate with someone else.
The form of meditation best suited to you can depend on the following things.
The timing of experiences in your life, when you are suddenly left searching for answers to questions you previously never asked, can lead you to stumble upon a meditation that fulfills the need of the hour for peace, clarity, and stillness. I’ve witnessed people who are going through a challenge in life suddenly finding solace after visiting a meditation guru who teaches them about a practice that provides them with what they needed at that time.
Right Brain vs. Left Brain
Some of us are more controlled by our thoughts, whereas others are more led by their emotions. Working as a holistic facilitator, I’ve often found that those who are more left-brained appreciate the more scientific and logical approaches to meditation, such as the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction techniques. On the other hand, creative, heart-ruled people might find more in-depth experiences in the more spiritual forms of meditation.
Those coming from a culture rooted deeply in ancient practices from childhood will gravitate towards a certain type of meditation that aligns with their religion, culture, or beliefs.
The best way to find the one that is right for you is to try out all the different forms of meditation to see what works best in that specific moment. You could also choose to integrate them all into your own spiritual practice.
Soniyaa Kiran Punjabi is the Founder of Illuminations, the UAE’s first and largest holistic healing, personal growth, and mental wellbeing center.
Illuminations Well-Being Center offers a variety of group healing and meditation classes, as well as private meditation coaching, for both beginners and advanced meditators. For more information, call (+971) 4 4487 043 or visit illuminations.ae.