This Byte has been authored by

Kate Zeis

Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash

Life can get crazy sometimes. Having a way to decompress and recenter helps.

Meditation is a common way to do this, but it can be overwhelming to get started!

There are so many different types and ways to do meditation. It can even seem like you need a class, lots of equipment, fancy skills, or a giant maze to meditate the right way.

Fortunately when you understand the basic types of meditation, it's a lot easier than it seems to get started.

Concentrative Meditation

Concentrative meditation simply means that you concentrate on something. It's also called focused attention meditation.

In concentrative meditation, you focus your mind on one thing. You can focus on a word or phrase, an object, a concept, or anything at all.

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  • Mantra meditation focuses on a word without paying attention to its meaning.

  • Affirmation meditation focuses on a word or phrase, paying close attention to its meaning.

  • Loving-kindness or compassion meditation focuses on others.

  • Activity meditation involves focusing on a physical task like walking, yoga, or tai chi.

Quiz

Which of these would NOT be an example of concentrative meditation?

Open Awareness Meditation

Open awareness meditation is the opposite of concentrative meditation. It is sometimes also called mindfulness meditation. In this meditation, you actively try not to focus on any specific thing.

Open awareness meditation is all about the present, or being in the moment. This kind of meditation can be very relaxing with practice, and can help you stay calm in stressful situations.

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  • Body scan meditation involves taking note of how each part of your body is feeling at the moment.

  • Noting meditation means being aware of thoughts or feelings that enter the mind, but not reacting to them.

  • Zazen meditation is sitting in the conventional meditative seated posture, and letting your mind empty.

Quiz

When would you most likely see the effects of open awareness meditation?

Transcendental Meditation

Transcendental meditation is similar to what you may picture when you hear the word meditation. A teacher guides it, and the goal is to go beyond thinking. This kind of meditation helps people relax and reduce stress. If you're looking for a system to follow or a community to join, this might be the right kind of meditation for you.

Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

Take Action

Now that you know a bit about the three main forms of meditation, try one for yourself! Pick one kind, and schedule 10 - 20 minutes this week to see if it's a fit for you.

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