If you aren’t accustomed to looking within, the idea of sitting for even 5 minutes of meditation can be quite daunting. Who wants to acknowledge and process all the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings that one does such a good job at stuffing? The problem with this of course can be summed up by the following statement: that which we resist persists. True that.
In an attempt to make the practice and all its meditation benefits available to those identified with the “more resistant” crowd, Jonathan Kaplan pens this recent Psychology Today post on four different types of meditation practices. If you are a beginning meditator you are sure to find one that suites your tastes.
- Concentration-based meditation invites you to focus on a single word, phrase, image, or sound, and then asks you to repeat it mentally. Thus, you might think to yourself, “Relax, relax, relax, relax…” Some people use a mantra or prayer as a focus of concentration, too. This kind of meditation is also associated with Herbert Benson’s work made famous in the book, The Relaxation Response.
- Mindfulness meditation asks to to focus on some sensory aspect of your immediate experience. You might focus on your breathing or the sensations in your body, for example. You’re not introducing something new to your experience, but rather simply noticing the way it is.
- Visual imagery involves imaging a relaxing scene or experience. Typically, such meditations suggest a walk on the beach or through a peaceful forest.
- Insight meditation involves the purposeful consideration of a question or induction of a specific state of being, like compassion. Loving-kindness meditations and Zen koans (e.g., “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”) fall into this category.
Read more from Kaplan on meditation here.