Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Flavours of Meditation

When people first try meditation, they are often astounded by the level of noise and frenetic activity going on in their mind. Buddhist refer to this as ‘monkey mind’ ..  the constant chatter and rapid fire talking that is our mind stream, a mix of disconnected thoughts, images, fantasies, ideas, concepts and emotions that can all well up in the quiet vacuum of meditation.  

A little like going to the movies .. we take our seat, relax our body .. and the mind rolls into a constant supply of wonderfully entertaining thoughts and memories to distract us.  

An Anchor

In meditation, to assist us in slowing down and finding that quieter place within, we give our mind something to do .. an anchor.  By placing our full attention, indeed our fascination and enthusiasm, onto our meditation anchor .. we give our monkey mind something ‘to do’ or hold onto.

When discussing meditation techniques, I often use the analogy of the glider seeking the freedom of flight.  Initially the glider is attached by a rope to the lead plane, and the glider pilot follows the tug as he is pulled up to the release height.  When the glider is comfortable and in tune his surroundings, he releases the rope. 

A meditation technique is like that guide plane, leading us to the point of stillness where we can then release the rope  (anchor).  And then we simply hold a gentle, restful attention.  If we become distracted or wander off with a story or a thought .. we simply return our attention to our anchor again, and again, and again.

Many Flavours of Meditation

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of meditation techniques available, from all cultures and countries across the world.  A little like approaching a luscious smorgasbord, we are presented with a range of meditation ‘flavour’s’ .. ancient,  contemporary, Eastern, Western, concentration, insight, seated or moving.  

Some of the more familiar meditation flavours include (we shall review each of these over coming weeks):

* Counting, feeling or following the breath (Zen, Mindfulness, Vipassana)
* Repeating a word or phrase silently or out loud (Mantra, TM, Chanting, Kirtan)
* Gazing at a candle or mandala (Yoga, Buddhist)
* Energy center awareness (Chakra)
* Compassion (Buddhist, Metta, Loving Kindness)
* Movement meditation (Qi Gong, Walking, Tai Chi)

Given we are all unique in how we learn, not to mention our goals and lifestyles, the aim is to find the meditation technique that resonates best for you .. and then to do it!

What meditation 'flavour' have you had experience with?

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