What is meditation? Meaning & all types of meditation
What exactly is meditation? What do you do during meditation and how do you do it? In this article, find the meaning of meditation and an explanation of the types of meditation that exist.
The quick answer: to meditate means…
Meditation cannot actually be put into words , but if you want to make an attempt, you could arrive at the following meaning …
Meditation means that you become the spectator / witness of everything you experience, such as your thoughts, emotions or your breath. That peaceful, silent witness is who you really are.
You can’t talk about it. Every word does injustice to what meditation is.
You can describe it in different words. If you were to use other words to describe meditation, you could say “making contact” with your soul / intuition / heart ! That is just as important as making contact with your body and mind.
This was the meaning of meditation already, but in the following paragraphs you will find a clear explanation about the different types of meditation.
But meditation means training your thoughts, doesn’t it?
In the West we often do not dare to act ‘too spiritual’, so we somewhat erroneously define meditation as ‘training your thoughts’ or ‘checking how you are doing inside you’.
This explanation can also be correct, but the ‘spiritual aspect’ is actually part of it, where you attune yourself to your soul (the witness) and thus experience who you really are. One of the positive effects of this is that as that peaceful witness, you observe your thoughts, which calms your thoughts.
There are also many positive effects of meditation that we in the West label as ‘too spiritual’ or ‘cloudy’ and therefore hardly involve: feeling a sense of peace, unity, love and connection with everyone.
So… meditation is not necessarily a ‘spiritual’ thing?
Is meditation something ‘spiritual’? Yes and no. There are different types of meditation. The types of meditation where you look at your thoughts and emotions from a distance are not necessarily “spiritual” because you are mainly training your mind. An example of this is mindfulness meditation (aka ‘Vipassana’ in the Far East).
In addition, there are forms of meditation that are ‘spiritual’. These are, for example, the forms of meditation where you feel a sense of connection with everything else in the world. An example of this is transcendental meditation.
Note: the more ‘normal’ you are, the more spiritual you are. The more ‘spiritual’ you are, the more unspiritual you are.
Video: The meaning of meditation? Scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn’s explanation
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the director of numerous scientific studies on the effects of meditation. In the video below he explains what meditation means according to him.
Although he has made a “non-spiritual meditation curriculum” big in the West, namely the well-known mindfulness program, he also says that meditation is “feeling connection with all beings.” The spiritual aspect is therefore definitely part of it. His explanation is well worth it if you have a few minutes.
What types of meditation are there?
Meditation is a collective word for a number of different exercises for your mind and / or soul. The types of meditation can be found below:
1. Object-oriented, concentration meditation
Object-oriented, concentration meditation is the drawing of your attention to an object. That object can be anything, such as an image, your breath, a sound, an emotion or a feeling. Also Yoga is an example of this, because then your body “meditation-object ‘. Transcendental meditation also makes use of this.
2. Transcendental meditation
In transcendental meditation , your attention is focused on an object – such as a mantra (a phrase you say) – without using concentration, and after a while the mind turns inward. Once turned inward, you transcend all thought activities. At the same time, the body relaxes deeply. Here too you get a feeling of oneness / non-duality.
3. Object-free, non-dual meditation
Object-free, non-dual meditation goes as follows : the distinction between object (the perceived) and subject (the observer) lapses: everything merges into one. Here you do nothing with your attention. So you do not focus your attention on, for example, an object or feeling, but you simply do nothing with your attention. The attention relaxes and the meditative state arises by itself.
4. Vipassana meditation (the Eastern formal form of mindfulness)
Vipassana Meditation : This is equivalent to formal mindfulness , which is also referred to as elective awareness . You do not focus your attention on one point, but on all the changes that take place in your body and mind. This makes you aware of how changeable reality is. You become aware of all emerging thoughts and emotions and you let them go. You look at it from a distance.
5. Sitting meditation / (Za)zen meditation
In Zazen meditation you are without a goal in mind. You sit to sit. You have no intentions with it.
Contemplation is contemplating a religious text or pondering a deep question such as, “Who am I?” “Are my beliefs real?”
During prayer you make contact with the holy spirit (to communicate with God) and souls, such as angels , souls of religious figures and deceased loved ones. You can see this as a download from the universe or an upload to the universe. One of the ‘downloads’ you can ask for is your own success in your life mission. The universe is always organizing: it is always organizing for your success. Including the partners you meet and get.
Over and over and over and over, the universe is creating the perfect conditions for your success. And you cannot ask enough for more help.
8. Combinations of all the above meditation forms
Finally, you can combine elements of all the above types of meditation, for example by taking a walk in the woods or dancing .
The Scientifically Proven Benefits of Meditation
First of all, meditation is something beyond the measuring tools of science. However, it is not only anecdotal that much is said about all the benefits of meditation. A lot of benefits have also been scientifically proven. Click here to read 10 scientifically proven benefits of meditation, including source.
Yet the ‘non-scientific’ feelings that you get after meditation are very exciting. That is why you will also find the ‘non-scientifically proven benefits’ in that article with the benefits of meditation.
‘When I meditate, I don’t do anything – Why shouldn’t I do anything? Then I wouldn’t be productive! ‘
Some say, ‘Meditation may have all those benefits, but I’m basically doing nothing, so I’m not productive. But yes, I am so tired and want to rest but I feel like I have to do things and be productive. ‘ The answer to this is: if you want to do something, you shouldn’t do anything. Without ‘doing nothing’, no ‘doing something’ can exist.
Rest is extremely important. That makes you productive!
The joke is: meditation brings you nothing, and yet everything!
Watch the anecdotes below:
A disciple asked his Zen master, “What has meditation brought you?” ‘Nothing’
A Zen master asked his disciple, “Do you understand Zen?” ‘No.’ ‘Me neither.’
“I still don’t understand what you mean by space consciousness.” Eckhart Tolle: “Of course not!”
In summary: With meditation you catch a glimpse of ‘infinity’
By meditating you have glimpsed a reality that is out of this world. All of these benefits are normally obscured by the mind. How intensely will you experience these benefits? Can you say later: ‘I regained that zest for life through meditation, and I became aware of my body and that I felt that I am not that body, and that the greater whole of unity is really important.’
Finally: is it bad to be busy with ‘spirituality’?
You can decide that for yourself. Maybe it is sometimes difficult to have access to spirituality because it is ‘disapproved’ by many people because of the abuses of saints or terrorism … I probably don’t need to explain that these things have nothing to do with spirituality, but everything with dogma and ego . have to do. It remains a pity, because in our nature we are spiritual people who are now undergoing an earthly experience. If we don’t have access to spirituality, we suffer.
Do you want to start meditating? Read this explanation with step-by-step plan for beginners and view these 20+ beautiful texts for meditation.