Different types of meditation:
Meditation is diverse, and there are so many types of meditation in the world that some of them have not yet been classified for the reason that some religious and spiritual schools have developed their own techniques and techniques for performing meditation that are available only to adepts of these schools and teachings. This closed knowledge is esoteric. We will talk about those types of meditation that are widely known and have earned a reputation for being beneficial practices, both from the point of view of physical, mental and spiritual development.
Types of meditation for beginners:
There are many types of meditation for beginners such as
Trataka -meditation-contemplation of the flame of a candle,
metta meditation, or loving-kindness meditation,
meditation on an object,
meditation on the Ideal, deity,
There are no other types of meditation. It would seem that meditation for a person of a Western mindset is associated with such names as Zen meditation or nada yoga, but by no means with the Jesus Prayer or whirling dervishes. And yet, Christian teachings, like Islam, have their own traditions that are directly related to the meditation process, although officially few people call the continuous recitation of prayers meditation.
The difference between meditations for beginners and those in advanced practitioners is the degree of immersion in meditation, the depth of awareness and the duration of stay in this state. Another telling example of how meditation for beginners differs from meditation practiced by experienced people is the ease and speed with which experienced practitioners immerse themselves in meditation. Sometimes it is enough just to tune in, take a couple of inhalations and exhalations, and the person's mind is already working at other frequencies. It is known that in the process of meditation the wave activity of the brain changes. The oscillation frequency inherent in human activity in a state of full wakefulness is replaced by tranquility, beta rhythms go into alpha, and they, in turn, slow down even more and become theta rhythms. It is not at all necessary to completely immerse yourself in the theta state, it will be enough to achieve alpha rhythms with some interspersed with theta waves. At this level of brain activity, meditation is most fruitful and its healing effect manifests itself best.
Types of meditation in Buddhism:
Meditation is primarily a means for transforming the mind, way of thinking and the whole psyche of a person. Unsurprisingly, Buddhism emphasizes the practice of meditation. Although it is believed that Buddha Shakyamuni laid the foundation for this tradition, but if we look even deeper in the direction from which Buddhism itself originates, then we will understand that meditation and meditation techniques are the legacy of the Vedas, it was on them that the great founder of yoga relied Patanjali, creating his own system of the eightfold path, or the so-called ashtanga yoga.
People often understand yoga as practicing asanas, physical exercises, the purpose of which is to develop a person harmoniously in several directions at once, and although the physical aspect in the practice of asanas comes first, nevertheless the psychological and spiritual components play a big role. If you ignore them and pay attention only to the physiological direction, then the effect of performing asanas, of course, will be, but about the same as if you were doing gymnastics or stretching, while yoga is primarily a spiritual practice, where psycho- physical exercise plays a supportive role and prepares the student for the transition to higher-level practices such as pranayama, pratyahara, dharana and meditation.
What types of meditation are Shamatha and Vipashyana :
It is worth noting that when we talk about meditation, it is not entirely correct to consider it as an independent step or discipline. The steps of yoga are organically interconnected, so even if at the initial stages of practice it seems to you that you have not yet approached meditation or dharana (the art of concentration ), in fact, performing even the simplest asanas, you already get the first meditation experience. How does this happen? When you build up an asana, which is given great attention in Iyengar yoga, you are already, even without realizing it, begin to take the first steps in the practice of meditation.
Meditation begins with concentration. The development of the ability to concentrate on one thing - an image or an object - is the first stage of the meditation process, which is called dharana, or shamatha. These names are interchangeable and are used to mean the same. To be more precise, let's pay attention to the term "shamatha", because in Buddhism, shamatha, in fact, is not something isolated. This is a process that certainly precedes the practice of meditation and flows smoothly into it. There are even definitions where the meditation process is divided into 2 stages - shamatha and vipassana (vipashyana).
Shamatha - prepares you for meditation by developing the ability to concentrate on anything, from your own breath to the images that appear in your imagination. Again, note that here meditation does not stand alone, it is associated with pranayama (the art of breathing control), and pranayama itself is practiced already in the first stages during the performance of asanas, because breathing is one of the key factors affecting the correctness and effectiveness. asana performances.
Let's return to shamatha, in order to then smoothly move on to the description of one of the classic versions of Buddhist meditation - vipassana . Shamatha, or, according to the classification of Ashtanga Yoga, Dharana, is a preparatory stage before immersion in what is called real complete meditation. When a person is focused on something, his thoughts are occupied only by this object or idea, thus the rest of the flow of thoughts is cut off and the energy is directed in one direction, which is very important, since it allows the practitioner to maintain inner strength, and this largely explains that refreshing and a revitalizing effect noted by many people who practice meditation on a daily basis.
At the first stage, if you are not used to concentrating, you may encounter some difficulties associated with the fact that it will be difficult for you to focus your attention, and in this case it is difficult to talk about the ease and recovery of strength that occur during meditation, but it happens. until you learn to hold the image in memory and not deviate mentally from it. When this stage is passed, then a rather prolonged concentration of attention on an object or idea will be easy for you.
Nevertheless, at the very initial stage of meditation, a person has not yet completely merged with the object of his meditation, which means that this is not one hundred percent meditation. Only at the moment of deep meditation, the observer and the observed become one, there remains what is called pure awareness, when the ego is dissolved and consciousness is aware of itself. In the future, even this process will be transformed, and nothing will remain, complete liberation will occur - moksha, but for now we continue to talk about meditation and its second part - vipashyana.
Vipashyana, or Vipassana - is the second part of Buddhist meditation, following shamatha. The mind is prepared, it knows how to concentrate, now it is able to focus on the process of breathing - inhaling and exhaling. At first, you can simply observe the breathing, and a little later, connect the principles of pranayama here, that is, start practicing breathing control, which will allow you to maintain concentration of attention and at the same time learn to become aware of yourself as a spiritual entity.
During vipassana, you can concentrate on something else, but, as practice shows, focusing on the breath allows you to quickly move to the stage when thoughts stop and the process of pure meditation begins.
Difference between ordinary meditations and Buddhist ones:
The main difference between meditation in Buddhism and other types of meditation is that in Buddhism, meditation is an integral part of the very philosophical and spiritual teachings. Its purpose is not purely aimed at restoring physical strength or overcoming and eliminating mental and mental blocks, as it happens in other types of meditation, especially in the well-known directed meditation.
The practice of meditation often acts as a tool for improving the psycho-physical state of a person, but in this case it acquires value as a therapeutic tool. In Buddhism, the instrumental factor of meditation does not disappear anywhere, but such an aspect as the intrinsic value of the meditation process comes to the fore. The positive effect the practice of meditation can have on a person's health, his psychological state, and contribute to spiritual growth is a natural result of regular practice, which is given an important place in Buddhism.
Meditation is not just a mental exercise, as it is sometimes thought, but a way of life, when a person realizes that there is not only external reality in its physical expression, but also reality invisible to the eye, the vibrations of which are at a higher level. In order to feel and approach them, meditation is needed. It is like a portal to other worlds. At the same time, these worlds are as real as the one where we live.
The main thing is to maintain a balance between being in both worlds and remember that our main mission is connected with earthly incarnation, therefore, the knowledge and experience gained through meditation must be used in the physical world, and then we will see real results and positive impact of meditation. practice on our life and on the social environment in which we find ourselves.