There are many different ways to meditate. Most people only hear about emptiness contemplation where you focus on your breath and try to empty your thoughts. For those individuals predisposed to this technique, this can be a very powerful method. For some people though, stillness contemplation is virtually impossible. The good news is that there are many other methods of meditation. Ultimately all methods achieve the same goal of bringing one's consciousness to merge with the divine.
in this arena, one size does not fit all. Some methods are better for some than others. On this page, we will try to help you find the meditation method that works best for you.
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Here are some different styles of meditation:
This method requires that the individual empty their minds of all thoughts and meditate on emptiness. In my experience, stillness meditation is not the best method for everyone. It certainly wasn't for me. When I mention the word "meditate" some of my students will complain that they cannot empty their mind because their brain races too much. They immediately assume that I am directing to meditate on stillness. The generalization of having to empty one's mind has discouraged many people who would otherwise greatly benefit from a more active meditative approach that uses the mind rather than to "turn it off."
In my experience, the generalized version of emptying the mind can also foster emotional denial. In some cases, people who wish to escape or avoid unpleasant feelings or memories may be attracted to the idea that someone can simply employ an emptiness technique to switch off uncomfortable feelings. This of course, only makes the problem worse as, over time, these emotions either come furiously back into consciousness or worse yet, they become buried in the subconscious mind where they come out in all kinds of destructive passive-aggressive ways.
For those that suffer from "monkey mind," stillness seems to be an impossibility. In these cases, the best thing to do is choose an active form of meditation that uses the activity of the monkey mind to achieve the result of stillness. In these cases, after some practice, the result of emptiness is achieved through action of the mind rather than trying to turn it off.
In my experience, the state of stillness is the RESULT of meditation, not the pre-requisite.
Visualization is a powerful technique that is used frequently in all forms of esoteric spiritual practices especially in practices of internal alchemy. Visualization often requires a person to meditate on visualizing movement of energy or on the form of a deity. This is a method whereby the individual uses the power of the mind to "load" the subconscious which will attract the object of the visualization to the individual.
To meditate with Breath is the key to mastering the mind. For those who have difficulty with monkey mind, breath is the most effective metod of active meditation for at least two reasons: 1) different breath ratios result in different states of mind and emotion. 2) oxygenating the blood and brain has a natural calming effect. My suggestion to anyone who is new to meditation is that they try a form of breath work. It is a foolproof and effective method. You can try two different methods "shamanic breathing."
To meditate through movement with exercises like Yoga, Tai Chi and internal martial arts are extremely effective. These exercises also employ visualization, concentration and breathing. By opening energy channels and increasing blood flow, natural states of relaxation and feelings of well-being are achieved not to mention increased health and fitness.
Mantra meditation is the most powerful tool for stimulating Life Force Energy and Kundalini. It is also an extremely effective tool for restructuring the subconscious mind to eliminate self-sabotaging blocks. By restructuring the subconscious, the individual is more able to focus the subconscious mind for magickal work.
Yantras are geometric designs that are used in conjunction with mantra and deity worship. The theory is that when one meditates on a particular geometric designs etched into a piece of metal such as copper, gold or silver will trap the sonic vibrations of a mantra and project them into physical space. When the meditator has spent the required amount of time using the yantra, it is believed that the deity is manifested and will carry out the requests of the individual.
Deity meditation usually requires a combination of visualization, mantra and yantra methods. This form of contemplation can be very complicated. It is actually a form of magick that programs the subconscious mind to tap into the Energetic aspects in the Universe that are encapsulated into the thought form of a deity. With this kind of meditation, the individual can either seek to summon the deity (evocation) or seek to become the deity (invocation.)
This type is actually a form of hypnosis and in my opinion is the least powerful. The process involves having someone verbally guide the individual to imagine a complex scenario or journey. This method is attractive to many because it requires very little effort. But, as I said, this is better defined, in my opinion, as hypnosis. There is a difference between arbitrary, intellectualized fantasy and visualization. A true visualization technique will result in alchemical changes in the mind and body, whereas arbitrary fantasy will at best entertain and at worst trap the individual in their intellect. I recommend only using guided meditations for recreation or for those who only wish a very superficial experience.
This style consists of focusing attention on specific chakras through visualization, breath and mantra. On the chakra page we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of working directly with chakras through concentration. For more info click HERE
This style focuses attention on one of the three Life Force Energy reservoirs (Navel/Heart/3rd Eye) with the intent of storing Qi energy for health, physical power or internal alchemy.
Below is a free meditation that employs stillness, visualization, breath, mudra, mantra and deity aspects. This exercise can be practiced for any length of time; anywhere from 1 minute to 1 hour or more. Unlike some other powerful energy practices, this one cannot be overdone and is safe for everyone. If done correctly you will instantly feel the results.
In the FREE Magick apprenticeship section, you can learn many of the meditation techniques listed on this page.