There are two major forms of meditation.
But you may be confused by the sheer number of meditation techniques to be found on the Internet today and what they really seek to achieve.
Firstly, it will be useful to put the whole field of meditation techniques into perspective.
The word meditation has two main uses in current English language. One is connected to the Bible and the other to ancient yoga.
Let us explore meditation in the Bible.
In the Bible (NIV), the words ‘meditate’ or ‘meditation’ are used 21 times. They appear predominantly in Psalm, but also in Joshua and Genesis.
Psalm 143:5 – “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
Joshua 1:8 -“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Genesis 24:63 – “He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.”
In the Bible, the word meditation is mostly used in the sense of utilizing the mind to ponder deeply and thoughtfully upon God’s message or creation.
Now let’s explore meditation in yoga texts.
In the yoga texts, the word meditation has a similar meaning. You are taught to ponder deeply using your mind upon spiritual texts and objects.
But the yoga literature also recommends another form of meditation.
Deeper yoga meditation involves ignoring the mind’s chattering.
This requires releasing or ignoring the mind and settling beneath it to find one’s true self.
This method of meditation requires much more practice. If it is truly mastered it can lead to incredible knowledge. More on this later.
There are now hundreds of scientific studies of meditation.
Scientific studies of both meditative techniques show that both forms of meditation – those that utilize the mind and those that don’t – elicit feelings of peace and tranquility.
To summarize, most meditation techniques are methods of distraction which reduce stress and enable inner peace.
In other words, a person attains peace by distracting the mind from a negative focus and pushing it towards a positive focus.
In the case of the deeper form of meditation, a person attains peace by releasing or distracting the mind from both positive AND negative focuses and settling in the self.
Meditation nurtures freedom from highs and lows.
This deeper meditative practice frees you the highs and lows of success and failure, and other ‘dualities’ or opposites.
You remain a calm observer of yourself and events at all times.
Both types of event are viewed by the yogi as equal. The yogi, in effect, rises above both.
Indeed, the yogi rises above all dualities: success and failure, honor and insult, love and hatred, mine and yours, me and you, life and death.
She reaches equanimity in all things.
This does not mean that the practitioner becomes an emotionless stone.
The person continues to love her family and all the world. But she does this from a much higher spiritual perspective. It is not rooted in the physical body or ego but in the spiritual self. And her love is not local but universal. It is not temporary but eternal. It is not binding but unconditional.
Loving becomes unconditional.
These characteristics make the love of that person different to the biased and prejudiced love most people are familiar with.
Such sages are very rare. If they are to be found, they will usually be recluses or monks and nuns.
However, the global uptake of yoga and meditation has given rise to sages in the cities, among rich and poor, males and females, old and young, from all walks of life!
Try yoga and meditation. You will experience inner transformation and become an empowered sage of unconditional peace, happiness, and love.