Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Types of Meditation

Types of Meditation 

A basic mapping of reflective practices
Created by Tana Saler on April 12, 2020

“Meditation” is an umbrella term for a variety of practices, same as “art” and “sport”: it names a vast category without pointing at specific purposes and methods. Without the specific categories of meditation, there is a great deal of confusion among people who attempt to meditate, as well as those who teach meditation.

Teaching Meditation
What do you do?
Preaching: Telling people what to do without telling them how to do it. “You should meditate regularly!”
Educating: Informing people about methods, purpose, history, research etc “Studies that tested human brains have shown significant neural activity during and after meditation” 
Instructing: Giving clear and doable “How To” instructions for people to follow any given method. “With eyes either open or close, notice the temperature of your breath changing as it enters and leaves your nostrils”

Mindfulness Meditation vs Guided Imagery
What mental faculty is being employed?
Four of the mind’s faculties are: 
  • Remembering (thinking about the past)
  • Planning (thinking about the future)
  • Noting (observing through the senses what you see, hear, touch or feel, smell and taste)
  • Imagining (making up something that isn’t being noticed which only exists in the imagination)

Mindfulness Meditation
Guided Imagery (Visualization)
Purpose: Awareness; ultimate purpose: awareness of the deep nature of being and the real self (spiritual awakening)
Purpose: varied, including healing, personal improvement, creativity and vision
Mental faculty: Noting

Mental faculty: Imagining
(It is possible to integrate imagining with noting, for example, combining imagined mental images with awareness of present body-felt sensations)

Noting In: See, hear, touch what emerges in one’s own body - Body-centred

Example: Noting body warmth, heaviness, mental images, the sound of breath.

Noting Out: See, hear, touch what emerges in one’s surroundings - Environment-centred

Example: Noting the colours and shapes of flowers, the sound of birds singing, the texture of orange peel.

With body awareness: Imagine roots growing out of your toes into the ground (and feel the sensations forming around the toes)

Away from body-awereness: Imagine neighbours knocking at each other’s door with gift offerings and running small errands for each other
Noting Narrow: Concentration

Example: Gazing at a wall with polka dots, focus on one single dot and do your best to ignore all others. Or, focus on the tip of your nose. Or focus on one sound.

Noting Wide: Contemplation

Example: Gazing at a wall with polka dots, try to notice as many dots as possible, and leave no dot out of your awareness. Or, observe all the sights, sounds and feelings inside and outside your body.

Useful Visualizations: Have a noticeable positive effect in one’s well-being, performance, creativity and other improvements

Not Useful Visualizations: Have -at best - no noticeable improvement, and at worst create contraction and further suffering (example: imagining doom and gloom)
Noting sitting / lying down (Zen, Vipassana)

Noting moving (QiGong, Tai-chi, Feldenkrais)

Note: This is an introductory level mapping, and doesn’t bring complex elements such as meditative states of awakening (Gross, Subtle, Causal and Nondual) or stages of psychological development. 
Credit: My influencers Shinzen Young (the Noting in and Noting out) , Ken Wilber (the polka dots wall), Ken Cohen, Goenka

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