How To Meditate: An Introduction To Active & Passive Meditation
While there are many different forms of meditation there are only two different types - active and passive meditation. Understanding the differences is important when learning how to meditate.
Meditation provides a way of learning how to let go. As we sit, the self we’ve been trying to construct and make into a nice, neat package continues to unravel. – John Welwood
This type of meditation relates to our everyday life and everything we do in it such as walking, eating, running, working and relaxing. The aim of it is to be at a totally relaxed state while we go about our day to day living; it is not a type that is recommended for the beginner.
Why would you choose active when learning how to meditate? Simply put, active meditation can be very helpful in dealing with day to day stresses - at home, the office or school. Turning inward, or meditating, can give us the chance to:
- Take a break & "recharge" during a hectic day
- Experience a silent state of relaxed awareness. Not only does this state of awareness nourish us, it connects us with our true self
- Call forward those dormant qualities that lie within us
- Daily realize our full potential
The gift of learning how to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this lifetime. – Sogyal Rinpoche
This is the common form where the person will take time out from their daily routine to practice meditation; it involves the person being seated in one of the common postures and focus on one of the meditation techniques.
There are many different passive meditation techniques though all of them aim for the same target, to stop the mind from wandering and bring it to focus with the ultimate aim of achieving enlightenment. There are basically four steps to achieving this goal, these are:
- Introversion – this involves calming the mind and making it receptive to what’s inside your body.
- Introversion leads to letting all thoughts, feelings, worries and fears go free.
- Having let these thoughts go we can then focus on our sub conscious being and who we really are.
- Self realization- Having achieved this step we gain a realization of our self and the part we play in life, this then leads us to enlightenment. Enlightenment is hard to explain to someone who has never reached it, it is a feeling unlike any other, the body and mind is at total rest and peace, the body can feel heavy or extremely light almost as if it isn’t there, and the mind feels open and is crystal clear with no problems, fears or worries. People who have been meditating for years will strive to attain this goal with some achieving it easier than others, while some never achieving it at all.
There are many forms of meditation, with some being easier for the beginner than others; some forms should only be practiced after years of studying meditation.
Try this very simple form of meditation to give you a taster of what it’s all about:
- Sit in a straight backed chair with your thighs in a relaxed position, your back upright and your head in alignment with your spine.
- Begin taking breaths in through your nose and exhale through your mouth, concentrating on your breath, how it feels as it comes into your body and how it feels leaving your body.
- Allow all other thoughts, feelings and worries to evaporate while you concentrate on your breath, imagine it coursing throughout your body.
- You will find that after a few minutes your thoughts will start wandering back to problems or things you have to do in your daily life, when this starts happening just gently bring your concentration back to your breathing.
- If you practice this for 10 minutes each day you will gradually realize that you can let thoughts and feelings go easier and focus for longer and it will be easier to keep your thoughts on your breath.