Meditation, mindfulness, no mind, ZaZen, Vipassana, OM mantra meditation, Transcendental Meditation TM, Yoga meditation, Taoist meditation, Qigong, Christian prayer, and Guided meditations; these are some of the many meditative practices available on the planet. Meditation has been going on since time immemorial, I would posit; and reflective contemplation is a valuable human pursuit. Meditation has been associated with religions and mystical practices; but God is no prerequisite for the meditative state. When the mind is missing, or unfocused on the endless merry-go-round of our thoughts, the breath remains amid the depths of nothingness and the oceans of being.
Some people meditate to achieve a spiritual state, others meditate for better health, and there are countless other reasons to meditate. In certain meditative practices, like in yoga, there are movements involved called asanas or postures. In almost all meditations the breathing is highlighted; as an anchor I would suggest. In some meditations sitting still is best practice and with the body still consciousness seeks to go beyond the preoccupations of the senses. Visualisations are an integral part of certain meditations and the inner vision there is king. Silence is most common in the majority of meditative practices; but certainly not in all of them. Chanting a mantra like OM is emblematic to a body of Indian Hindu traditions.
Find Your Own Meditation
A master once said to me that you must find your own true meditation, the meditative practice best suited to you. Everything can become a meditation; it is a matter of consciousness. In Zen archery the act of aiming a bow and arrow is a meditative practice. For some, the modern pastime called golf can be a similarly target based meditative process. The importance of the breath is accentuated in both these movement based activities. In trance dance meditation, it is the endless repetition of dance movements over hours and, sometimes, days. This originated in the ritual dances of indigenous peoples during times of sacred celebration. American Indians would endure prolonged exposure to heat and smoke in their sweat lodges in search of trance induced visions.
Meditative Practices Are Best Done Regularly
Some people, call their work their meditation; in that they surrender, so totally, to the tasks that they become one with the activity. The watcher, or witness state, is all that is left, undisturbed by errant thoughts. Cooking can be a meditation, as you chop and stir in a flow of undivided presence. Making love as a tantric meditation can be best described as an exquisite practice involving the breath and rising energies. Meditation is ritual practice, of all persuasions; and whether you follow the forms inherent within established traditions, or make up your own, it rarely matters. Make your meditation today and make it again tomorrow, or, even, twice a day; just make sure it happens regularly.