To quote the wonderful Dr Seuss and the title of the book… 'oh the places you will go!'
It's a great mantra for a meditation practice, it invites curiosity, a sense of adventure, freedom, choice!
I ran a lunchtime session recently for work colleagues to explore the different types of meditation practices available to us, we may not consciously consider the type of practice that will benefit us in the moment, or indeed the benefits of different types of practice – and this is okay! We may simply choose the one that we like most, or that calls to us in that moment. What happens in one type of practice will feel different to another, but all offer insight and wisdom and a chance to get to know ourselves a little better.
I thought I'd take a moment though to explain the types of meditation practices that are available to us, and the benefits and I've attached three recordings for you to practice with for yourself.
There are three types of meditation:
Loving kindness and compassion
Focussed attention (concentration) - is where we practice returning our attention over and over to one object – one example is where we focus on the breath or part of the body. When we concentrate in this way it can help to calm busy minds.
Open monitoring – or rather choiceless awareness is when we pay attention to what is most alive in our field of awareness, from one moment to the next. This practice can help us to start to understand the mind a little better and gives us a sense of more spacious awareness. Important if our gaze has narrowed and we want to wake up to the rest of the world around us.
Loving kindness cultivates warmth, kindness and compassion toward ourselves and others. This practice helps us to tolerate difficulty, provide a sense of well-being and bring compassion toward ourselves and others.
So today, and a longer meditation practice for you than usual, have a go at all three.
In-between each one, pause and reflect on the practice, what did you notice? How did your body feel? What is it like to extend and deepen your practice? Record anything you notice in your journal.
You can play around with the order but if you notice your mind has been racing today, perhaps start with the focussed attention practice – mindfulness of breath, then go onto open monitoring, and finish on loving kindness.
And to finish on Dr Seuss 'The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go' from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut