Meditation techniques have become quite popular in the last few decades. In fact, there are so many techniques that it could be mind boggling to someone who is thinking of starting meditation. The gazillion articles on the internet can cause confusion about which meditation technique to learn, because every meditation technique has its purpose and benefits. Added to this complexity is the fact that meditation requires one to be able to sit still with closed eyes for periods of time. The mind has its way of creating havoc in the early stages of meditation by darting in different directions all at once. To an unassuming beginner, experiencing one’s mind with its myriad thoughts can be overwhelming.
For those that want to start meditation – but don’t yet have the ability to sit still – contemplative meditation may be an attractive option. Contemplation is the practice of simply holding something like a thought in mind and maintaining awareness of that thought for as long as possible. The main benefit of contemplation is that one can practice it anytime, anywhere, and carry on with their activity without interruption. One can be successful at contemplative meditation if one has developed the ability to concentrate on a single thought or object or whatever one wishes to contemplate on.
There are 4 types of contemplative meditation techniques, described briefly below :
1) Contemplating on a spiritual text:. This is an easy technique for beginners. Pick a quote or a paragraph that resonates within you from the spiritual text on your choice. Once you are ready, take a few deep breaths to relax the mind and contemplate on what you just read. If needed, you may read it again and sit in contemplation of what you just read. Be with it and allow the various truths or realizations to reveal themselves of their own accord.
2) Contemplating on the divine: The goal of all spiritual practice is to seek oneness with the divine energy within us. Hence spiritual practices encourage practitioner to connect with a deity of their choice, a deity that has higher qualities, so that practitioner may raise themselves to higher level of consciousness by connecting to that deity. Doing contemplation-meditation by bringing the deity into the mind brings joy and fulfillment and can be a very rewarding experience.
3) Contemplating on an object: This technique can used to build focus and concentration by contemplating on any physical object like a tree, the sky, the ocean, or any object of your choice. Whichever object you pick, contemplate on it a 100% without judgment or thinking about it in one way or another.
4) Contemplating on the breath: The technique focuses on the breath in 4 stages. In the first stage we focus on the breath which creates a sense of joy within, Then the point of focus become joy itself which is the second stage. In the third stage we observe how the mind moves toward pleasant thoughts and feeling away from the negative ones. In the fourth stage the focus is on all feelings and thoughts, This technique shows how the breath is directly connected to the type of thoughts that we have by observing how the breath changes based on the type of thoughts. This is a relatively simply technique, but quite powerful.
Whichever type of technique of contemplative meditation we pick, the practice is the same. We bring the object to mind and focus on it fully, at a 100%. These practices help strengthen one’s focus, concentration and spiritual practice and eventually gets the practitioner ready for deeper states of meditation.
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