Welcome to Meditation Q&A! From newbies to seasoned sitters, there’s always something to learn (or re-learn) from each other here.
Meditation Question of the Day: I’m confused by all the different styles of meditation – how do I know which is the best?
As if it isn’t difficult enough to find time to meditate and sit down for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, there’s walking meditation, silent meditation, mantra meditation, visualization, and more! Is one really better than the other?
Asking if one style of meditation is better than another is a bit like wondering if chunky peanut butter is better than smooth, or a latte better than a mochachino. We each have our own preference but neither is inherently better than the other. There is value in all reputable styles of meditation, so experiment and choose the style that feels best to you.
If you’ve got a dog in your life, our first recommendation is to try our own Mutt Meditation: Dog Walking Meditation – what’s amazing is you don’t need to find “extra” time in your life for meditation; it fits right into the time you’re already allotting for walking your dog! Plus, we can (almost) guarantee you’ll feel calmer and more grounded after listening.
Other popular styles of meditation to try are:
- Silent meditation, which can range from short 20-minute meditation sessions with discussion allowed afterwards, to absolute quiet for the duration of 10, 20, and 45-day retreats. With this type of mindfulness meditation, you learn to pay attention to whatever is spontaneously arising in each moment. Some schools of silent meditation are: Vipassana Meditation; Insight Meditation, and MBSR Meditation.
- Walking meditation, usually taught as one part of a meditation practice which can include sitting meditation as well.
- Mantra meditation: The word “mantra” is defined as “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation;” so “mantra meditation” uses the repetition of a mantra to bring oneself deeper into a meditative state.
- Visualization meditation, where you hold the a calming image in your mind while relaxing
Some people may have difficulty sitting with silence, while others have trouble sitting with sound. Learning which style you prefer is an important step for building a solid and successful practice for years to come.
In the end, it makes no difference whether you’re a smooth peanut butter meditator or a chunky peanut butter meditator. The textures may be different but the work is the same: today, tomorrow, and the next day, we meditate.