The Power of Introspective Practices
My own experience of meditation has taught me that there are a multitude of practices and disciplines to try in order to ascertain what works for each of us. There is no 'one' way.
So, for those of you who may be thinking about trying meditation, here is an easy way to remember the differences:
This is the act of silent enquiry, where the practitioner withdraws into silence and becomes an observer of what is taking place within the mind, not becoming attached to any ‘event’, thought or feeling, but acknowledging and then releasing it. There is natural learning that comes from this ‘observation’. One can also use still time to focus on a particular question or area of concern in order that it may be better understood.
Mindfulness is fully focusing one’s mind on whatever one is doing or experiencing. It is the practice and the art of being so present within the perimeter of the self that only the present moment matters. One is neither being consumed by the past nor distracted by the future. It is believed that this practice of raising ‘awareness’ and being ‘present’ in the moment, offers a richer experience for us all, enabling greater self-mastery where it is lacking and the opportunity to live a more contented and fulfilled life.
Mantra mind thinking
This is where you take a positive affirmation (mantra) and you recite it repeatedly, making the mantra the focus of your attention. In this way you use the mantra to push away all other distractions, therefore immersing yourself in positivity. The result is greater concentration, clarity and confidence. This practice is able to mould the mind in accordance with the practitioner’s desires.
In its original form meditation is the process where the practitioner focuses on the divine. It’s an active effort to connect with that which is greater than the self. Of course this practice will vary according to one’s tradition, heritage and beliefs. However, the research is clear, that those who focus their minds in kind, loving ways, as demonstrated with loving-kindness meditation, reap substantial emotional, psychological and physical benefits.
Deep relaxation is where one has the experience of ‘trance’. Trance is a beautifully receptive state, where the mind is open to positive suggestion. There are a variety of ways that one might enter this deeply relaxed state, such as: listening to a piece of music, sitting observing a wonderful scene in nature, the practice of deep breathing, creative visualisation etc. Hypnosis is also another medium where deep relaxation is used as a positive vehicle for healing and empowerment.