What do you think of when you hear the word 'meditation'. Often this conjures images of a guru sitting cross-legged on the ground, eyes closed with a look of peace and calmness on his face. Yet meditation is more than merely the moments that we spend in quiescence. It is, in fact, every moment that we consciously occupy our lives.
Lao Tzu once said "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". We all strive to inner calm and well-being, yet where do to begin? Often, as in most things in life, we seek these answers outside of ourselves. However, we then become 'seekers' - individuals who are in a state of continual seeking. We are looking in the wrong direction. Meditation allows us to journey inward, bringing our innate calm, serenity, and wisdom to our outer world.
My meditation mentor once said that there are two types of meditation: contemplate and concentration (in actuality, there are more). These have different affects upon the mind. To contemplate, allows our mind to explore the infinite potentialities of the world. We are able to explore our creative, intuition thereby connecting to deeper aspects of ourselves. To concentrate allows us to exercise relaxed focus, allowing our mind to bring its energy upon a single task. This, in effect, allows our mind to quiet itself and settle.
In my mind, the two types of meditation are thus - practical & perceptual. Perceptual means that which we become aware of through our senses - sight, sound, taste, touch, smell, and mind. This is the practice of meditation that focuses ourself inward. Practical relates to the exercise of mindfulness and meditation in our everyday life. It takes both of these practices to be able to skillful exercise true meditation within our inner and outer world. As Osho, the bad-boy of spirituality once said:
"Meditation is a quality of being that you bring to the act. It is not a particular act, it is not that you do this then it is meditation – that you sit in a certain posture, siddhasana, and you keep your spine erect, and you keep your eyes closed or you look at the tip of your nose or you watch your breath, then it is meditation – no, these are just devices for the beginners…Once you have learned the quality, then you need not do any particular meditation, then the meditation has to spread all over your life. Only when you are meditative twenty-four hours a day then can you attain, then you have attained."