Different Types of Meditation
The best-known form of meditation is TM. This technique involves the repetition of a mantra — a meaningful word, sound, or phrase. A mantra gives your mind something to focus on while you're meditating. If you choose to repeat a phrase, make sure it's a short, positive statement such as an affirmation. (You'll learn more about affirmations and mantras in the next chapter.)
Buddhists often chant as part of their meditation practice. When you chant, you repeat a word, phrase, blessing, or prayer in a rhythmic, singsong manner. The repetitive nature of a chant, as well as the actual words that compose it, act on your subconscious to generate the desired result.
Harmonious sounds can help disperse blocked energy and promote the flow of beneficial ch'i, the vitalizing force that the Chinese believe animates all life. Playing or uttering pleasant sounds not only improves meditation, it's good feng shui and can enhance your whole environment.
Contemplation involves focusing on a particular object, idea, or image in order to gain greater insight into it. Zen koans (riddles) are sometimes used as topics for contemplation. Choose a thought or subject you wish to understand more deeply, such as love, peace, acceptance, or forgiveness, then focus your attention on it while meditating. Keep your mind open to receive insights.
In creative visualization, you form a mental picture that conveys relaxation, such as waves breaking gently on the sand. Hold the image in your mind in order to improve your focus. Creative visualization is an important part of working magick, as you'll learn shortly.
Active meditation sounds like an oxymoron, but that's exactly what you're doing when you rake a Zen garden, walk a labyrinth, or stroll peacefully through the woods. The key is to move slowly, mindfully, remaining attentive to your motions.
Drumming can also stimulate deep meditative states and even astral travel. The vibrations and resonance of drumsong mirror those of your own heart. Start out with slow, regular beats. Then let the sensations and your intuition guide you.