Meditation can take many forms and a wide range of time intervals. It can work with people of all ages, and stages in life. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Experiment and find the techniques that work best for you. Let’s look at the similarities and differences between a guided meditation and an active meditation.
Guided Meditation: In the beginning of a meditation practice, it is often easier to use a guided program where a person talks you through the process of steps. This can be done live in a class or with a recording. When we are left all on our own to meditate, it may be challenging and distracting because our minds tend to hop around from topic to topic. Some may be in a peaceful setting or with calming music or nature sounds in the background.
A few popular types of guided meditation include: Sleep/Relaxation, Pain/Stress Relief or Mindful/Loving. You can find meditations that guide you to let go of anxieties with visualizations and soothing thoughts and images. Or, you may choose to learn how to be in the here and now while letting your distracting thoughts float away. This type of energy helps you navigate your busy world and still feel in control.
Active Meditation: Active meditation combines focus and mindfulness with specific activity — usually one that you can do without great concentration on the task you’re performing. Some may get more from their meditation while walking or jogging, gardening or knitting, for example. Combining physical concentration with repetitive physical actions can create a deeper mind-body connections and intensify the clarity and peacefulness of the meditation.
It is often useful to do these actions on your own, so you can be in the moment and enjoy the deep inner connection you are creating instead of participating in conversations with others or listening to popular music or your favorite podcast.
Experiment to find what works best for you each day. Perhaps, like me, you will find that adding some variety to our meditations helps to provide the best results.