The Difference Between Guided Meditation vs. Active

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.

How To Meditate

Meditation has been around for thousands of years Originally handed down from generation to generation. The english word, meditation, is based on a latin word meaning ‘to ponder.’ But, you do not need to be a yogi seated in an ashram for hours and hours to benefit. 

Modern meditation is a proven and powerful tool that has many health and life benefits including stress reduction. A basic meditation can be broken down into a few simple steps:

  1. find a desired location 
  2. get comfortable
  3. close your eyes
  4. take deep breaths
  5. quiet your mind and relax

Start with a short time, up to 5 minutes, then work your way up to longer times that fit best for you. Many find meditation upon waking to be helpful. Find the ways meditation helps you the most. 

It is important to be focused and present in the moment. This is not the time to respond to emails or try to get other things done. If distracting thoughts pop up, simply say ‘thank you’ and let them pass like a cloud in the sky.  

Enjoy this process of taking care of yourself. The more you practice meditation, the easier it will be and it will become a beneficial habit of self-care. 

Meditation for Beginners

Meditation 101

What is meditation? While Merriam-Webster’s definition of meditation mentions reflection, contemplation, and heightened spiritual awareness, there’s so much more to meditation than that. When you meditate, you should gain a healthy sense of perspective and learn to observe yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings without self-doubt or judgment, so you can learn to understand yourself better. With time and attention, you can improve your mindfulness, reduce stress and anxiety, and regulate your sleep patterns.

Meditation Techniques for Beginners

It’s easy to learn to meditate. However, it does take commitment, and many first-timers feel a little daunted by the idea of sitting with their innermost thoughts and feelings. Many practitioners start with the basics, such as chakra meditation. You’ll find that simpler is better, and balancing your chakras is straightforward, thanks to easy-to-follow breathing and chanting techniques.

Consider using a meditation app to help guide your mind. Some of the best meditation apps include Calm, 10% Happier, and Inscape. Specifically, Calm is often mentioned as a top mediation app.

Clearing Your Mind

What do you think about when you meditate? Many novices report that they are concerned about clearing the mind. While this does seem challenging, the goal isn’t to stop thinking. The purpose of meditation is to practice focusing your attention. If your mind wanders, rein it back in and keep at it. With time and attention, you’ll master this technique.

If you’re like most first-time meditators, it may feel strange to sit in silence. Take advantage of these tips so you can get started.

What Is Meditation?

What is Meditation?

To understand what meditation is, let’s start with a basic definition. If we go by Merriam-Webster’s definition, meditation is the act of engaging in contemplation or reflection in order to reach a level of heightened mental clarity and spiritual awareness.

History of Meditation

People have been practicing meditation for thousands of years. Developed in India around 5000 B.C., ancient wall art depicts people with half-closed eyes, seated in meditative-like postures. The oldest written record is a set of Hindu religious texts from 1500 B.C. However, it’s believed the knowledge was passed down as an oral tradition long before healers inscribed it.

Different Types of Meditation

There are endless variations of meditation techniques. However, the basic types include mindfulness, spiritual, focused, movement, mantra, and transcendental. Exploring any one of these types can lead you down an intuitive path of clarity.

Mindful Meditation Techniques

Learning this ancient tradition is easier than you might think. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap. Sit up tall and keep your back straight, if possible. Close your eyes and breathe through your nose. Focus on the sound of your exhalation, and if anything interrupts your meditation, make a note of the sound or physical sensation, then return your concentration inward.

Benefits of Meditation

Practicing meditation comes with many benefits, from relaxation to reduced stress and anxiety. It can enhance sleep, enhance self-awareness, and improve memory. However, meditation isn’t just about finding inner peace. Use it to create a focus for your life and to help manifest your desires.

Meditation is a powerful tool for self-exploration and wellness. Use this guide when you want to introduce meditation to your daily life.