Types and Methods of Meditation
Most people shy away from suffering and seek after happiness. Unfortunately the happiness that most people find gives only temporary relief from suffering – because it does not reach the roots of suffering or lead to permanent happiness. People overlook the fact that suffering lies inside the mind (rather than outside it) and therefore must be dealt with inside the mind, not in the body or outside body and mind.
Many misunderstand that drinking, taking drugs and roaming from one place of entertainment to another will alleviate their suffering – but in fact, it only manages to distract the mind from suffering temporarily. If we want to deal with suffering on a permanent basis, we cannot avoid meditation – and it is perhaps no surprise that meditation is becoming more popular in the present day, especially in the western world.
Different people, however, meditate for different reason. Some merely want to show off mental powers to win spiritual followers. Others wish to use meditation to cultivate mindfulness and wisdom to deal with suffering at its roots. Thus, it is obvious that the one word ‘meditation’ can refer to different things. Therefore, it is necessary to take note of the most fundamental categorization of meditation – so that when we come to practice meditation, we can choose the correct methodology:
1. Right Meditation is meditation that focuses the mind at a place inside the body where happiness, peace and wisdom arise – and where the defilements are reduced – as a means to attain liberation.
2. Wrong Meditation is meditation that focuses the mind outside the body at a place where anxiety increases and the defilements increase.
Meditation can be classified into one of three kinds depending on where the mind is focused during meditation:
1) Meditation focusing the mind outside the body
2) Meditation focusing the mind inside the body
3) Meditation focusing the mind at the center of the body.