According to Webster's Dictionary, meditation is engaging in contemplation, reflection, or a mental exercise to reach a heightened spiritual awareness.
To put it into a more usable definition, VeryWellMind explains meditation as a set of techniques intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention.
It has played a part in almost every religion dating back thousands of years, one of the oldest mindfulness practices. A practice, regardless of your religious affiliation, is not a spiritual practice but a mindfulness practice. Anyone all over the world can do anywhere or anytime.
Types of Meditation:
According to Healthline, there are nine types of meditation.
Mindfulness Meditation Originates from the Buddhist teachings, pay attention to your thoughts, and let them pass.
Spiritual Meditation focuses on developing a deeper spiritual-religious connection with your higher power.
Focused meditation- focusing on one thing, it can be your breath, counting mala beads, or staring at the flame of a candle.
Movement Meditation- any form of gentle movement done in silence.
Mantra Meditation-having a mantra that you say daily during your meditation; some think the repetitive sounds help to clear the mind.
Transcendental Meditation-A specific practice founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and taught by a TM practitioner.
Progressive Relaxation-A practice focused on tightening and loosening different parts of your body, one body part at a time, resulting in total body relaxation.
Loving-Kindness Meditation- Opening the mind to receive and send love to others.
Visualization Meditation- creating a scene using all of your five senses to stimulate relaxation and calmness, and sometimes can be used to visualize your future goals.
Starting a new practice of meditation takes time and dedication. For most of us, it can be uncomfortable at first. We often wonder, am I doing this right? Is it working? Unfortunately, the only way to find out is to continue doing it.
First, pick which type you would like to practice from the above list, and dedicate a set amount of time to practice. I would recommend starting in short intervals of 2-3 minutes in the beginning and then slowly working your way up to a more extended session.
Keep a journal and document how you feel after each session; this will gauge what is working for you and what is not. Then, tweak each session to the specific needs of your body.
Dedicate a month to the practice and see how you feel.