What Kind Of Meditation Helps You?

I’m really not sure — there’s a lot of them out there, and most of them aren’t very good. But I have noticed that ones that make me feel close to the practice of meditation, and even feel more connected to my body and spirit and my own life, tend to work for me.

I would love a list of how to find those types of meditations that are most useful or that seem to flow naturally. I need to get a good grounding on why I might be feeling the way I am, and how I can help myself and the people around me heal.

Thanks so much for this post, especially your use of the word “spirit.” I had a hard time understanding the distinction before, but this helps. You’ve got it right, at least for the short term

I can get a sense of this in your meditation routine. 

There’s two main phases of your practice (maybe three if you’re doing something really intense) that should get you started: First, take some time to sit down (or sit while sitting) and look out the window or sit up and look out the window. Look, the trees… look… look, the grass… look… look at the sky and the clouds, and try to connect. Feel the wind, the sun, the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the sun in the morning, the heat in the afternoon. I’m talking about visuality. Make these connections — get inside of them.

Then, you should be doing some focus on your breath. When you’re sitting, notice when you’re inhaling and exhaling. When you’re not inhaling or exhaling, notice when you’re sitting… any time you’re in the “present.” This is a time-frame that’s easy for most people to forget, if you just try to go through your day without thinking about it. This is a time for you to remind yourself what you’re doing right now, with you, in your own body, in front of you, in that moment.  What’s the thing you’re focused on here? How much space there is to observe it.  When this begins to feel natural to you, then you’ll begin to notice that as you inhale or exhale in a given moment or in the midst of a given conversation, your body is experiencing the sensation of breathing.  That’s your focus.  You’ll begin to look at the breath and be attentive to all the sensations that you’re giving it. Breathing can feel very subtle, or it can be very fast or slow. Don’t be afraid to try them both. Do I have time?  When you notice that you’re breathing hard, tense, or relaxed, don’t judge. Don’t think you have to get it just right. Just acknowledge it and pay attention. Don’t worry too much about what you’re saying to yourself, because it’s the same every time. Just be aware, and in doing that, you won’t over-examine the sensation of breathing. All that’s important is being focused on your breath and noticing the different things it’s taking in (if you’re noticing it as you exhale), and in the process, notice the different things it’s giving out (if you’re noticing it as you inhale).   When you notice that you’re being mindful with a deep breath, notice that your mind goes back to that simple breath, and is there to bring it into your awareness and make it as vivid and detailed as possible. Keep your focus in the breath.  When you notice that you’re breathing in too much, notice it and get really aware of what’s taking in too much.