All of the many kinds of meditation that have developed over the years can be placed under one of two umbrellas: mindfulness and awareness. What is mindfulness meditation? It’s essentially training in being present here and now by acknowledging the thoughts and emotions that arise in the mind without judging them, and by allowing them to pass. You might think that to be mindful means to concentrate really hard on something, but actually the practice of mindfulness meditation is more about noticing and relaxing: it’s about letting go. How do you actually do mindfulness meditation? Usually you would sit in a posture that helps you focus on a meditation object, such as your breath or physical sensations, then simply watch what’s going on for however long you want to meditate: watching, noticing, and letting go of thoughts that might distract you away from staying with the breath or physical sensations.
Awareness meditation is a bit more active. Once you’ve learned to steady the mind through mindfulness, you might use that stability to take a close and direct look at how the mind functions. There are specific instructions for both forms of meditation that can help take the guesswork out of your practice.
For a progressive series of courses to train you gradually through mindfulness and awareness practice, we recommend the Mindworks Journey.