Meditation is a process of insight into our own true nature. Meditational practices are used like tools to bring our attention back onto ourselves, which naturally leads to greater self-awareness and insight. In this process many layers of bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, identities and mental processes are seen as they are, in each moment.
Meditation is something simple, subtle, something which is ever-present, in the here and now. Letting our attention rest into our essence, is the essence of meditation.
Meditation allows us to see our own reality in this body-mind, as it is in each moment. This clarity of seeing allows us to live life from a natural place of pure awareness in each moment. Only by knowing ourselves and our relative aspects of the body-mind with wisdom, can we intuitively live from a place of deep harmony, trust, peace, unconditional love and joy. These qualities of our true self are then naturally shared with others.
Awareness is the essence of meditation.
Different Meditation Techniques
There are many different meditation techniques which can be used, coming from a variety of different religious and spiritual traditions. However, meditation can be taken out of its religious/spiritual context and be used as a universal tool for us humans to discover the depths of who we are.
Different meditation techniques may have different objects of attention and may be used for a variety of purposes. Some meditational practices may be more of a relaxation exercise to prepare for deeper meditation e.g. relaxing our bodies and releasing our mental tensions. Some meditational practices may be more of a concentration technique, such as directing our attention on a particular object and focusing it on that object. The object of concentration could be the repetition of a sound, natural breathing, bodily sensations, a visual object, a point of attention within our body (e.g. in-between the forehead), amongst many others. Other meditational practices include visualizations, mindfulness meditation, contemplations, affirmations of our true nature, kriya meditation, devotional meditations, amongst many others.
As our meditation practice becomes more subtle and intuitive, we discover many aspects of our relative and absolute nature through insight.
You may use whatever technique you find beneficial, depending on what you wish to achieve from meditation. You may use relaxation techniques to relax the body-mind, concentration techniques to make the mind one pointed or just naturally be aware. Ultimately, meditation is used to go beyond just relaxation and concentration of the mind and to developing greater self awareness and insight.
Meditation should be used to bring us back to naturally seeing our present moment experience with clarity, penetrating concentration and insight. This is the process of developing wisdom in each moment.