When you are searching for meditation techniques or want meditation instruction, whether you are looking for relaxation meditation or spiritual meditation techniques, if you are an advanced student or a beginner, if you are searching for anxiety relief or anything else...whatever reason you may want to meditate, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many different kinds of meditation. Some meditation techniques are right for certain kinds of people, while others may not work so well.

Tiger Woods doesn't play football for a reason.

There is also a reason we don't want to see Henry Kissinger participate on Dancing with the Stars.

It’s not an accident that the ancient texts say that the Buddha taught 84,000 unique meditations techniques, one for each of his 84,000 students.

There is also a reason why Hinduism teaches that there is a God for each person and that everyone must find his individual method of praying to and eventually becoming one with their own God.

The reason is that we are all different.

How you are isn’t the same as how your neighbor is.

So it's a good idea to work with how you are instead of fighting how you are.

For example, if you are involved in a Christian tradition, you may find benefit in exploring Christian meditations. There are many to choose from.

A Jewish person might find Kabbalistic and Jewish meditations suit them best.

If you’re Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu, each of those traditions has meditations emphasizing their ideas and beliefs.

If you are not a religious person, it may be helpful to consider your personal psychology or your own nature. Do you need to move physically to process new information, or do you prefer sitting in a still, quiet place? Are you generally aware of what your body is feeling, or do you think of your body as mainly that thing that holds up your head? Do you love learning how things work and exploring different philosophical ideas? Would you rather have detailed instructions to follow, or do you prefer to get just a little bit of guidance and then figure it out for yourself? Do you get deeply involved in what you read, think, or feel, or do you find your thoughts moving fluidly from one thing to another?

None of these traits are any kind of problem. You can find meditation techniques or meditations to work well for any of these styles… as well as many others that I haven't listed.

One of the first Western meditation teachers was a friend of mine. He isn't built for sitting down and focusing all of his attention for a long time; that doesn't give him a deep meditation experience. However, meditation practices where he can move his attention around in his body, experience one thing deeply and then move to another, do provide him with a profound meditative experience. Had he learned from a meditation school that claimed that the only method was concentration, he would not have become a master of meditation.

Sadly, there is no personality test for meditators that measures your different characteristics in order to fit you with just the right meditation technique. So you may have to try a few different ones before you find one that works for you.

In this process of searching for the right technique, discernment is important. Because there are those meditation teachers you meet who will tell you that theirs is "the best and only practice" and moving from technique to technique will only slow down your progress. You may be told that it's like digging a well, and you must keep going until you find water. That’s a fine metaphor, but if there isn’t any water under where you are digging, you’ll never find water no matter how long you dig!

Ideally, you want to discover a meditation practice that gives you results right away, then stop there and dig for a bit. If at some point you stop getting results, then you’ll need to decide whether you’re in a desert that’s run out of water, or if digging deeper will lead you to a new stream. Trust yourself to make this decision, though, rather than anyone who might be making money off of your decision to stick with a particular path.

This means that if you ask whether you should continue or not and they say "You must continue! And your next step is the $5,000 advanced course!" then I, for one, would find a different meditation teacher.

In Tibetan meditation traditions, teachers often tell their students, "I have taught you all I can. I suggest you go study with this other teacher from now on." If the meditation teacher you have now is not able or maybe not willing to suggest another teacher if the need arises, that’s important to know.

Meditation doesn't require us to believe everything our teacher says. It is more about becoming independent, learning to discover what is authentic for you and then trusting that. If someone tries to tell you otherwise, be careful.

Author's Bio: 

Steven Sashen began meditation when he was eight years old, was one of the first biofeedback pioneers, and researched cognition and perception at Duke University. In addition to a successful career as an entrepreneur and entertainer, Steven has taught transformational techniques around the world and developed the Instant Advanced Meditation Course, which Dr. Gay Hendricks calls, "Perhaps the fastest and easiest way to relax, expand awareness, and find deep inner-peace."

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Steven Sashen, the Official Guide To Meditation