What is meditation? A lot of people would says that it’s sitting and saying “omm” repeatedly, but there are many different types of meditation—from the kind that everyone does without thinking about it to types that are almost non-existent. In my meditation column, I will be going over all forms and types of meditation, how it could benefit you, and where you can learn locally.
To meditate simply means to “think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.”
The first form of meditation is one we all do: sleep! Some of you may be saying, “This guy is crazy,” but hear me out. By definition, sleep is a form of meditation because you are mentally in silence when sleeping.
The next form of meditation, and the one most people think of, is chanting or silencing your thoughts. This involves sitting in one place for a period of time, either in silence or chanting a sound, removing all thoughts one by one until your mind completely runs out of them. This is commonly known as mindfulness meditation. It allows thoughts, memories, ideas, sounds and senses to be known. People such as Taoist Monks practice mindfulness meditation. You can learn how to meditate by going to a quiet place in your mind, or you can physically find a place that brings peace to you and practice there.
The last form that I will discuss is known as focus-based meditation. This is where you focus on one thing, idea, or thought. You can say a mantra repeatedly, or even focus on a type of breathing. Focus-based meditation includes: “Samatha (Buddhist meditation), some forms of Zazen, Loving Kindness Meditation, Chakra Meditation, Kundalini Meditation, Sound Meditation, Mantra Meditation, Pranayama, some forms of Qigong, and many others.”1 Focus-based meditation can happen randomly—like when reading a book—or by actually sitting down wherever you are comfortable and focusing on one object.
There are several places relatively near SMCC where you can learn meditation; one is the Serlingpa Meditation Center in Portland. For other meditation centers, check out