Why are there so many forms of meditation? Which Method is right? What's the Purpose? These are questions that are so often asked by people wanting to get started in a meditation program.
Let's start with the forms of meditation. One common form of meditation is "insight meditation". This method appreciates the value of becoming one with spirit. This form of meditation uses your breathing as the focal point to direct your attention away from any thoughts, thus, enabling you to clear your mind. There is often no other ulterior motive just a sense of "oneness". It creates a true sense of being in the light. Often, I have heard practitioners of this method say that it creates a sense of clarity in their lives.
Another form of meditation is called visualization. This method is often used with a goal in mind. Example.The practitioner of this method may desire to have more peace in their life. They would then relax and clear their mind in a restful position, and then imagine the events of their life as they wish them to be. Most practitioners of this method agree that the intensity of emotional used during the meditation increases the likelihood of achieving the desired result. This form of meditation is often used in conjunction with affirmations. There are several different types of affirmations used, one typical type is what is called the 4- P's . 1. Positive 2. Personal 3. Precise 4. Present (now) An example of this would be: I now live in peace and harmony! (I (personal) now(present) live in peace (precise and positive) and harmony.)
Another popular form of meditation is "mantra meditation". In some variations of mantra meditation, the practitioners will make use of sounds. Often the sound of "om" or "ah" may be used. Speaking with several participants of sound meditation, I have heard various reasons for the using of sounds. One reason, I heard several times was that it clears the mind from everyday thoughts. (Which is often a problem confronted with other forms of meditation.) Some of the sounds of mantra meditation have wonderful histories. Some of the sounds are understood as the sounds of creation (ah, Allah). Others have meanings such as peacefulness or a sense of gratitude (om) , and yet other sounds have no meaning except for the feeling or energy that that is omitted. Sound meditation is often used with the same purposes as other forms of meditations to achieve a feeling of oneness or as in some methods to create a more fulfilling life.
These are just a few of the many methods used. Back to the question of which is right? I believe that the majority of methods are right. One method may be right for this time in your life and another method may be just what you need 10 years from now. I personally use a combination of methods, depending on my objectives (or lack of objectives). I encourage you to keep an open mind and experiment with several methods. Some may feel unusual or foreign now. That's o.k.! Find out what works for you and enjoy one of life's most valued treasures - Meditation.