How to Choose a Meditation Technique
How do you know which form of meditation is right for you? While it may seem that this site would be biased in favor of encouraging you to choose Sahaja meditation over any other form of meditation, no guru or instructor (Sahaja included) should ever encourage you to invest your time or theirs in a technique that makes you feel uncomfortable, isn’t right for you, or doesn’t accomplish your goals.
With that in mind, following are a few issues and perspectives to ponder that may help you pinpoint what you’re really seeking in a meditative practice.
1. Does it cost anything?
Meditation should be free — especially spiritual meditation, including Kundalini energy-based meditation — or at least that’s the Sahaja perspective. Here’s why…
True meditation is an innate state whose potential for actualization already exists with every human being; it only needs to be discovered. Thus, the state of true meditation is completely natural, created by nature for our use, like the air we breathe. Over time, misguided experiments and commercial intentions have twisted meditation into some sort of a nuanced or proprietary technique that can only offer benefits if you’re willing to pay to learn them.
With the increasing popularity of meditation/yoga in the U.S., meditation has become a burgeoning commercial enterprise. When money is involved, it’s usually fair to say that the purpose and motivations of all parties involved may be influenced, and likely not in positive ways. Some charismatic gurus, for example, have turned out to be little more than con artists, more devoted to parting Americans with their money than guiding them toward enlightenment. Certainly, this is not true of all such “gurus.” But it’s something to investigate before you pay them for meditation instruction, especially with respect to spiritual meditation, which should surely be grounded in more altruistic motivations than profit-seeking.
2. Is it free from harm?
There should be no harmful side effects resulting from the practice of any form of meditation.
3. Is it flexible and customizable?
A meditative practice should ultimately be flexible and customizable so that you can set your own goals and tailor a practice to accomplish them. It should also offer complete freedom of choice so that you can “opt out” of any aspect that you’re not comfortable with. Ideally, the form of meditation you choose would offer a logical progression to advanced stages so that your practice (and you as a human being) can continue to evolve, over time, to ever-greater heights.
4. Is it empowering and supportive?
Meditation should make you feel independent, empowered and in control. Meditation is ultimately internally focused, a solitary act that empowers you from within. Eventually, you shouldn’t feel that you must have a guru in the room with you in order to meditate effectively, though in the beginning of the practice, you will likely benefit from attending classes and/or meditating with an instructor’s help. With respect to energy-based meditation, the energy awakening process itself is ultimately accomplished by you. It’s not like “getting a meditation experience” from someone like you might get a massage from a masseuse. The relationship between you and the all-pervading power is all that matters. There are no third parties involved, with the possible exception of some directional guidance where appropriate and needed.
5. Is it measurably helpful?
Meditation should result in significant, measurable mental and physical health improvements.
6. Does it create positive changes?
Meditation should result in improvement of personal characteristics and even personality traits in the longer term. This cannot be overstated. If you’re meditating frequently and taking plenty of courses, but are still struggling to positively altering your behavioral traits, something isn’t right.
7. Is it helping you evolve?
Any form of meditation should offer a tangible way of measuring the quality of the experience and the degree of specific improvements. Being able to gauge your progress (or lack of it) is central to determining how you may need to adjust your practice and ensuring that you continue to evolve.
8. Is it helping you connect to your Inner Self?
Spiritual meditation of any kind should provide a self-realization process that includes the ability to experience the Inner Self or Spirit and the connection of this Inner Self with the cosmos. Your meditative practice must ultimately enable you to perceive this connection and come to understand it and how it can influence your life. It should offer you the opportunity to experiment, allowing you to test the hypothesis involved, rather than forcing dogma upon you.
9. Does it handle your inner energy correctly?
It’s critical that any Kundalini-based yoga or meditation technique enable you to pierce the 7th or crown chakra and by the movement of the Kundalini through the central energy channel. Those techniques that don’t should be avoided, as there’s actually a potential danger. Practice wisdom over the decades has revealed that awakening the Kundalini energy, but not knowing how to properly move it up through the chakras and out through the 7th chakra to connect with the universal energy is of very little use.
10. Is it easy to learn and practice?
Any form of meditation should be easy to learn and practice and should offer expert instructors who can provide knowledge, expertise, “practice wisdom,” and practical guidance at every step. Better yet, it helps if they’re easily accessible from home.
11. Does it offer the inside scoop?
Any form of meditation should willingly and freely offer a detailed and complete body of knowledge on how it works, allowing practitioners to learn on their own, at their own pace, and develop, over time, a deeper understanding of all the ways that a meditative practice can benefit them.
12. Does it have a proven history and track record?
Any form of meditation should have been in existence for a reasonable period of time and ideally, practiced across the globe by a variety of people from different cultures, different ages, different genders. It should work for everyone, of every stripe, and a broader cultural base of practitioners tends to help establish this over time. It’s wise to be wary of short-term courses, especially those that charge a fee and appear to be brand new experiments with no history.
13. Does it have credible origins?
The chosen form of meditation’s origins must be credible. With respect to spiritual meditation, the founder and guru of the yoga or meditation must be reputable and credible. But at the same time, the form of meditation should function in a scalable, transferable manner so that practitioners are not dependent on the founder or guru, or on their physical existence or proximity. Most importantly, there should be no fallout from the absence of the founder or guru. The technique shouldn’t “go under” or become “defunct,” useless, or dangerous if the guru dies, skips town, or is otherwise no longer visible or involved. Valid, useful, safe techniques will be able to stand on their own in perpetuity. They are no less powerful as a result of a founder’s departure.