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The 2 Types of Meditation!

By Atip Muangsuwan

Most people are generally confused about these 2 types of meditation.

In my previous article ‘Emotional Needs are the answer!’, I wrote that… “My client would practise calmness meditation and also mindfulness meditation in his daily life.”

So, what are the differences between the two?

Calmness meditation or single-point meditation (Sa-ma-tha bhavana in Buddhism) is…when you focus your mind on one or single object. That object could be your breath, your nose, your navel, etc. (related to your body) or it could be the outside-body object like a candle, a crystal or even a pen.  No limits on the meditation objects. The only requirement is… they must be decent objects. Then, you sustain your focusing period as long as you possibly can or you intend to.

The main reason to do calmness meditation is… to focus your mind. By focusing your mind on one single object, you automatically empower your mind. When your mind is empowered, you can use it for many purposes like studying, working, healing, manifesting things even the things that are supernatural, etc. “The law of attraction” also uses this principle.

Do you remember while we were in school, there was an experiment that we did about a magnifying glass? We placed a magnifying glass in a way to concentrate the sunlight on a piece of paper or on a matchstick’s head. Then, that paper or matchstick’s head was on fire after only a while. 

This is a good metaphor of calmness or single-point meditation. When we concentrate the sunlight into a single point, it’s just like when we concentrate our mind into a single point as well. But our mind can manifest things more powerfully than a magnifying glass. It depends on where or which areas you want to use it.

While doing calmness meditation, not only does it give you your mind power, but it also gives you calm, peaceful and happy feeling of your mind in the process.

Now that you’ve understood about the calmness meditation. Let’s move on to… mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness meditation or Insight meditation is called, “Vi-pas-sana” in Buddhism.

Simply put, mindfulness meditation is… when you become mindful about 2 things; that is, your body and your mind.

You can practise mindfulness meditation by using either your body or your mind as an object for meditation.

If you choose your body as an object, you become aware of your body in the present moment. For example, when you’re sitting and reading my article right now, you can become aware that your body is sitting. Your eyes are on your computer screen. Your right hand is on the mouse. Your left hand is on the keyboard. If you can become aware of these, it means that you’re practicing mindfulness meditation.

If you choose your mind as an object, you become aware of your mind in the present moment. From the same example, when you’re reading my article, you are aware of your arising feeling that you “like” my article. Or you’re aware that your mind just slips away while reading my article. If you can become aware of these, it also means that you’re practicing mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness is called, “Sa-ti” in Buddhism. When you have Sa-ti, you are mindful.

The main reason to do mindfulness meditation is… to become mindful or become self-aware. Why do we need to be mindful? The simple answer is… “to be in the present moment”. And why do we need to be in the present moment?

The primary benefit of being in the present moment is that… you won’t get lost in both your inner world (thoughts and emotions) and the outer world.

The secondary benefit is that… you will be able to see the ‘real truth’ of your body and your mind. The real truth of your body and your mind is called, “Tri-Luk” in Buddhism or The 3 Characteristics. They comprise of… 1) Anid-jung meaning… impermanence 2) Tuk-khung meaning… state of suffering or being oppressed 3) Anat-ta meaning… non-self.

The tertiary benefit is… after your mind has gained the spiritual insight from the real truth, your mind will be able to attain Enlightenment and then reach nirvana (a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents the final goal of Buddhism.)

When you’ve reached nirvana, you will have unshakeable peace of mind. No matter what happen in the world, your mind will remain unshakeable with equanimity.  

So, now you can distinguish between the calmness meditation and mindfulness meditation, right?

You can see that the ways to practice both meditation types are different. And both meditation types also yield different outcome.

So, next time when someone tells you to do calmness meditation in order to develop your mindfulness, you can challenge them about their true understanding between these 2 types of meditation.

Now you can decide whether you want the mind power or unshakeable peace. If you want mind power, you do calmness or one-point meditation. If you want unshakeable peace, then you do mindfulness meditation.