So…why do you think people need to put things into a category? Does it make a difference? I suppose it might depending on what it’s referring to. If you’ve decided that it’s time to get a dog, it’s very helpful to know what ‘category’ it would fit into. Will the dog be large, medium or small? But I think that oftentimes it doesn’t.
I don’t usually think of meditation as something that needs to be ‘categorized.’ When I tell people that I teach meditation, that’s usually enough to either interest them or not. I was a bit surprised the first time someone asked me, “what kind of meditation do you teach?” My reply was that I simply teach people how to meditate. Then I came to realize that what I typically teach they were defining as “sitting meditation.” As opposed to walking, standing, moving etc.
Move forward a couple of years and as usual my reply was that I simply teach people to meditate in a way that works for them. But she was looking for a more defined label. Did I teach sitting, standing, insight or concentration meditation? Plus a few other categories that I can’t remember. Heck – I wasn’t even sure what she was talking about with some of them.
When I’m teaching meditation I’m trying to help people discover what will work best for them. I know what works for me, and I’ve found it also works for the majority of my students, but if not that’s okay. We keep working at it until we find what does. In our meditation teacher training with davidji we study many different philosophies and types of meditation. I’m currently involved in training to instruct qigong so I can help those who don’t feel they can sit still long enough to do ‘sitting’ meditation. If I can help them find a way into that peaceful calm through qigong as a form of ‘moving’ meditation they will reap the benefits.
There are meditation programs geared to specific results but honestly, I don’t think we need to categorize meditation so distinctly. We don’t need a lot of tools and gimmicks. People have meditated for thousands of years without them. Find the method that works for you and do it! If guided meditation or beautiful music helps you get into a peaceful space then use it. In time you will be able to enter that meditative calm anywhere without them. You can change it up – one day use a mantra, on another day follow your breath and on another listen to a guided meditation. If you enjoy it, you’ll keep at it. Because in the end, if you can just find some minutes in the day to meditate, you will reap all of the benefits of meditation throughout the rest of your day.
While going through US customs at the airport the officer asked why I was going to Sanibel Island. I told him that I taught meditation and was going to a teachers retreat. “Oh”, he said, “what kind of meditation do you teach?” With a smile I said “I teach whatever kind of meditation is going to work for you.”
Glenda Van Koot is a certified davidji meditation teacher and the founder of Moonset Meditation. She lives in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada. Visit her website at serenitywithglenda.com