Meditation is a fundamental aspect of the New Age movement. It usually involves deep breathing and focus on a certain image, thought, word, or sound. The different types of meditation vary as widely as the different purposes for meditating. People of various spiritual traditions have been using meditation for thousands of years to alter their consciousness in order to perceive and experience the world in different ways. While in these altered states, people may feel unconditional love or a deep spiritual connection to all people and things in the universe. Practitioners also use meditation to communicate with their gods, contemplate questions before making important decisions, or as some other a tool in their quest for spiritual enlightenment.

In the New Age movement, meditation is usually combined with personal behavioral choices, such as mindfulness, self-discipline, forgiveness, kindness, compassion and generosity.

Meditation can also be used in secular ways. Many people in Western cultures use meditation to relieve stress, muscle tension, physical pain, or just to clear their minds and relax.

Here are a few of the types of meditations used by New Age practitioners along with step-by-step instructions.

Conscious Breathing
Conscious breathing is a simple form of meditation that’s good for beginners. Select a time and place where you won’t be distracted. You can sit upright with your back straight and legs folded, or you can lay flat on your back. Close your eyes and inhale slowly through your nose. Then exhale slowly through your mouth. Tell yourself that you will only focus on the sound of your breathe going in and out. At first, you will get distracted by intruding thoughts that take your focus away from the breathing. When this happens, simply refocus your attention on your breathing and continue. You can start out with a goal of complete focus on your breath only for ten seconds, then twenty, then thirty. Do not get frustrated with yourself if you can’t focus for long periods at first. Almost no one can at first. When you can do this for 15-20 minutes a day, you will notice amazing positive changes to the way you go about your daily interaction with the world.

Mantra Meditation
Mantra Meditation is popular in the New Age movement.
A mantra is a sound or word that is used during meditation to enhance the transformative effects. You can use some of the traditional mantras such as the sound “aum”, “oo”, or “ahh”. These are considered to be powerful primal sounds that have different effects for enriching the spirit and creating effects in the body. Sit comfortably in a quiet room and settle into the silence. Inhale slowly and deeply. As you exhale, say the mantra. In this case, say “ahh” for a long as you comfortably can. Inhale again and repeat. In psychology, this is called toning and is known to improve the brain’s efficiency. You can also create your own mantra for your own purpose. For example, you can repeat the word “love” over and over as you settle into a feeling of bliss and appreciation for the people and things around you. The point is to repeat the sound mantra enough until the desired result is reached.

Chakra Meditation
Chakra meditation is usually used by advanced practitioners. Chakras are believed to be seven spiritual energy centers located in the human body. Each chakra corresponds to a gland in the body’s endocrine system. The chakras represent different aspects of the abilities and functions of your lower and higher selves. You can also use a mantra as you meditate on your chakras. The point is usually to open the energy centers and allow the intelligent, loving, life-force energy to flow through your body and create powerful psychological and spiritual enhancements. For advanced users, this meditation is often used to reach spiritual enlightenment.

You can try this before you head off into the world at the beginning of your day. Find your quiet location, get comfortable and settle into the silence. Begin by putting your attention at the base of your spine. This is said to be the location of your root chakra. Focus on this spot and recite the mantra, “aum!” Continue repeating it while focused on the same spot. After a while, you should feel a warm sensation where your attention is. When this chakra is opened, the energy flowing through is believed to create a sense of stability, security and enhanced survival instinct. You can use your thoughts to help enforce this into your daily behavior. Recite “aum” on your root chakra while thinking, “God, you are my rock. I am stable and I feel secure.” Feel the energy flow upwards to your sacral chakra, located at your naval. Inhale deeply and exhale with “aum”. Repeat until you feel the warm energy at the naval area. The energy here strengthens your passion and creativity. Your next chakra is located at your solar plexus and is responsible for personal power, strength, and determination. Next is your heart chakra located in the center of your chest. Meditate on this one with thoughts of unconditional love for everyone and everything.

Your throat chakra is next. Use this one to enhance your ability to communicate to the material and spirit world. The next chakra is your third eye, located between your eyebrows. Saying “aum” while focusing on this spot can create a buzzing sensation on the spot. When you master the use of this chakra, it is said that you will open the door to infinite intelligence and enhanced intuition. The final chakra is the crown, located on top of your head. This is where you feel your divine connection to the Supreme Being and all other living beings in existence. You can also experience yourself as pure consciousness. If you want, you begin the meditation at the crown and work your way down to the root. When all of your chakras are open, you become aligned with the divine and have the ability to demonstrate that through a much higher quality of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, words and choices during the time you are under this effect.

There are many other forms of meditation. Know your goals and find what works for you. Meditation is a built-in medication for many of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual ills. It’s free, potent, and has no negative side-effects. Use it.