|I've used this photo before. So what. I like it.|
- Concentrative meditation focuses on breathing or mantras that block other thoughts.
- Nondirective meditation may also focus on breathing or a meditation sound. But it isn't designed to block thoughts; rather, it encourages the mind to wander. Modern meditation techniques tend to fall into this category. So does my own variety.
This area of the brain has its highest activity when we rest. It represents a kind of basic operating system that takes over when external tasks do not require our attention. It is remarkable that a mental task like nondirective meditation results in even higher activity in this network than regular rest.The Schappi Meditation Techniques -- Directive and Nondirective
I experimented -- usually without success -- with meditation for years. I started with directive varieties, usually the "breathe in, breathe out" approach designed to empty my mind. Just one problem: my mind never emptied.
Nondirective meditation suited me better, but I didn't notice dramatic results. In addition, I wasn't very good at following some guru's rules on how to meditate.
That all changed several years ago when I started my "quiet hour meditation" after my middle-of-the-night bathroom visit. My approach is very nondirective; I make it up as I go along and it keeps changing. At first, I sat in a chair and combined mindfulness meditation and progressive relaxation. Now I mix in a couple BIG exercises for Parkinson's, and two core muscle strengthening exercises my physical therapist recommended for my bad back... which is no longer all that bad.
I'm increasingly aware that the rewards of my "quiet hour" result not just from mindfulness meditation, but also from the 5-HTP serotonin booster I take for Parkinson's. For the first time in my life, I've faithfully maintained a self-development program for a couple of years, because it works.
Directive meditation has recently made a comeback in my life. Since last December I've been using RESPeRATE, a medical device that has helped some users lower their blood pressure. Reviewed in the January issue of the "Mayo Clinic Health Letter," the little apparatus uses a directive meditation -- breathe in, breathe out -- based on a personalized musical guid. This new gadget has played a part in my decision -- so far successful -- to stop taking blood pressure pills.