Meditation has been practised all over the world for thousands of years. The outward forms may be very different – Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi etc., but the processes are very similar.
One can say that there are two sorts of meditation although ultimately they are like the front and back of our hands.
In the first we focus our attention on an object which helps us to calm our thoughts. The object can be anything that helps us become more peaceful like a word or phrase, a flower, a picture, a candle, or probably the most widely used object, the breath.
In the second type, sometimes called Insight meditation, we relax a little and observe what is happening in our consciousness, our take on the present moment, its sensations, sounds, thoughts, feelings, memories etc. Through doing this we can start to form some space or distance from who we think we are and develop some understanding about ourselves and our world.
This can enable us to let go of thoughts and concepts that cause us suffering and cultivate attitudes that create more lightness and peace in our lives.