What a great question. Here are some general principles that have helped me and many meditation students over the years:
1) I have not observed there to be one method of meditation that is superior to any other. This is true even for the same person over time, where different approaches will likely be required to explore different flavors of meditative experience, practices that happen to be most beneficial at a given time.
2) In my book Essential Mysticism (downloadable for free here: Essential Mysticism : T.Collins Logan : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive) the following general categories of meditation are identified:
- Subtractive Meditation
- Ecstatic Induction
- Symbolic and Synchronistic Ritual
- The Perfection of Love
What is particularly fascinating, however, is that the more types of meditation I have practiced and researched, the more it has become clear that many will touch on more than one of these categories - and sometimes touch on all of them.
3) In addition to the category of meditation you decide to explore, it is essential, IMO, that you cultivate a specific flavor of intention at the same time. I call this "the golden intention," and it simply is desiring what is the greatest good for the greatest number - including ourselves of course - as an outcome for any meditative effort. Without this prerequisite discipline, meditation may not be fruitful...and in fact it may be harmful. It also turns out that this is a great test for the quality of a meditative practice itself, for if meditation is well-designed and our practice is well-executed, then this intentionality will blossom and grow within us.
4) Along the same lines, truly efficacious meditation is meant to develop, focus and strengthen the heart, the mind, the body, the will and the spirit. If you find that only one area is being developed, it may be time to try another approach.
5) And lastly, it is extremely beneficial to find a group with whom to practice. Meditation can indeed be learned as a solitary practice, but most people find that meditating together with others amplifies the experience, and helps keep them focused and on-track.
As to which one suits you best, you will know it when you find it, because you will begin to experience more peace, more clarity, more insight, more certainty, more compassion, more skillfulness and so on. These are the proof of the pudding, as it were. Just remember that you may find this pudding in many different forms of practice, and the pudding may require some new ingredients (new practices, new focus, etc.) over time.
I hope this was helpful.
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