|The Four Paths||| Print ||
Lawrence LeShan in his remarkably lucid and succinct book, How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery, describes the four main routes or “paths” to meditation.
The Path through the Intellect – understanding the nature of reality by using thought “to go beyond thought.”
Mental meditations take three main forms: Observation of one’s inner thoughts and perceptions (The Inner Way); Focus on an external object, sound (mantra), or image (The Outer Way); or a meditation on emptiness, on the stream of thoughts with on objective in mind (The Middle Way). LeShan states that The Middle Way is the most difficult to achieve.
The Path through the Emotions – meditations that focus on compassion or other forms of caring and devotion.
The Route of the Body – using awareness of one’s senses and bodily movements through dance.
The Path of Action – perceiving and relating to the world through focus on a particular movement or action, such as Akido, T’ai Chi, or flower arrangement.