What is the number of meditations within classical yoga? (And we are not talking about objects of meditation, but about different types of conscious psychological activity)
We counted around 70, regardless of synonyms.
70 techniques, each of which has its own name and a specific manner of performing, references in classical texts and a specific purpose.
In Vijnana Bhairava Tantra alone there are 4-5 different types of meditation, just like in Vishuddha Magga.
In a wide sense, meditation (psychopractice) is first of all an exercise (abhyasa). According to Patanjaly, each abhyasa (exercise) contains repeatability, constancy and duration of effort.
The most important thing is effort. Shiva Sutra says:
However, what should you focus your efforts and exercise on?
We can distinguish three places which are the three levels of mind, which correspond to the three levels of the psyche in the broadest sense of the word.
The first level is “physiological”, determined by the genotype and partly by activity in early childhood.
At this level, there are the qualities of various mental functions:
The second level is functional or methodical. It is not about mental physiology, but about the skills of correct performing certain interpsychic operations. Example:
Correlation of levels is quite obvious – a person with a good speed of thinking is effective if he/she thinks methodically correctly. Otherwise, it drives the “processor” in vain. Although, provided a person has the right techniques, he/she is more effective than an untrained person.
Meditations at this level are the development of the internal culture of memory, thinking, emotions, etc. The practices on this level also affect the first level due to the plasticity of the brain.
The third, highest level is existential. Here we have:
This level is the most important one, but is unattainable without the previous ones. No wonder the “Yoga Sutra” begins not with “subtle” meditations, but with an epistemological description of the correct methods of cognition belonging to the second level…
In classical yoga, there are sets of meditations that correspond to each of these levels.
The source is Andriy Safronov’s Telegram channel “Notes in the Margins of Ancient Texts”
Among the type of meditations related to the control of attention (dharana) there is a very interesting practice mentioned by Shivapadhyaya in the commentary on the Vijnana-bhairava-tantra. According to the commentator this meditation can be called samdharana:
In Latin mysticism, namely in the practices of monks, 3 main techniques were distinguished: meditation, contemplation, and cogitation.
Meditation is a careful, detailed reflection on the words of philosophical and sacred texts to the state when it is impossible to think about anything else. In this, we recognize dhyana.
Contemplation is direct feeling. Which is similar to bhavana.
Cogitation (cogo = cum+ago — to collect together, to connect) — clarification of ideas through discursive cognition. Samadhi (sam- +ā- +dha+ i — to gather together) is a complete knowledge of an object as a result of dhyana.
We recognize smarana in the practices of reminiscence (conscious recollection), which were described by Aristotle.