Guided vs Unguided Meditation: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Guided Meditation: Provides structure and verbal guidance for the meditation practice.
  2. Unguided Meditation: Allows for a more self-directed and introspective experience.
  3. Personal Preference: Choice between guided and unguided meditation depends on individual preference and goals.

What is Guided Meditation?

Guided meditation is a type of meditation where some form of guidance is given by an instructor to the person performing meditation. The guidance is given as a set of instructions to the meditator. The meditator only has to follow these instructions and carry them out properly.

It is a mental exercise done with the help of another person reading the instructions to the meditator towards a state of heightened awareness. It is done by an instructor guiding the meditator step-by-step through the entire duration of the meditation.

Guided meditations are used mainly by beginners or people trying to learn a new skill. It can be done alone or in a group and helps to concentrate more and relax.

What is Unguided Meditation?

Unguided meditation is a type of meditation where nobody gives instructions to the meditator. But this does not mean the meditators can not follow a scripted set of instructions alone.

It is a meditation practice without external instructions, and the meditators need to lead themselves throughout the meditation. This type of meditation is used to bring structure to meditations.

Unguided meditation is used as a stepping stone for more advanced meditators who have the instructions of the meditation learned by heart and can perform without any guidance.

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Difference Between Guided Meditation and Unguided Meditation

  1. Guided meditation is a form of meditation in which the meditators meditate in response to the guidance of a trained meditation facilitator, either in person or by audio or video recording. In contrast, unguided meditation is a self-directed form of meditation in which the meditators meditate in silence or while listening to music.
  2. Guided meditation can be individual or group, whereas unguided meditation is solo.
  3. Guided meditation suits beginners, whereas unguided meditation is for more advanced meditators.
  4. In guided meditation, the meditator may be pulled out from the current state when they hear a new instruction from the facilitator, whereas, in unguided meditation, the meditator has the autonomy to decide what to visualize and focus on.
  5. Guided meditation is useful in building meditation habits in meditators as the facilitator encourages them to be regular. In contrast, in unguided meditation, there is a lack of a voice bringing the meditator back if they get distracted.

Comparison Between Guided Meditation and Unguided Meditation

Parameters of ComparisonGuided MeditationUnguided Meditation
DefinitionMaintaining the preferred meditative stateUnguided meditation is a type of meditation that is practiced without any external instructions.
BeginnersGuided meditation is better for beginners to start with short sessions in groups.Unguided meditation is recommended for seasoned and advanced meditators.
AutonomyIn guided meditation, the meditator listens to the facilitator’s instructions.It can be done anytime and anywhere
AccessibilityDepends on the presence of an instructorIt depends on the presence of an instructor
Maintaining preferred meditative stateThe meditator may pull out from their current state when they hear a new instruction.The meditator may stay in a particular meditative state according to their preference.
References
  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00056/full
  2. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/13/6957
Also Read:  Hindu vs Buddhist Meditation: Difference and Comparison

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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