Psykologen Michael Washburn i The Ego and the Dynamic Ground (1975) klassificerede metoder af meditation i 2 grupper, som han kaldte "concentration meditation" og "receptive meditation". Han beskrev dem således:
In the case of concentration meditation, the meditator selects a specific object, idea, or other reference datum and focuses undivided attention upon it. This focal datum can be either an external object or an internal content (e.g., a sensation, image, or idea). However, the practice is considered more advanced when it is an interior and subtle datum that is employed.
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Receptive meditation is the practice of sustained nonselective alertness. In practicing receptive mediation, the meditator maintains the stance of an open and unmoving witness. Whatever emerges in or before the mind is observed crisply but not in any way acted upon or reacted to. The images, feelings, and thoughts that present themselves to consciousness are witnessed uninterruptedly and with full consciousness but without in any way being engaged. In receptive meditation, the meditator emulates the character of a polished mirror, which reflects objects clearly, without becoming involved with them. Important examples or receptive meditation are the mindfulness (satipatthana) and insight (vipassana) meditations of Buddhism and the corresponding "just-sitting" (shikan-taza) form of meditation (zazen) of Zen. Receptive meditation also includes forms of prayer, namely, all those exercises consisting of an open and unthematic posture of devotion and surrender.Det sidste er en rimelig god beskrivelse af min centrerende-bønspraksis (dog med tilføjelse af et bønsord til at hjælpe mig med at give slip på de tanker der får for megen opmærksomhed).
I bogen Intimacy with God har Thomas Keating også brugt betegnelserne "koncentrativ" og "receptiv" til at beskrive typer af meditaion/bøn. Men han bruger dem ikke som diskrete klasser men (i superlativ form) som yderpunkterne på et kontinuum hvor forskellige discipliner kan placeres:
Centering Prayer is probably the most receptive of the practices designed to facilitate the movement toward contemplation. What do I mean by "receptive"? In Diagram 2 our activity in Centering Prayer is represented at one end of a continuum in which various receptive and concentrative practices are shown on a scale. Centering Prayer is not a concentrative practice, nor an exercise of attention. It is an exercise of intention. It is our will, our faculty of choice, that we are cultivating. The will is also our faculty of spiritual love, which is primarily a choice. It maybe accompanied by sentiments of love but does not require them. Divine love is not a feeling. It is a disposition or attitude of ongoing self-surrender and concern for others similar to the concern God has for us and every living thing.
Methods of Prayer that Prepare for Contemplation
Anthony de Mello har også bidraget en charmerende lille beskrivelse af en receptiv form for meditation -- måske mere i hans rolle som psykolog end i hans rolle som præst:
Slow down and taste and smell and hear, and let your senses come alive. If you want a royal road to mysticism, sit down quietly and listen to all the sounds around you. You do not focus on any one sound; you try to hear them all. Oh, you'll see the miracles that happen to you when your senses come unclogged.Se Wisdom from Anthony de Mello, afsnit 53, "Listening to Life".