There are many forms of meditation:
Formal and structured
Open eye, walking around in the world types
Closed eye or soft eye meditation seated
Mystical and direct path practices
Loving kindness practice
and more. Also, there are many different flavors, cultures and styles to how these are presented:
Zen from Korea, Japan and elsewhere
Vipassana from Burma and Thailand
Ancient Tantric practices
Islamic Mystical Versions
Christian Mystical versions
Jewish Mystical versions
on so on.
You may yourself already have a practice, have favorite books, a community and a personal philosophy. You may be sampling and learning. Whatever your situation, I recommend that you do whichever one feels literally the easiest and the most relaxed. We don't need to tie ourselves into knots over something else in our lives. We have plenty of ways of doing so already. So do whatever feels effective and easy for you, and let it change if it feels kinda stuck.
I love the simple exercise Ajahn Chah had listeners try in a talk he gave once. He asked: Do you notice that you are seeing right now? Just check.
Then he asked, how much effort does that seeing take?
That's the effort that is needed for meditation - just that little bit of noticing. No efforting, no big doing, or trying.
I love this. I agree.
Hannah Burr is a contemporary artist and author. Originally from Boston, she lives in Ann Arbor MI.