If you have done any research at all, you must know about the spiritual benefits of meditation. Some proponents say that the purpose of meditating is to bring you closer to the heart of God. Certainly, there have been a number of first hand accounts from people who have felt God when in deep states of meditation. Some say that the way to the spiritual self is through meditation. Learning to astral project, become more intuitive, or develop a deeper psychic ability all come through a concerted meditation practice. People meditate to gain greater insight into their own psyches or to create a pathway to past life regression. Meditation can help open the channel to enlightenment.
Others tout the health benefits of meditation. Completely taking the metaphysical out of the equation, meditating can bring down blood pressure, ease an irregular heartbeat, and reduce insomnia. Quieting the mind and allowing the body to sink into a state of deep relaxation is good for bringing about a feeling of inner peace, releasing stress, and allowing a greater clarity of mind. Setting an intention before meditating can help to move someone into a greater state of well-being. For example, those who suffer uncontrolled anger can become calmer and better able to deal with their feelings. Those who might be too sensitive can learn to step back and look at their problems in a non-reactive way.
The benefits of meditation are well documented and well researched. It is, without a doubt, one of the best things a person can do for their mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. And, it’s free.
Acknowledging that mediation is amazing and beneficial in so many ways is one thing. Getting up the nerve to start is quite another. People have told me that they feel that they’re doing it wrong, or that they don’t feel as if anything is happening. Some people are worried about falling asleep. Starting anything new can be frightening, but here are some tips that can help you get started today.
- Download an app. Yes, in this day and age of technology, there are apps for everything. If you have a smart phone, search meditation and download a free app. I have one that gives me a daily affirmation and some time to meditate. After five minutes, a little gong goes off. I can choose to make it longer if I want a longer meditation. I do it first thing upon waking up in the morning. No matter what else happens for the rest of the day, I have at least started my day with five minutes of meditation.
- Go to a class. If it is at all possible, find a meditation class in your area. Having someone walk me through my first few meditations was a blessing. My guide’s voice is calm and soothing and she helped put me into the frame of mind I needed for deep relaxation.
- Let your thoughts in. Yes, the purpose of meditation is to clear the mind, but when you are sitting still in a quiet room listening to your own breath, sometimes thoughts come to the surface. If you try to force them down, they’ll stay within you, buried under the surface, causing all sorts of problems later. When thoughts come into your mind during meditation, don’t admonish yourself for being unable to clear your mind. Simply acknowledge them with love, and let them go. I often imagine my thoughts turning into dark gray smoke and blowing away in the wind.
- Find a vision that suits you. A friend gave me a clear quartz crystal with a window in it. When I meditate, I breath in a golden light and I breath out my soul as a kind of wispy smoke, flowing into the window of that crystal. Some people visualize waves coming in and out of water. Some see nothing but blackness. Some just see colors. Some visualize the way their breath might look as it is moving in and out. You will find something that works for you. It just takes some trial and error.
- Don’t worry if you fall asleep. Understand that when you go into a deep meditative state, you are taking your body through the same process as if you were going to sleep. In meditation, however, you are keeping the spiritual energy so that you can access the superconscious without actually falling asleep. This takes a lot of practice and even some long time practitioners of meditation fall asleep within their own meditations. The Chopra Center has this to say about falling asleep while meditating: “You can be reassured that meditation is always healing and that your body takes exactly what it needs from your practice. If you fall asleep, it’s because you were tired and needed to rest. If it happens a lot, you’re probably overtired and need to get more sleep at night. Give your body the rest it needs―it’s a loving gift to yourself! Also keep in mind that meditation itself is wonderfully rejuvenating. Spending thirty minutes meditating is more restful than sleeping for the same amount of time.” In other words, don’t sweat it. Awareness will come with time.
- Don’t expect miracles. (And don’t be upset if you don’t experience them!) But remain open to the possibility. Some meditation sessions, I spend the entire time just focusing on my breathing and trying to stay awake. Some sessions, I get a sensation of floating above my body in kind of a cocoon of smoke.
- Be nice to yourself. Whatever happens during your meditations, don’t chastise yourself. If you fall asleep or if random unwanted thoughts come up, just tell yourself how wonderful you are for meditating at all. Be proud of yourself for taking this amazing step in your transformation. Don’t become bogged down in “should have” thoughts. The way to enlightenment is encouragement. Don’t berate yourself. Just embrace whatever happened in a spirit of love and try again tomorrow.
The main thing to remember throughout all of this is to give yourself time. No one masters anything the first time they do it. It is important to remember that the process of meditating is always beneficial. No two meditation experiences are ever exactly alike. Everyone sets their own intentions, and everyone has a different experience. Meditation will change your life. Just keep at it and let your intuition lead you to where you want to go with it.
I like the following guided meditation to get started. Please keep in mind that though this guide suggests a particular way to sit, you should sit in whatever way feels comfortable to you. A good way to use this meditation would be to just start the video, close your eyes, and listen to the man’s voice.