Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guided Meditation

It's very interesting that in my 10+ years of meditating I've often said that I don't like guided meditations.  I never liked to sit and practice my meditation techniques with someone talking! It was more of a nuisance and hindrance to my practice than it was instructive.   I guess what I never really thought about is the difference between guided meditations and visualizations. When I want to meditate I want to meditate.  To me that means going into stillness and silence.  I don't want to be visualizing colorful pastures, rainbows, crystals, deep blue seas, or fields of flowers.  I want to have a stable steady posture, with my body relaxed so that the mind can follow.  I didn't feel that visualizations did much to help me in meditation (unless they are specifically focused on the spiritual centers in the spine).

Recently however, I've had a few guided meditations and the most recent one was one of the best meditation experiences I've had in quite some time.  What made it great for me is that it was simple.  We focused on the energy centers in the spine and concentrated solely on them.  We went up and down the spine while mentally chanting Om.  We practiced the meditation techniques together. One of the key parts was to practice together. It's easy to want to "go off on your own" and practice techniques at your own time and pace and not with the group. But there is something to be said for practicing in time with the group. I felt more calm and still. There was an ease of practice with being guided in meditation this time.  And I truly believe in the idea of collective consciousness, a group working together toward the same goal is very powerful.  That is why Christ said, " For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." *   I know that for beginners, group meditation is very helpful because meditation can sometimes feel like an extremely difficult and thankless task (even if you're not a beginner).  It's hard to calm the mind and the body may have jitters.   But there is something to this meditation thing if we give it a chance.

*Matthew 18:20

I hope that as you practice this meditation you enjoy it and feel the bliss!

Here is the guided spinal meditation as given by Paramahansa Yogananda (author of "Autobiography of a Yogi"). 

"Concentrate at the point between the eyebrows, and go up the spine mentally chanting 'Aum' at each of the centers: coccyx (root), sacral, lumbar (navel), dorsal (heart), cervical (throat), medulla, Christ center (third eye). Now mentally go down the spine chanting 'Aum' at each of these centers. Go deeper and deeper in concentration, up and down the spine, mentally feeling the centers and mentally chanting 'Aum'. As you do this, you see that your consciousness is no longer locked in the external awareness of the body, but becomes centered in higher spiritual perceptions in the spine. Relax in God. Don't be tied to the consciousness of the body.  Let your mind go deeper and deeper in the thought of God."

--Paramahansa Yogananda "December 24, 1936 all-day Christmas Meditation", Self-Realization Magazine, Winter 2002, p7