By Don McCann, MA, LMT, LMHC, CSETT
I love to meditate and have been doing it since the early 70’s. I have been fortunate to participate in and learn about many types of meditation. In this article I’m going to first cover the basics about meditation and then discuss some of the easier and more popular practices.
I first consciously went into a meditative state when I was on a swimming team in high school and had to keep track of the number of laps I was swimming. I would repeat over and over the number of the lap I was on until I hit the turn at which point I would go to the next number. I found this distracted me from the discomfort of the training, settled me, and I experienced a degree of peace. Four years later I was initiated in Transcendental Meditation (aka TM) and received my first true instruction in how to meditate. I’m going to include this for first time meditators as it made it easier to follow the basics that were taught in TM since it is very easy to fall asleep when meditating:
- Close your eyes and sit with your spine straight.
- Take several deep breaths concentrating on relaxing on the exhale for at least 30 seconds.
These two processes will prepare you for meditation and help you not fall asleep (but it’s okay if you do). These are the first two steps for all the relaxation type of meditations I am going to cover.
A Progressive Relaxation Meditation starts with the first two steps mentioned above. After about 30 seconds after the second step of quieting your body, allow your mind to just observe the thoughts and sensations that are moving through. Then observe any sensation or tension in your feet. Breathe into that sensation or tension and with your exhale observe it leaving your body. This step will be repeated for each area of your body from your feet to the top of your head (i.e. after feet observe any sensation or tension in your ankles, breathe into the sensation or tension and with your exhale observe it leaving; after ankles observe your calves following the same procedure, and so on.) Be sure to include the jaw as it will be one of the tightest places in your body. After covering your entire body then breathe in, locate any tension still remaining and exhale watching the tension leave. This last step is repeated at least three times until there is no significant tension or sensation of tension still recognized in your body. This whole process can take 10-20 minutes depending on how detailed your observations of your body are. This meditation is extremely helpful in times of stress (like now) or just before bedtime. Repeating this meditation daily will allow it to work more efficiently and your body to relax more deeply.
Mantra Meditations . A mantra is a word or sound that is repeated gently in your mind over and over. When repeating the mantra you will find thoughts will still come up. The key is just observe the thoughts and go back to repeating the mantra. The thoughts are often associated with stresses that are releasing from your central nervous system. A mantra meditation usually lasts anywhere from 10-20 minutes and should be followed with approximately two minutes of just observing with your eyes closed any thoughts or sensations within your body. Then open your eyes and return your consciousness to the room. Mantras can be: Sanskrit; a pleasant word, one of the best is “love”; a positive affirmation, i.e. I am loved, I am healthy; your name; or any other pleasant calm word or thought.
Count Down Meditations . Counting down is not only a meditation technique but also a self-hypnosis and Silva Mind Control technique. After the first two steps, one of the simplest count downs is count backwards from 10 gently saying in your mind 10-10-10, then 9-9-9, on down to 0. Upon reaching 0 you can repeat counting down from 10 or just float and observe whatever is coming up being quiet and peaceful with your eyes closed. Count down meditations usually take 10-20 minutes with a two minute observation time at the end. You may count down from 50 or 100 for an extended meditation. Again, repeating the meditation daily or even twice daily brings you into a deeper state of meditation.
Guided Meditations . Guided meditations as the word applies are guided. They can either be self-guided where you let your imagination or memories create the images of the meditation, or they can be guided from an external source where you receive directions from a person or recording. A good place to start a guided meditation is allowing your mind to go to a place that is one of your favorite places in the world (i.e. a mountain top, the beach, a garden, etc). Once you are in one of your favorite places use your mind to fill in and picture all the wonderful things about it. Spend 10-20 minutes in your favorite space observing all of its wonders and how good it makes you feel. Afterwards spend two minutes just observing your mind and body from inside and then open your eyes. If someone or a tape is guiding you do steps 1 and 2 and then just follow along with the suggestions from the guiding source. This takes trust in the guiding source but is oftentimes easier than creating a self-guided meditation, especially if your mind is very active. End the meditation with two minutes of quiet observation with your eyes closed.
The Light Meditation . The Light Meditation can be either self-guided or you can use a guiding source such as my Light Meditation which can be downloaded for free at www.cranialstructuralenergetics.com. Follow the first two steps for meditating, and then imagine a Light source above your head with the Light shining down through the top of your head into the area of your heart. Have this Light flow like a waterfall where the area of your heart will get brighter and expand, and continue filling with Light. Hold this image of the space around your heart intensifying, expanding and filling with Light and just observe as it continues to intensify, expand and fill. You do not need to be afraid of the fact that your heart seems to expand not only through your entire body but out into the surrounding space until it is difficult to identify the confines of your body. You will always come back at the end of the meditation. Spend at least 10 minutes expanding and filling your heart space with Light from a source above before spending two minutes just observing your peace and quiet, then open your eyes. The expanded heart space full of energy and Light is the basis of scalar physics. The heart is the strongest healing energy that we have. It is said that it is 10,000 times more powerful than the healing energy of the mind. I don’t know who counted, but it is extremely powerful. Filling ourselves full of Light drives out the negative and expands the positive which makes us immune to many negative experiences and diseases. An expanded heart space full of Light and energy is also a place where we can seek healing for others. If they are also meditating with the Light Meditation there is a magnification of the healing power and what is possible. The Light Meditation is the basis for distance healing and the more you use it the more it will not only help heal people you want to heal but also help you, the meditator, heal and strengthen yourself.
I cannot stress how important it is to meditate in this stressful time of COVID-19 pandemic. Meditation will release and minimize your stress, balance your emotions, strengthen your immune system, bring peace and quiet to your mind, dissolve your sense of isolation, and connect you to the positive forces of the universe.
Watch your emails for future articles. Be safe, be happy, be healthy.