WOO! My first audio guided meditation, and I’m so excited to share this. I’ve been doing this in private sessions and with groups for quite a while, but this is the first time one of my sessions has been recorded. Many thanks to musician/producer Chris Cornelius.
This is a basic awareness meditation to help you to quiet the mind and get a little more grounded. Try it and see if you don’t feel a bit more at peace when you’re done.
LOVINGKINDNESS MEDITATION OF THE DAY.
Lovingkindness starts with yourself, and these are only a few examples of what can be a much larger, quite powerful practice. You are not asking anyone or anything for these things. You are choosing them. Try these during your next sit to test it out. I will post others soon.
This seems so counterintuitive, but it’s the truth. And this isn’t woo-woo spirituality, either; it’s clinical psychology. Self-love and self-acceptance are the keys to so much in life.
You are noble. Your origins are glorious. Your true nature, your true essence, is utterly radiant. By sitting quietly daily in meditation, you can return to this essence again and again. Because this is the real you, you can trust it. Welcome home.
I love how astrophysics and spirituality mirror one another.
(Space poster by Christopher David Ryan)
If you’re a Spotify user and would like to try some guided meditations, search (in quotes) “guided meditations.” There are a variety of guided meditations available there by several teachers - check them out and see what appeals to you.
Have you meditated today?
There’s no such thing as a bad meditation. Anytime you spend in silence is valuable, even if your inner voice is persistent and loud. Don’t judge it; just observe it. Simply observe yourself sitting there, and when a stray thought suddenly appears, just note it, and use its presence as a reminder to go back to the gap between thoughts. With time, your inner dialogue will shut down. We all know that mastery is seldom achieved without practice. Meditation is no exception. Perhaps that’s why it’s called practice.
~ Wayne Dyer
A Practice for Cultivating Inner Peace.
It is possible, though difficult, to be at peace no matter what is going on in your life. Try this if you’re feeling a lot of inner turmoil:
It’s best to begin by acknowledging the turmoil, but you don’t want to get lost in it either. So settle into a comfortable posture and begin to observe what the turmoil physically feels like (the root of your turmoil might be anger, fear, frustration, etc.). Try to watch your breath for a minute or two, and then with VERY kind, gentle, loving attention, notice exactly where you feel the turmoil in your body. Is it in your head? Your face? Your throat? Your chest? Your gut? Your hands?
Once you’ve identified where the turmoil is most noticeable in your body, continue to investigate it, without judging or analyzing. How big is it? The size of a golf ball? A beach ball? Somewhere in between? Does it have a color, a temperature, a texture, a shape? If you find yourself thinking or getting caught up in the feeling or in stories about it, come back to your breath and just observe the sensations. Remember, you should be observing the feeling rather than thinking about it.
After working on the observation practice for about 5 minutes or so, come back to just focusing on your breath, and then consider this: You can choose peace in this moment; it really is a choice to a great extent. There is an infinite source of peace within you - all you have to do is choose to tap into it.
Shift your awareness to your heart space - the center of your chest. With each of your next several inhales, breathe in the energy of peace. Imagine that you are pulling peace from deep within yourself and breathing it directly into your heart space. Keep breathing in peace, saying silently to yourself, “Breathing in peace,” “Breathing in serenity,” or “Breathing in calm” each time you inhale. Really imagine the energy of peace entering your body and changing you from the inside out. Then on your next several exhales, imagine that you are sending that peace to every cell in your body. You are breathing peace into your heart space, and then sending it out to the rest of your body.
I know this is a difficult practice, but if you get to the point where you are tired of creating extra suffering for yourself, give it a shot. There are variations on this practice, but this is a basic form that can work wonders if you keep trying.
(Photo: ”Peaceful” photographed at Katuma-lake in Hämeenlinna, Finland by Juuso Valkeejärvi)
For those of you who haven’t noticed, I’ve created a page on my Tumblr (click on the link ”Meditation Tips; Affirmations; Guided Meditations”) that has my answers to followers’ questions, ideas for affirmations, texts for guided meditations, and one audio guided meditation. This means less scrolling if you’re looking for help with your own meditation practice. Coming soon: A new audio guided meditation - my first one featuring me!
During meditation, thoughts and feelings will arise for everyone. That’s just the way our minds work. Rather than get lost in them or push them away, try being a witness or observer of them, kind of like you’re watching someone else’s thoughts and feelings. No analysis, no judgement; just watch with a kind and gentle attention and let them be there for a few minutes, fully accepting whatever is there. Then let them go and return to focusing on your breath.
You can go back and forth between watching your breath and observing whatever thoughts and feelings come up. This helps you learn to be an observer of your mind, rather than thinking you ARE your mind. It also helps you recognize that the thoughts, feelings, etc. come and go. They are temporary. They pass. No need to get all bogged down in them all the time.
I know it’s not easy, but give it a try!
It’s OK to just be - exactly who you are.
"To live in this precious animal body on this earth is as great a part of spiritual life as anything else."
~ Jack Kornfield
(Photo: ”Human” by Claire Marie, New Orleans, LA)
This was my response to another Tumblr user’s request for input on how to create the habit of a daily meditation practice. Perhaps you have been thinking about this lately too.
slimmsheadyy asked: I've just recently started meditating, and it came to me really easily, I now crave meditation. But I'm wondering why I'm having intense sessions and experiences ? I'm wondering is there a point where you should force an exhale even if holding my breath is what feels so good? The intensity is amazing though it all feels so beneficial to the meditation nothing uncomfortable about it. I also had a couple of questions about mirror gazing if you'd be so kind to help?
I’m always happy to hear about new meditators discovering an unexpected love for meditation. I encourage you to keep learning and practicing with lovingkindness toward yourself.
While there are lots of different ways to meditate and your experience may vary from sitting to sitting, ultimately the point of it is to quiet your mind, and to recognize thoughts, emotions and physical sensations as passing, temporary things (i.e., nothing to get all caught up in). The point is to just be, right here and right now, not to achieve anything or to create some cosmic, metaphysical experience.
Jack Kornfield (a leading teacher of meditation in the West for decades) has said that a spiritual life is not a process of seeking or gaining some extraordinary condition or special powers. In fact, such seeking can take us away from ourselves. For a spiritual journey to be genuine, we have to stay much closer to home by simply focusing on what’s right here in front of us every moment of every day. We need to keep it real. This means that the attitude you have when you do your meditating is maybe more helpful than anything else; a lightness of heart and a sense of humor will serve you way better than a bunch of seriousness about it.
It’s certainly OK to take a couple of deep inhales periodically during your meditation, just to help you really focus on the breath and to settle your mind a bit. But there’s no reason to be holding your breath - that’s not keeping it real, nor will it help you stay in a place of calm, open-hearted awareness.
I personally don’t think that mirror gazing is particularly useful in meditation, but if you want to use a mirror, all you should really be doing is looking right into your own eyes and saying to yourself, “I love you. You are a wonderful person and a beautiful soul.” It will feel weird and inauthentic at first, but keep at it until you get comfortable saying it. Eventually you will start believing it.
Just one last thought: There are no demons inside of you. All that’s in there is you, with your emotions, the stories you tell yourself, the good things you cling to and the bad things you resist and push away. Let all that crap go and simplify a little: For 15 minutes, do nothing other than breathe easily and normally, and with a kind and gentle heart experience everything there is to experience in each inhale and each exhale. See if you can find a little freedom, peace, and even some joy in just being and breathing and observing.