Most people’s experience of meditation is pretty negative. If you don´t think so, give me a second to explain.
Have you ever shut your eyes and tried to relax, and been even more tense? Have you tried to stop thinking, and been bombarded with what seems like hundreds of interesting thoughts, only to realize a long couple of minutes later that you were supposed to be concentrating on nothing, and silently scolded yourself?
If you´re a long-time meditator and an experienced master of the one point of focus, what I´m describing to you here may remind you of your first experiments with meditation. Am I right?
LET´S DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Here´s where I´d like to invite you to do something different, whatever your level.
Instead of concentrating on a candle, looking at your nose, counting or visualizing your thoughts as clouds, we´re going to take a different journey together.
These meditations are designed for everyone, and to be so enjoyable that you come back to them. And I hope you will.
But first, let´s talk about your beliefs. Do you believe in God, energy or some other power or creator? If so, great. We can use whatever you believe.
If not, this meditation will be an exercise in open-mindedness. You don´t need to believe in anything to do these meditations, but being open to the idea of a connection with something outside of yourself that you value will help you immensely. The connection you make can also be with a word or concept, like peace, Buddha nature or nature itself.
Ready to get started? Each of the four meditations builds on the last, so let´s start with the first.
So once you´ve singled out what you´d like to work with, set aside ten minutes. Whereas ten minutes of the meditation you were used to before might have felt like a dang long time, you should feel that this time it passes much more quickly and leaves you feeling calm and happy.
Set an alarm so you don´t have to keep looking at your watch or phone, then get into a comfortable position – if that means lying down, perfect, but it is optimal to have your spine vertical for the visualization I will describe right now.
If you are sitting, take a cushion and place it underneath you. Wrap yourself in a blanket if there´s any chance you might get chilly.
Now close your eyes and follow these instructions in your own time.
Start to focus on your spine, feel where it is and where it stops. Then imagine it´s a thin tower of white light. Imagine the tower growing horizontally so it is slightly wider than your body. Now start to take your attention upwards. Reach up into your mind´s eye as far as you can go, expanding the light of your tower as you go.
Once you´ve connected upwards, move downwards. Take the light from where your spine ends down towards the center of our planet. Just travel down in your mind´s eye, with your focus. Leaving the light there, bring your awareness back into your body.
Now it´s time to connect with your concept, energy or creator. No religion required! Just bring your concept into your mind and then say silently to yourself:
“I would like to connect with *peace/the energy of the Holy Trinity/nature now. I ask to be protected while I make this connection.” Then just wait. Notice any sensations in your body. Feel. Are there any sensations occurring in your head? What about your feet or hands? Enjoy this moment of peace and the connection with something you value while you concentrate on feeling.
*Or whatever it is you´ve chosen to connect with!
Once your alarm bell rings, give thanks and pause for a moment. Then bring your tower of light down from above and upwards from below, so it´s now just as tall as your body. Bring it inwards to your spine. Take a deep breath and open your eyes.
Start to move slowly before moving on to your next activity. Make a few notes about your experience and what you felt if that feels right for you.
This meditation builds on the last. Now that you know how to set up your connection through your tower of light and simple phrase, we´re going to use intention to take the process one step further.
The intention can be anything you like, but working with something personal is best, so you can monitor the results. Some examples might be:
·The specific healing of a physical problem
·The healing of a relationship with someone
·Clearing or sweeping away anything that feels stuck in your life
So once you´ve decided on just one of these, set aside fifteen minutes. Set your alarm and get comfortable.
Now close your eyes and go through the same steps in meditation one. Imagine your tower of light and expand it outwards. Take it high and low. Next, say silently to yourself:
“I would like to connect with *peace/the energy of the Holy Trinity/nature now. I ask to be protected while I make this connection.”
“During this meditation, I would like to work on *healing my body/shoulder/relationship with Anna/clearing the energy that is stuck in my working life, and I ask that this be carried out for the good of all.”
Then, once again, just wait. Feel. Notice any sensations in your body. Enjoy the connection with something you value.
Once your time is up, give thanks and bring your tower of light back in. Open your eyes and move slowly after the meditation. Make notes if you like.
To get the most from this type of meditation, focus on healing one specific thing for a week or so and monitor it.
Now that you´ve got the hang of this, would you like to add something more? If not, stick with the above. But if you´d like to experiment with strengthening your visualization power and adding value to your meditations, here´s what we´re going to do.
Once you´ve set up your connection, protection and intention, use a specific color of light to heal what you´ve intended to focus on. Green is the most common color used for healing.
If you´ve focused on a body part or general body healing, simply visualize a small bubble in front of you. With your mind´s eye, fill it with green light in a flash.
Then begin to see the bubble growing to fit the area you´d like to heal. Move the bubble to surround that area. Just let it be there while you bring your focus back to feeling.
Once your time is up, give thanks and close, as usual, shrinking your tower and opening your eyes.
Meditation four is for the believers. Hopefully, once you´ve concentrated on feeling during meditation and actually felt something, we can assume you´re on the path to believing. Maybe not completely believing, but being open to the idea that what you´ve been feeling hasn´t been a figment of your imagination.
Luckily, the benefits you can receive from doing meditation don´t require you to believe. The scientifically proven benefits include:
·Increased immune function
·Decreased inflammation at the cellular level
·Increased positive emotion
·Decreased depression, anxiety and stress
·Increased compassion, social connection and emotional intelligence
·Increased ability to regulate emotion
·Increased gray matter, focus and attention
·Increased memory and ability to think creatively1
So meditation four involves playing a little. This all depends on you, and what you´d like to play with! You can play with asking for help from angels or saints, listening for divine guidance, working with guides – whatever you choose that is appropriate for you, your culture and belief system. You never know what you´ll experience!
So what´s the bottom line with all this? Hopefully, to help you enjoy meditation more. To stop those boring, uncomfortable, difficult meditations from haunting you, and let the grace of what´s important to you enter your quiet space. Meditating for just a short amount of time is all that´s necessary to help you get all the benefits!1 May you meditate and be well!