Guided imagery, guided meditation, creative visualization. All terms for a similar meditative practice. A really very enjoyable meditative practice. Just not one that I have a lot of time to do.
So, this week, I will be doing this at least once. Twice if I am lucky.
Creative visualization was my introduction to meditation. My high school psych teacher, Mr. F. was pretty progressive in our conservative Florida community. About twice a year, he would hold a meditation session for one class period. I kept taking his classes because of those. Meditation should be required for all high school students. I was able to focus better in class for the rest of that day. I felt more energized. I started doing it on my own. I guess Mr. F. was a bit of a meditation pusher. He gave us a sample and we went looking for more.
Guided meditation is sort of a story that unfolds in your head. Sort of. You will usually be given some sort of journey: through a forest, along a beach, in a desert, on a mountain, or on a prairie. Your guide will give you some general instructions, but it is up to you as to what or how you interpret those instructions. No two people will see the same forest path or the same mountain summit. If you are asked to swim in a river, you may suddenly become a fish or a frog. Don’t fight these. Your subconscious needs to play too. I say it is sort of like a story because what will usually happen in your head during these sessions can not usually happen in real life. In our reality, people do not suddenly morph into plants or animals. The landscapes (at least mine) are not found anywhere on Earth. They usually have some basis in my reality: the mountains in my meditation seem to resemble the mountains I know in my area.
There are a few ways to do a guided meditation:
Listen to a recording. You can purchase one on iTunes or Amazon, or find one on YouTube.
Have a person physically present to guide you. This works best if that person knows to read (a script is helpful) slowly. The reality in a meditative state moves differently. Sometimes more slowly, sometimes more quickly.
Guide yourself. This one is harder. It can be done with some practice using the above techniques.
As with any other meditative practice, breathing is key. I just can’t stress breathing enough.
There are too many available meditations for me to be able to actually recommend one. My absolute favorite ones are not available for purchase anywhere. I’ve looked. They were done by the above mentioned psych teacher. Ah well. I’ve had pretty good luck with a few other cd’s and digital recordings. The one thing I do recommend before purchasing one is to see if you can get a sample of the guide’s voice. Seriously. If you can’t stand the sound of the voice, don’t get it.
Movement meditation includes activities such as yoga (Hatha, in this case) and tai chi. Both of which I will be doing this week. I already know I enjoy yoga, but would like to get into the habit of doing it more often. For Tai Chi, I will be using YouTube videos. The only experience I have with Tai Chi is Les Mills BodyFlow. I am looking forward to the experience.
Movement meditation requires concentration on placing your body into certain positions. Which keeps your mind in the Here and Now – the very basis behind successful meditation. The more complicated the pose, the deeper the concentration. At least in regards to yoga.
You can also do simple movements: going for a walk, running, exercising. I am not sure about other people, but I find it harder to keep my mind in a meditative state while doing these activities. I have done it. Jogging and swimming are the easier ones for me. I have done it while walking, but it really took a great deal of mental work to keep my mind from wandering.
I expect the (Hatha) yoga to be a great deal of fun for the family. Kids love to imitate the positions. They think they are funny, so do them alongside the adults. Makes the exercise easier as I do not have to chase them around.
I am a little late getting this one up. I had a hard time deciding which direction to go from here. I decided on visual meditation.
Visual meditation is basically putting all of your concentration on an object. It could be a candle flame, maṇḍala, reflection of a candle flame (scrying mirror or water). Right now, I am working on coloring a maṇḍala.
The idea behind drawing or coloring mandalas is that you concentrate on the image and forget the outside world. Which is exactly what meditation is.
Tonight I gave it a try. And loved it. I was still able to keep track of my kids but lose myself in the coloring. For this project, I choose the picture that felt right to me. I then decided to pick colors at random. So far, I like how this is turning out.
I will also be working with a candle flame sometime this week. That one is a little more dangerous with little ones around.
Not sure what it is, but I have not been able to get past the outside influences. Which is something that I learned to do when I first started meditating. So, I need to figure out why my mind is so noisy and get it to freaking calm down.
Three kids wouldn’t have anything to with it, I’m sure…
My goal for this first week is to brush up on my techniques and to start a healthy meditation regime. My goal will be 5 – 10 minutes everyday. It is recommended to try for the same timeframe everyday. I may have to wake up 15 minutes earlier. Which actually kind of seems like torture.
I am also going to take the advice I found from WitchSchool’s class, Basic Meditation, and start a journal. I liked the idea of keeping track of how each meditation worked for me (or didn’t) and figure out how to improve my skills.