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.