A How To Handbook
As a student of metaphysics and magik, I have been fortunate to teach, as well as learn from others about the many methods and modalities of Meditation.
The following is a Student Guide I hand out in my own Meditation Classes. Included in this guide is a short introduction to meditation methods and the benefits of a meditation routine. As well as, a step-by-step instruction manual for anyone to follow and to learn meditation on their own.
What is Meditation?
Prayer allows you to talk to the Divine and petition for assistance or honor the Divine force in your life. Meditation allows you to become one with the Divine and discover the divine within your own inner being.
Meditation has been practiced around the world in every known religion, from Paganism, Buddhism to Christianity and beyond. Many people have meditated for spiritual communication, personal fulfillment, as a form of worship or spiritual practice, and even just to relax and relieve the stress of life.
During this century western societies have begun to recognize the benefits of meditation outside the spiritual aspects often associated with Meditation practices. The breathing and visualizations employed by traditional medicine help patients fight cancer, physical illnesses, relieve stress and additional physical benefits. Basically meditation is an altered state of consciousness achieved through controlled breathing and visualization.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines meditation as a deep continued thought and solemn reflection on sacred matters as a devotional act. Both definitions are accurate, but meditation is so much more.
Meditation helps the physical conscious mind connect with the higher or divine consciousness we all have inside ourselves. Through practice and dedication, this bridging between our physical and divine selves, opens the doors to a new spiritual knowledge that has always existed, but that we may not have been able to tap into.
As you practice your mediation technique, you should begin noticing a few side effects. You should become a little calmer and more relaxed during your regular daily activities. You become better able to handle unexpected events or can think more clearly when dealing with a problem or trying to find a solution. Some of the stress and tension you experience should begin to subside each time you perform your chosen meditation technique. All in all, less stress and tension will lead to a healthier and happier you.
On a spiritual side, you may begin to notice an increased interest in your chosen religious path. A degree of self-discovery may also begin to happen. People who meditate on a regular basis report feeling the `need’ to improve their attitudes or outlook on life. They feel as though there’s more to life than this physical existence and they want to know and understand what that is. I believe this is a result of successfully bridging the conscious and sub-conscious spiritual minds together.
The How To’s Of Meditation
There are numerous forms of meditation. Yoga, Ti-Chi, Mantras, Gazing and Freeform are the most common types practiced in the western world (see definitions below). No one way is better than another. What works for one person may not work for another. So it’s best for a person to choose the type of meditation that feels the most comfortable for them. Then practice, practice, practice.
- Yoga and Ti-Chi
These methods use physical movements or positions to focus the mind and body away from everyday happenings.
This vocal method uses a personal sound, like a hum or phrase, to focus and clear the mind.
Using an object, such as a crystal ball or candle, to help focus and find the meditative state.
This method is generally the most common type of meditation practiced in the U.S. today. Freeform is just that, it does not rely on sound, movement or visual stimuli to focus the mind and body. Rather it uses your own ability to concentrate on nothing. Soft relaxing music can accompany this form of meditation.
The best way to learn Yoga or Ti-Chi is to find an experienced teacher or master in your area. These methods require several physical movements that lead the mind down a relaxing path into a relaxed state of awareness. There are also many video tapes on the market for self / home study as well.
The Gazing method is much like the Freeform method, the only difference being one you do with your eyes closed, the other you stare at an object. Read the following instructions for the Freeform method and alter the procedure as needed for the Gazing method.
How to Meditate with the Freeform Method
Science has proven that thought is energy, thus what you think creates energy patterns. The visualizations employed in the Freeform method help your conscious mind create some of those energy patterns to physically relax and push out stress from your body. These visualizations are highlighted in the following steps, to help you gain the most benefit from your meditation practice. However, once you learn the basics, you should think about changing the visualization patterns to best suite your own needs and interests.
Many people like to use music as a background to lightly drown out the daily noises that might be around your home or space. You should chose something from the New Age or classical genre. You want instrumentals only, as vocal music might interfere with your concentration. If you find a piece of music you really like for meditation, stick with it.
If you use the same piece each time you meditate, you will pre-program your mind to step into a state of relaxation. Each time you practice, your mind will move into this state with less effort and more quickly, allowing you more time for greater meditative work.
Classical and some soft Jazz can be used, but the best form of music is New Age, much like that performed by Robert Slap, Yanni or Ed Van Fleet. Your meditation music should be totally orchestral (no vocals) and should act as a sound barrier between you and the outside noises of the world. Many music stores are now carrying New Age music so these should be easy to find. My personal favorite piece is called Ascension to All That Is by Robert Slap. It’s an hour long piece, which is perfect for relaxing, getting focused and having time to get into and stay in a deep meditation. You can find it on Amazon.com.
How to Start
- Choose a piece of music that you find relaxing to play in the background.
- Find a quiet place to sit and relax where you won’t be disturbed for 20 to 30 minutes. Meditations have no time limit, but to really appreciate the event a minimum of 30 minutes is really all that’s needed.
- Sit comfortably, on the floor, in a chair ~ you shouldn’t lay down; doing so might cause you to fall asleep instead of meditate. In stead find a comfortable upright position and keep your back straight. Your arms should be placed comfortably in your lap, or at your sides if your lying down. What ever is most comfortable for you. But remember, your going to be in this one position for at least 30 minutes.
- Begin your meditation with a deep cleansing breath and close your eyes as you exhale.
- With your eyes closed focus on your breathing. Slowly, take in 5 long, deep breaths through your nose filling your lungs to their fullest capacity. Then just as slowly, exhale though your mouth, allowing your lungs to collapse as much as is comfortable for you.
Visualize: As you exhale, imagine the events of the day or week being carried out through your mouth on a gray smoky cloud. Put these worries aside and begin to relax your entire body and mind.
- Return to normal breathing and begin to relax each portion of your body, especially your muscles. Feel the tension in your muscles begin to subside.
Visualize: With each inhale, imagine a Divine white light collecting inside your body around the solar plexus. (The Solar Plexus is a network of nerves in the abdominal cavity behind the stomach and just below the position where your rib cage meets.) With each breath you take in, this light grows stronger, more vibrant and soon begins to increase in size. Within a minute or two, the light grows so large that it encompasses the entire mid-section of your body.
- Now, begin by pushing the lower portion of the light down toward your toes slowly. Imagine the white light pushing all the stress and tension out of your muscles one at a time. Imagine this stressful energy like a gray smoke being pushed down your lower extremities until it’s pushed out your toes. Now the lower half of you body is fully surrounded inside and out by this Divine white light. (This visualization should take approximately 1-2 minutes).
- Use the same technique to push the light from the solar plexus up your back, neck and head, pushing the `gray’ stress out the top of your head.
- This step takes a little practice, don’t worry if you can’t do this for any extended period of time, but at least give it a try. (It gets easier with practice, but even daily practitioners don’t do this step during their entire meditation). Keep your eyes closed, but look up at the pituitary gland . This is a small gland located in the middle of your forehead, just above the brow. Try to keep your eyes focused on this point. The muscles around your eyes may become sore as you stretch them upward, so don’t over do this at first. As you practice, this step will become easier and easier to do. For centuries, the pituitary gland has been considered by many to be the location of the third eye. This step then is a symbolic gesture to bridge the physical eyes with that of the Divine eye.
Visualize: Imagine the bridge between your physical mind and your spiritual mind laid out before. See your spirit effortlessly walking across that bridge. With each step, the bridge becomes stronger and the effort becomes easier and you feel more assured.
- Once you have crossed the bridge, see yourself standing in the Divine Universe. You are part of this Universe, it surrounds you, penetrates you and fills your being with peace, love and security. See yourself sit down in this place that you have created and imagine yourself totally relaxing and becoming one with your higher divine mind and the Divine Universal consciousness.
- Now the hard part, clear your mind of the nitty gritty. Don’t think about the work on your desk, don’t make your grocery list, just think about being at peace. You are training your mind to shut down for several minutes and to do nothing. This is a state of mind foreign to most people But with practice you’ll be able to do it. This step is the key to effective mediation. First timers may want to concentrate on their breathing instead. Keep it slow and relaxed.
- When you are ready to end your meditation, take a deep breath and prepare to return to the waking world.
Visualize: See yourself standing before your spiritual bridge As you move across the bridge you become more and more aware of your surroundings and your body.
- Imagine your soul walking through the door to your room, and seeing your physical body right where you left it. As your soul steps back inside your spiritual body, all the visions sensations and answers you received merge with your physical brain and are automatically stored into your conscious mind.
- Take in a deep breath, begin to feel your body, become more and more aware of your surroundings, have a nice long and hard stretch, then open your eyes.
- Before you rise, consider recording your meditation and experience in a meditation journal.
Quieting the Mind? How do you do that?
Many people believe they have to see nothing, just blackness. This in fact is keeping your mind busy and active trying to force yourself to see darkness. So there is a difference between thinking of nothing and quieting the mind. It’s not as simple as it sounds, but it can be done. Calming the mind is left up to you, not to some outside force or mantra. So how do you do it?
The easiest way is through a visualized process. Each time your brain makes a list of things for you to do, shut it down by imagining yourself walking down a road away from your cares and troubles or through a field or along an empty beach. One favorite visualization is to see a large ocean wave fall over the list and was it away.
Sometimes it’s hard for people to tell which images are from their conscious mind and which are from their higher self. If you begin to see strange images, like potted plants or a hand coming from no where to give you a dozen roses, let it happen. As long as the image is non-threatening and peaceful, don’t force it away. Practically all people who meditate say they see images, like daydreams, drifting in and out of their mind.
This is normal. In fact, some psychologist believe these images can tell you a lot about yourself. They can help you resolve issues or problems you might be dealing with. Other people believe these images come from their God, Angels or deceased relatives. Their interpretation is strictly up to the individual and what their belief structure is. My favorite explanation of these images is actually a combination of these two. I think this is the way our higher conscious mind communicates with us. Through this symbology we may gain valuable insights or messages from not only your higher self, but perhaps from our spiritual teachers as well.
So quieting the mind doesn’t mean turning the lights out, basically that’s impossible.
Additional Meditation Techniques
A meditative journey is much like a visualization, but with an specific purpose. You can visualize a specific set of images to get in touch with your higher consciousness, to travel to an island and meet your `animal guide’, or to examine files in your Akashic records. The possibilities are endless and are bound only by the confines of your imagination.
If you have a hard time with visualization, try finding audio tapes that lead you through a visualized meditation. There are several on the market at this time, some are even geared toward specific visualizations to fight illnesses. These are excellent methods to help the beginner learn how to reach that relaxed state. Two of my favorite audio tapes come from Shakti Gawain and Shirley Maclaine.
Or if you have a specific meditative journey you’d like to take, record your own visualized tape. Just choose you’re favorite music, write out what you want to see and record the two together. This can be a powerful tool for journeying, and can help the process along. Instead of imagining on the fly so to speak, your recording would guide you through a deliberate path to helping you reach your goal.
Within many religions there is a certain amount of ritual. Christians light white candles before each service begins, Native Americans burn sage and other incense to cleanse the environment for spiritual growth, Buddhists bang a small gong before beginning their prayers. Humans are sensory creatures, we rely on sights, smells and sounds to help us retain memories and understanding. So any combination of ritual can be performed before each meditation to heighten the experience.
In addition, do the same ritual can almost be like a pre-program that begins to prepare the conscious mind for relaxation. This pre-programming can help the meditator get into a relaxed state much quicker, leaving more time for the meditation itself.
You might like to try our examples on Meditation Prayers and Exercises to help you add to your rituals, and preparations.
Keeping A Record
Keep a record or diary of your meditation sessions. Write down the time, place and weather if you want. Keep track of the images that float into your mind. Record the differences in sensations you feel when visualizing the white light, or the relaxation of the muscles. Make notes on how your attitudes or viewpoints change. How you handle situations with people or at work. All this information is important for you to see how far you’ve grown over what will be a very short period of time. You’ll be amazed at yourself in just 6 months. But you may not notice, if you don’t write it down.
How Often Should You Meditate?
Well that’s entirely up to you. Some people meditate twice a day, once in the morning, once in the evening. Some people meditate once a day or once a week. Once a week can still be beneficial for relieving stress and anxiety, but if you can’t fit once a day into your schedule, at a minimum, you should try to meditate 3 times a week.
Other Meditation Guides
In addition to a standard relaxing meditation, you can also conduct working or focused meditations for specific issues or goals. Such as dealing with Grief through a Letting Go meditation. These types of focused Meditations are called Visualized Meditations, or Guided Meditations (which are usually directed by an individual or a recording).
Visit my Meditation Guides menu page for additional guides to help you achieve your goals and relax your mind.
A Little Warning
These articles were originally published on my AOL Metaphysical website in 1996. I have moved them to my first Spiritual Education Site, PagansPath.com, to my Spiritual Center’s website (now retired) SpringsHaven.com, and finally here to Springwolf Reflections.
Since their original publication many others have stolen these works, re-published them on their own site and claimed the articles and processes as their own work.
I have NEVER authorized anyone to republish these articles anywhere. Anyone who has stolen and plagiarized these articles from any of my official websites/blogs is violating federal copyright laws and is subject to prosecution. I have been forced to exercised this legal process on various occasions and I will continue to do so as unethical people continue to steal this material. I offer this information for free, with copyright conditions.
© 2012-2019 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.