This is the second of the Your Spiritual Toolbox series, if you missed the first one, you can read it here: 1: Breathing
Meditation is the next logical and natural step on from focusing on your breathing for many people. This is because meditation and focused breathing go hand in hand with each other.
Meditation practices vary between disciplines and groups, some are very ‘spiritual’ or shamanic with journeying and visual guidance- taking you to a space within or to an external plane, or a mindful practice, peaceful and relaxing zoning out from the modern lifestyles.
I confess I prefer to do more of the journeying type- which is what I do at my weekly meditation evening at the Spirit Tree (Bristol). I have however had some wonderful moments of calm within mindfulness group meditation.
Tips for Meditating
Meditating is a wonderful disconnection from the outside world, so you will have the best experiences if you are in a place that is protected from distractions i.e. away from television, telephone and other noisy devices. You don’t have to be lying down in a darkened room, but some people will find it a lot easier to find that way of switching off in the dark- or in candlelight, etc.
Shutting off the brain!
Most people that I know prefer to meditate using a guided meditation, where someone talks you through the process- be it going on a journey or breathing exercises. I would say that one of the things that people often struggle with is to shut off the brain.
There you are, in the middle of a wonderfully zen moment, just to have your shopping list pop in your head, or a reminder that you need more petrol. It’s okay! these things can and will happen from time to time. One of the biggest tips I can offer is to try to accept those intruding thoughts. Let them flow in and out, often the peace will prevail if you do not fight the thoughts that are coming in.
It also doesn’t matter if you are struggling to follow the guidance. If you have an active imagination or good visual perception, you may get something quite different coming in to your meditation than that which is being guided from the meditation guide.
At the end of the day, the goals of meditating are to clear the mind and spirit of the ‘junk’ of the day/lifetime – whether is a peace, peace of mind, new guidance and perception from psychic interaction or internal receptivity.
You can find a variety good meditation CDs or videos on youtube, the net, itunes, etc. Try finding what type works for you best and go from there.
So there you have it, your second tool is meditation. Ah, wonderful!