Meditation is effective in reducing blood pressure, decreasing anxiety, improving pain tolerance, raising mood, and counteracting the harmful effects of stress.
Spiritual is defined here as whatever gives YOU meaning. You will need to think of a short phrase that is meaningful for you – more on that in a moment.
You may not feel any different during this session, but nevertheless, you will experience the physical and psychological benefits of meditation, especially if you engage in meditation regularly over a period of time.
During this meditation session, you will need to remain awake. The meditation process can lead to sleep, and can be used for the purpose of falling asleep, but this time the objective is to experience the relaxation response – which occurs when you are awake. Choose a position that is comfortable, but not one that will lead to sleep. You might wish to sit upright in a firm chair, stand leaning on a wall, kneel on the floor, or sit cross-legged. Find a position that is comfortable, but one that allows you to remain awake.
Find a comfortable position while I continue to talk for a few moments.
This script functions as a teaching or practice session of guided meditation. Once you are familiar with the meditation process, you will be able to meditate on your own, unguided. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The most important thing that you can do is to bring a passive attitude – allowing, not forcing. Experiencing, not controlling. Don’t worry about meditating the “right” way – just let it happen however it happens without worrying about the outcome.
It is normal to have many extraneous thoughts going through your mind throughout the process of meditation – that’s okay! Just acknowledge the thoughts and bring your attention back to the phrase you will be repeating. It doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.
When learning to meditate, you can begin with short sessions – 5 minutes is a good starting point – and work up to longer sessions as you become more comfortable and skilled.
Before we begin, think about your own personal spirituality. Think about what gives you meaning. You will need to select a word or a short phrase (up to about 5 words) that is meaningful and can be repeated within the time it takes to exhale.
For example, if religious faith is significant and meaningful for you, you might wish to repeat part of a prayer. If nature holds deep meaning for you, you might want to repeat a word or phrase relating to nature or the earth. Your meaningful phrase can relate to love, happiness, family, faith….or anything that is important to you.
You need to choose one word or one phrase and mentally repeat this phrase during meditation. For example, “Peace,” or, “God is Love,” or “Hallowed be Thy Name.”
Take a moment now to choose a meaningful word or short phrase. By now you will have found a comfortable position. Small adjustments are okay, but try not to move around too much. The meditation you are about to do will be about 5 minutes.
Keep your meaningful phrase in mind. I’ll tell you when and how to repeat it.
Close your eyes or focus your gaze on one small area. Start by relaxing your muscles. When thoughts come to mind, disregard them, thinking “hmmm” or “oh well” and turn your attention back to your body.
Let your muscles become loose and relaxed, starting with your feet… your ankles….lower legs….knees…. upper legs….pelvis….torso… back….shoulders….arms…. hands….face….and head.
Feel your body….loose and relaxed…..
Turn your attention now to your breathing. Notice each breath, without trying to change your breathing in any way…. Just observe…. As thoughts arise, acknowledge them and let them go, returning your attention to your breathing….
Breathe naturally…. Slowly….
As your thoughts wander, simply return your attention to your breathing.
Notice your breath as it flows gently in and out of your body…. Without any effort….
Acknowledge your thoughts and focus again on your breathing….. Interruptions are normal….just let these thoughts go and return your attention to your breathing….
Now think of the meaningful word or phrase you selected….and say this word or phrase in your mind as you exhale….
Each time you breathe out, say the word or the phrase…
As your thoughts wander, bring your attention again to repeating your meaningful statement with each out breath.
Continue repeating the word or phrase each time you exhale….
Bring your attention back to the word or phrase you are repeating with each gentle breath out…
With passive acceptance, continue to focus on the word or phrase, repeating it each time you breathe out…allowing distracting thoughts to float by….
Now slowly begin to reawaken….and turn your attention to your breathing. Notice your calm, smooth breaths…in and out… Allow your awareness to turn now to your body… calm and relaxed…. Notice how your body feels…. become more aware of your surroundings…
Let your attention turn now to your thoughts… back to normal conscious awareness…. Normal attention to thoughts….
Sit quietly for a moment with your eyes open… enjoying the feeling of relaxation while gradually re-awakening… adjust your position slightly….
Reflect upon the experience of meditation… notice what it was like… notice how you feel now… Free from worries about how well you did…knowing that whatever happened was the correct and natural response.
Wiggle your fingers and toes… roll your shoulders….. stretch if you like…. And when you are ready, continue on with the rest of your day.