Recently a young person wanted me to tell him everything I knew about meditation…as part of a half-hour reading.
Well – clearly, that wasn’t going to happen. I promised to follow up in email, giving him some ideas and pointers about meditation.
Somehow, all that has turned into today’s blog post.
There are many different types and traditions of meditation. Each has its own practices and benefits. It is interesting to note that many ancient cultures have some type of meditative practice.
If you study meditation and find it not to your liking, you may want to try a different tradition, rather than giving up on meditation entirely.
Meditation can be a life-long dedication, simply a few minutes a day of quiet breathing, or anything in between.
Meditation can improve physical health, treat anxiety, enhance psychic ability and curb cravings for addictive substances. Meditation can naturally produce an altered state of mind conducive to creativity, and not unlike the more positive effects of certain psychoactive drugs. Meditation is a necessary component of magickal practices, and creative visualization.
There are many classes, videos and websites dedicated to the study and practice of meditation. Simply do an internet search and find what works for you.
What works for me is very simple – I don’t follow a particular tradition, nor do I practice a specific discipline. For me, it is all about the breath. No matter what discipline you study, the first thing you will learn is proper breathing. Even if you study no further than that, you can build a good personal practice on the simple art of conscious breathing.
My favorite meditative breathing is to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. It is important to breathe slowly and fully.
Another important aspect of meditation for me is visualization. I do a lot of creative meditation, meaning that in meditation I visualize positive things manifesting in my life.
I begin my meditation by using my breath to release all non-helpful energy. Then I breathe in whatever healing, calm energy I need.
In meditation, the more clearly you can hold a vision, the more easily you will manifest it. That can be as simple as manifesting a better state of calm, or as complex as creating a new career.
Another important aspect of my meditative practice is an understanding of the seven chakras. I breathe into the earth with my root chakra, and use that for grounding. I bring my breath up my spine, clearing each chakra along the way.
I use my crown chakra to connect with those in spirit who are my guides and guardians. In this way, I use meditation to seek spiritual wisdom, and to enhance energetic protection.
To a person just coming to meditation, I suggest the following. Practice meditative breathing. Research different types of meditation. Learn about the seven chakras. Remember, too, that some meditation does not require the body to be still. Rhythmic motion such as walking, exercise, drumming, weaving or beading can be very meditative.
I associate a few tarot cards with meditation. One is the High Priestess, who explores the depths of the subconscious mind. Another is the Hermit, who seeks spiritual enlightenment. The Hanged Man is like Zen meditation, achieving enlightenment through an uncomfortable posture. The Four of Swords suggests a time of mental rest and quiet, in order to retreat and recover. The Two of Wands suggests visualizing goals, and the Moon suggests connection with the spirit world.
These cards each describe a different way to approach meditation, or a different meditative tradition. The High Priestess might say that meditation is a way of looking within, and may suggest focusing on sacred texts and symbols. The Hermit may suggest a time in quiet and solitude. The Hanged Man may suggest physical postures as a way to achieve the meditative state of mind. The Four of Swords may suggest using the breath to create sacred space for healing. The Two of Wands suggests creative visualization, while the Moon suggests the invocation of Spirit.
Over the years, many people have told me they can’t meditate. My answer to that is always the same. Of course you can meditate. You just haven’t yet found the type of meditation that works for you.
As with most things, start by keeping it simple. If you can breathe, you can meditate. Simply focus on the breath as the vehicle to transport you to a higher level of consciousness.