Let’s face it, we live in an extremely fast paced society. We don’t do tasks anymore…we “multi task”. We don’t “give it everything we’ve got”, we give “110%”, and want things “5 minutes ago” or “yesterday”. And as a result, most of us are very stressed out, tired and have about 10 thoughts in our head at once, at any given time. And time is now considered a luxury. It isn’t. Having time for yourself is a necessity for your health, and general peace of mind, not to mention to perform acts of magick.
Meditation allows us to quiet our minds, relax, focus, and concentrate on one single thought…or nothing at all. This is the key to successful spell or ritual work. You can’t do any spell if you are not completely, totally, fully concentrating on one single thing…the intent of your spell. And therein lies the problem. People think meditation is just boring, and the ones saying it never even gave it a chance. If you think meditation is boring, it will be. You’ve just told yourself it will be so what do you expect? But it isn’t boring if you’ve actually given it a chance, and changed your mantra from “meditation is boring” to “I can’t wait to meditate”. It’s a simple rhyme to repeat, and if you dare take the chance to venture into the fascinating world of meditation, eventually, you’ll actually mean it.
But as long as meditation is looked at as some chore, boring, or sounding negative in any way, that’s what it will be. There’s the old cliché that meditation is just sitting around staring at a candle. It’s true. It’s one very effective way to start learning to meditate. But think about fire, when ever someone starts some kind of fire, one person will inevitably say how much they love watching fire, and everyone instantly agrees. While the flame from a candle isn’t the same, it can be just as exciting to gaze at. It’s peaceful, pure, bright, and even has a visible aura around it. It’s beautiful. A stunning, small flame made from an element of destruction. Ironic that it is used to bring about a peaceful or romantic atmosphere. Who doesn’t love to walk into a room filled with only the glow of a candles light. Are you starting to think of candle flames as things of beauty and mystery? They are, and you can gaze into their comforting glow as long as you want! Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? No, it’s extremely relaxing, and beautiful to look at. Now we are thinking about meditation the way we should be.
The benefits of meditation that many experience are feeling of peace, improved concentration, and a feeling of being more in touch with one’s self. From a magickal stand point meditation is a necessity. After all, how effective is a spell or ritual going to be if while performing it, your mind is balancing your budget, or making a grocery list at the same time? You could end up with a love spell where the only love you see is the name of the diapers you’re using. *wink* However, it is also important to breath properly while meditating. Breathe in deeply, allowing your stomach to expand and retract. Don’t worry about your lung’s, they’ll fill up without your help. So take in a deep breath, hold it for the count of 3 to 5, and exhale the same amount of seconds that feel right to you. After doing this breathing exercise just 3 times, should make you feel more relaxed, so you can imagine how good it would make you feel if you kept doing it as much as possible.
Have you found yourself frustrated waiting in long lines? You get upset if the cashier is too slow, or the customer dumps a big pile of change on the counter, and starts counting so slow it seems like they’re counting backwards. Often people in the line exchange expressions of frustration with each other. Not people who meditate. It doesn’t bother them in the least. They know that making face’s, or getting their underwear in a twist over it is a futile, negative, waste of energy. Besides, it’s not going to get you to the front of the line any faster. What do they do? They slow their breathing, and fall into a gentle meditative state by thinking of a wonderful place, or other pleasing thought, and the time slips by so fast you might have to be reminded your next! It’s happened to me a few times. Meditation taken further can also put you in touch with various spirit guides, totems, and other helpful entities. But it does take time, and experience to get to that truly wondrous level.
Tips for Successful Meditation
The biggest obstacle I hear from every person who tries to meditate is that they simply can’t sit there for a 1/2 an hour. That’s okay, it’s normal at first. Remember this is totally new, and it takes a lot of practice to break through the wall. The wall is the first and final real obstacle to meditation. If you can’t meditate for long without getting frustrated, start meditating for short periods of time when you’re just starting out. Depending on how scattered and stressed out you are, even trying for 2 or 3 minutes, preferably twice a day, for a while is a good idea. Slowly add more time to your meditation. Go from 2 minutes twice a day for a week, to 3 or 4 minutes, and so on, until you’re able to breakthrough and meditate for at least half an hour once, preferably twice a day.
Our higher self, or sub conscious mind can become a stranger to us if we cannot reach a state in which we can communicate, understand, and listen to it. It’s the biggest part of our brain, yet we use it the least. It’s vital to get in there and exercise it, along with the rest of your body. But, unfortunately, our conscious mind wants to be in control all the time, the one to call all the shots. It doesn’t want you to use your subconscious mind, and neither do people who are very stressed out or impatient. That’s why those who don’t meditate only use the unconscious mind when they’re sleeping, where the conscious mind simply has no choice. But there are times when people have a chance to know what a light meditative state feels like. Times like when you’re driving a very long distance down a very barren highway with no music on, or doing tasks that are monotonous. You know, how you look at the signs and discover you’re at your exit, but can’t remember how you got there from a certain distance? These types of actions can cause you to drop into an alpha state, which is the first stage of meditation.
Your conscious mind will battle to stay in control when you’re trying to meditate, which is why it frustrates so many people. But you simply MUST keep practicing. A good way to prepare for meditation is to do another highly beneficial thing, yoga. While starting to take deep breathes, do about 10 minutes of simple, relaxing poses, or stretches, or lie down and start at the head to toe, and tense and relax all your muscles. Tense your face, neck, shoulders, arms, stomach, all the way to your toes. While it’s recommended that you meditate in silence, I find that instrumental new age music, like flutes, drums, or harps can be helpful to get a person to relax. Try meditating in the bath (my personal favorite complete with candles, bubble bath, and incense), or on a comfy mat or chair.
The whole point of meditation is to relax and concentrate, so you can’t be disturbed while you’re trying to meditate. Turn off the phone, find a place where you will not be disturbed by people, your cell phone, computer sounds, TV, and such. Turn them all off. I generally don’t recommend meditating lying down for beginners, as you can easily end up asleep. It’s VERY important not to pressure yourself into trying to get certain results of any kind. No 2 people have the exact same experience during meditation, and it is not something that comes easily to everyone. You must be very patient with yourself, and not set ANY big goals whatsoever. Don’t start off with pre conceived notions of what you are supposed to feel, or experience during your meditation. What happens…happens. The important thing is to keep doing it on a regular basis. Keeping a record of how you feel, and anything you experience in also very beneficial, as it’s a great way to remember and track your progress, or any important messages you receive during it.
I also highly, and I do mean HIGHLY, plead with you to please keep a dream journal next to your bed…and use it. Many people say they can’t remember their dreams. Having a special note book for the specific purpose of writing down dreams, or a voice recorder, sends a signal to your brain that you want to know what your dreams are, and though it may take a while before you do, it will happen sooner or later. Dreams have deep meaning. While you’re writing down your dream, it may seem like nonsense. If that’s the case, wait for a week to a month later, then go back and read the dreams. Remember what life was like when you had those dreams and how you felt emotionally. The message your subconscious sent you in your dream will probably make sense by then. The first time I read some dreams from my journal from a year ago, I was floored at how clear the messages my unconscious was telling me. It was almost scary!
Now your conscious mind will sense that it’s loosing it’s hold over you, and barrage you with all sorts of thoughts, worries and concerns. Take a moment to acknowledge each thought, then say to yourself, thanks for the reminder and continue. For some people, writing down what’s running through their head helps more. Just do what works for you. As the thoughts keep coming, be diligent in giving them recognition, to satisfy your conscious mind, and let them float away as you gently drift into an alpha state. Which just means, you’ve attained relaxation, and you’re on your way to getting better! For the highly stressed and restless individual, try to stick to 3 to 5 minutes once or twice a day for a week. Then slowly add a minute or 2. Try to do it at the same time each day to program your sub conscious mind to expect to be released at that time. Ideally you should do it in the morning and/or before bed. If you’re still having problems, just cut down on the time. Even 2 minutes is better than nothing. Don’t give up. Keep reminding yourself of all the adventures you’ll have, and the better you get, the better the experience! Meditation is a wonderful thing. Don’t forget your new mantra, “I can’t wait to meditate.”
The goal you should go for is to eventually be able to meditate for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. If your schedule simply doesn’t give you the opportunity to meditate 1/2 an hour twice a day, it is more beneficial to decrease the time as opposed to infrequent meditating for longer periods. The idea is to make meditation a regular part of your life style…along with visualization exercises. But remember, even 2 minutes of both meditation and visualization is a good start for some people…the ones that probably need it the most. And never, ever, EVER give up! It may be hard to believe now, but once you’ve broken through ‘the wall’, you’ll actually look forward to meditation and visualization exercises
I feel it’s worth mentioning again that how your meditation goes depends entirely on your outlook. Think it’s boring, it will be. Think it’ll be fun and relaxing and it will be. Please, please, please keep a dream journal. Just as you’re going to sleep, repeat in your mind “I will remember my dreams in detail.” And finally, don’t forget your meditation mantra, “I can’t wait to meditate.”
Methods and Techniques of Meditation
One popular form of meditation is done by sitting in a comfortable up right position either in a chair or on the floor, and focusing on an object, such as the flame of a candle. As I mentioned earlier, you will no doubt have all sorts of thoughts flying around in your head. The idea is to be aware of this and simply let them pass. Let go of them as you focus only on the candle flame. As you do this, you take deep, slow breaths. Your thoughts become fewer as you move deeper and deeper into a state of relaxation, breathing deeply and focusing only on the flame.
Another way is through the use of guided meditation tapes. This method can also provide the beginner an added bonus as they incorporate visualization with meditation. In my experience in introducing friends to meditation, most found they started off with better results from CD’s. The general response to my question as to why was that they found that they could meditate for a longer period of time.
There are a great many methods of meditation. This is a simple, effective one to get you started. I suggest you have someone with a pleasing voice, read it to you, or tape yourself saying the meditation. For people who are very stressed out, or get bored very easily, guided meditation CD’s are probably the best way to go.
Tree in Winter Guided Meditation by L. Pontarelli
This lovely meditation was sent to me by a wonderful woman. I have included it here in the hopes that you will enjoy the same benefits from it that I have.
You are about to perform the Tree In Winter Meditation. It is a guided meditation which involves a deep level of relaxation. It is structured to gently guide your awareness through the process of relaxation, invoke a higher state of consciousness, and allow you to release all that no longer serves you and that which is in your highest good to move beyond. This meditation works best when lying down, but can be used in any position that is comfortable for you. If possible, tape yourself saying the meditation, or have a friend read it out loud.
I want you to close your eyes, and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale for a silent count of four, hold your breath for as long as you comfortably can, and exhale slowly and completely.
Inhale slowly through the nose, holding your breath, and then exhale completely through slightly parted lips. Breathe in, taking in new and fresh ideas, and holding them in the heart area. And now breathe out, releasing all stress and anxiety.
And continue this deep breathing, so that your body begins to release and relax. And in the future prior to each meditation session, do three minutes of this meditative breathing before you begin the session.
Now, slow down your mind, and clear away all outside thoughts. If any distractions should appear, gently brush them aside.
And I want you to imagine standing in a large, fertile field. The field has been warmed by the golden rays of the sun. And this warmth begins to seep into the soles of both of your feet at the same time. Warming and relaxing your feet. And this relaxing power begins to slowly work its way into your ankles, relaxing the ankles. Feel it moving up the calves, relaxing and warming you as it travels to the knees and up the thighs.
And this relaxing power flows into your hips, and gently soothes and relaxes the hips. And now you begin to feel the warmth in the tips of your fingers, relaxing the fingers and hands, and moving into the wrists, gently soothing and relaxing. And it moves up your arms relaxing the forearms, elbows, and upper arms. Now feel the warmth in the base of your spine. And the relaxing power works its way up your spine, up your spine. And your arms, and legs, and spine feel warm and relaxed. And this relaxing feeling moves on up the spine to the neck and shoulder muscles, relaxing the neck and shoulder muscles. Begin to feel the relaxing power move up your neck into your scalp, relaxing your scalp and draining down into your facial muscles, relaxing your facial muscles, and your jaw is relaxed. Allow a little space between your teeth, and your throat is relaxed.
Now, I want you to imagine a point of light above that originates at the center of the universe. And from this point, I want you to imagine a ray of bright golden light that shines down upon you. Make it real with the power of your imagination. And this bright golden light enters your heart area, and you are filled to overflowing with the love and gentle energy of this bright golden light. And you feel strong, and healthy, and safe. And as this light moves up your spine, you feel it begin to spout from the crown chakra at the top of your head. And as it spouts, it becomes a protective rainbow of light that surrounds and protects you.
And you can see each color of the rainbow as it surrounds you. First, you see the red, then the orange, and yellow, and green, then the blue, and then violet and then you see indigo. And as these colors stream down around you, they begin to shimmer from the strands of gold interlaced within each color. And this protective rainbow can extend out as far as you wish. And I want you to imagine this rainbow becoming larger and stronger.
And from each foot, imagine roots growing out, branching and continuing to grow until they reach Mother Earth. Plant the roots firmly into Mother Earth and allow the roots to grow and branch out. And as the roots go deeper and deeper, they begin to tap into the transformative energy of the Earth and you become fully and firmly grounded.
Now, I want you to begin to absorb the nutrients and the life-giving water and transformative earth energy back up the roots into the navel where it builds. When this becomes completely full, let this energy find its way up the spine – healing and transforming to perfection all that it touches. As it reaches the shoulders, it branches off in 3 directions- out each arm and out the top of the head. Healing, transforming, and continuing to grow.
And as it branches off and continues to grow, leaves begin forming. When you have extended as far out as you desire, leaves sprout and shoot off from the branches. Notice how green and full of life the leaves have become. And each leaf represents a cherished memory that wishes to be released. Notice the leaves closest to you. And as you focus your attention on each individual leaf, an image that symbolizes the memory of each event or person or thing that you desire to release will become apparent. You will view these scenes as an observer, and you will have a detached perspective. You will see these images of what once was in your life which you no longer wish to remain as a part of your life as you live it fully in the present.
And as you watch the scenes unfolding before you, when the message of their memory is completed, the leaf will turn its autumn color and gently drop off and float to the ground to be transformed by the Earth. You will say good-bye to that memory and focus on the next one, and the ones after that, each in its own turn.
(Pause for the above to transpire)
And now that all the memories that you no longer need in your life have fallen to the ground, a gentle and light snowfall begins. The flakes are dainty and beautiful and they build up and create a beautiful blanket of soft snow which completely covers the fallen leaves so that they can no longer be seen. And the bright sun glistens on the top of the new fallen snow, and you feel happy to see the sun shine. And the sun grows brighter and brighter and begins to warm the snow. The snow slowly melts away and you can feel the water giving nourishment to the roots.
And now that the snow has all melted, you look down and notice that the fallen leaves have also disappeared. They have been transformed by the Earth and the change of seasons. This is all a part of the circle of life. And you look now on the branches of the tree and notice new buds forming. These buds are the beginning of new memories and experiences that you are now asking to come into your life. And you feel the freshness of springtime. Now it is time to thank the Earth for her help in transforming the leaves. You will remember the messages and insight found on the leaves before they fell and understand their lessons. If you do not easily understand the purpose of an event or symbol, clarity will come to you in your nightly dreams.
And your branches pull back to become your arms and hands again. Thank Mother Earth for her nourishment and protection and slowly pull back the roots until they once again become feet and legs. And you feel the pulsing life force in your naval area. You will carry this gentle pulsing force to know that you are always connected to the Mother and are full of life, vibrancy and good health. You can call upon this inner peace any time. And as you recall the messages and lessons I want you to slowly and gently become aware of all that surrounds you.
When you feel comfortable, open your eyes and record all that you have learned from this journey. You will feel awake and refreshed.