As busy beings with daily chores aplenty, we're quick to rank "intangible" activities like meditation low on our priority list. After all, doesn't meditation require us to stop all activity and sit in silence? More than that, it's difficult, right?
Nope! Meditation is, in fact, a very natural activity, where we engage our inner energy and open our hearts. We start to see the self clearly, and the magnificence inherent in simply. Being. Me.
The beauty of meditation is, of course, that it's not limited to any singular approach; a myriad of paths are out there inviting us to reconnect with our sacred inner space. And once there, seated comfortably at the center of our being, we begin to see, and feel, and grow. In this activated state, insights into our inner world, and the world around us, are quick to follow. We carry this alertness into our day, too, bringing precision and fullness to whatever we do.
Let's look at ten uncomplicated pathways into depth, power, and a world of peace.
1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
PMR, where we gradually move through all the muscle groups in our body, consciously releasing tension, is wonderfully effective in inducing that feel-good, relaxed feeling across the length of our body. And when our body is relaxed, our mind follows suit; before we know it, we're thinking clearly, feeling calm, and ready to take on the world!
I breathe into my toes, and as I breathe out, I release all tension, saying to myself: "My toes are soft and relaxed, warm and full." I feel that softness and warmth in my toes, and notice a buzz of comfort surfacing there. I now gradually move up my body, inch by inch, through my feet, calves, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, hands, arms, shoulders, neck, mouth, cheeks, eyes, forehead and scalp. I’m simply breathing into each area, then releasing tension alongside my breath. I am coaxing my body into feeling relaxed and full. Once done, I observe the totality of my body, and notice how good it feels, how calm and settled it has become.
I become aware of my breath, drawing it gently in through my nose, all the way down my body and into my feet. Exhaling very slowly, through my mouth now, I listen to the swoosh of air exiting my lips. Inhaling again, I appreciate the cool current of oxygen flowing in, down my core, through my legs, into my toes. Exhaling, I feel my body sinking comfortably into stillness, into peace. Inhaling, I become aware of the life-force inherent in this oxygenated air, touching and awakening all parts of my body as it streams in.
Go on, paint, then step into the masterpiece that's uniquely yours. Make it as magical and perfect as you wish; it is your creation, after all.
I visualize any natural scene, a landscape soaked with peace. Perhaps I see a still lake surrounded by mountains, or a vast, green meadow, or a forest alive with nature's vibration. Whatever vista appears before me, I notice how the colors, saturated with golden sunshine, sparkle with impossible depth.
4. Letting Go
Our minds, too, can become blocked with tension. Let's lift those mental blockages, now.
Breathing oxygen into the room of my mind, I aerate my inner world. Exhaling, I let go, discharging all the clutter, all the noise, all the waste. Inhaling again, I observe how my mind is opening up, expanding on all sides as it stretches out far into the distance. Inhaling, I invite freshness and light, and with the light, clarity. Exhaling, I cast off all the unwanted, all the excess, and give myself permission to simply be. How good it feels to relax and release, to free myself into being just me.
5. Opening Up My Heart
I turn my vision inward, finding that clean, warm, wholesome space that is my heart. Just by observing this sacred inner space, by acknowledging it, I am giving my heart permission to emerge, to shine and flow. And flow it does! I feel a current of energy rising from my heart, overflowing into my body and caressing me with its glow. As I release this energy across the broad landscape of my inner world, I watch as its radiance finds every nook, every corner of my being, bringing the sparkle of spirit to life. Lit up from within, I surrender to the blaze, to the bliss, to the might rolling out from the space of my heart.
6. Surrendering to Light
I turn my gaze inward, to the cool space within, and look for the light. Ah, there it is, shining like a soft, silent star at the center of my being. I edge in closer, toward its warmth, its gentle glow. One more step inward now, and into the very essence of my light I go. Light permeates my vision as I find myself at the source. This shimmer, so uniquely mine, is pure and spiritual, full and powerful.
7. Reflecting on Virtues
Let's stop waiting for the stars to align, instead taking the initiative, via meditation, to activate inner beauty and wonderful feelings. Let's emerge the jewels, now.
Glancing inward, into my depths, I look for peace. And I see it, shining calmly at the center of my being. I feel it, too, that serene vibration touching and uplifting every part of my being.
8. Talking Lovingly with Myself
Let's bring our focus squarely back within, to our hearts, our minds, our souls. Let's nurture this beautiful being that is me, via an encouraging, loving conversation with ourselves, and coax ourselves back to health and wholeness.
I choose to spend time with myself, right now. Looking gently inward, to that quiet, beautiful inner space at the center of my being, I recognize the importance of my relationship with myself. I am deserving of my attention, my energy, my love. And so, very gently, I say to myself: "I'd like to heal myself, right now, to invite wholeness and peace to my inner world. To do so, I simply need to send love inwards. And I do so now, sending a current of warmth toward my center. I fill myself light."
9. Healing through Sound
Besides om, we can use a host of other sounds to induce this therapeutic massage. Singing bowls are great, of course, as is music, the swish of the wind, the gurgling of a stream, or the murmur of people's voices. Each one carries a unique vibration that we can tune in to and absorb, then observe its effect as it rolls through your body and mind, massaging and cleansing all in its wake.
I inhale deeply, then slowly and consciously breathe out an Om. Ommmmm. I feel the vibrations of this sacred syllable thrumming through my bones, into my muscles, across the surface of my skin. I inhale again, then exhaling, hum another long, rumbling Om. It pulses through me, massaging my muscles with its tremors, energizing every part of my body it passes through. Inhaling, then releasing another deep Om, I now direct its rich vibration toward the room of my mind. Waves of peace and strength roll through my mental landscape, healing and uplifting me from within.
10. Sending My Energy Upward
Let's send our energy out to that higher dimension, then pause and listen for the response. As we wait, with hearts open in anticipation, a critical shift in our energy occurs: we move from a condition of incessant production, to a more receptive, absorptive state. Our senses sharpen, and we're brought into the present. We attune ourselves to subtlety, to the flow of spiritual energy, to those divine whispers directed our way. We begin to truly commune with God.
Sitting quietly, I direct my focus toward God. I may wish to say a silent prayer, or perhaps all I do is offer my energy upward, to this highest light. Now, with my attention focused solely on God, I wait patiently, listening for a response. By opening up my heart and mind to the energy of spirit, I have invited communion with God.
If you found the above pathways rewarding, you might consider Modern Meditations, where 101 guided commentaries are presented in an easy-to-follow, experiential way. Organized into twelve fields—including relaxation, abundance, transformation, and healing—each meditation encourages discovery, growth, and adventure through the power of focused thoughts.
Happy meditating, everyone!
Murray du Plessis has studied and taught meditation for fifteen years, and he assisted the running of meditation centers in England, Burundi, Namibia, and South Africa. He has an MA in English education and is currently an ...