March 15, 2013
Loneliness can be a doorway to connection. Contained within the feelings of loneliness is our capacity for connection. Our podcast meditation – Guided Meditation for Loneliness – encourages you to go deep into the feelings of loneliness to connect with yourself and ultimately with others.
So often we resist emotions that we feel are threatening or unpleasant. Most of us don’t want to feel pain, but resisting our feelings alienates us from ourselves. This is especially true with loneliness. When we are lonely, we may feel deeply sad or have a strong sense of yearning. We might feel anxious, especially if we feel that there is something wrong with us for feeling they way we do. And yet going into the very heart of loneliness, experiencing it all the way, allows us to feel the most important connection of all — the connection to ourselves.
Remember — loneliness is a normal human feeling. It’s a result of your natural capacity and desire for connection. I would love to hear about your experiences with this meditation.
March 19, 2012
“It depends…” is often the answer to these common questions. It depends on what kind of meditation you are doing. It depends on your unique nervous system and physiology. It depends on why you are meditating in the first place, what your goal is. That being said, I’ll share a few thoughts on these questions from the perspective of our meditation style.
Will meditation help me sleep? Our approach is above all to promote naturalness and ease in living. We’re all about trust — trust in life, trust in oneself. Ultimately, it’s about relaxation — letting go of the tension that comes when we try too hard, resist what is happening, or are in conflict with ourselves. It’s about relaxing into the flow of life and living. This approach to meditation, or any other meditation style that promotes deep relaxation, should certainly improve the quality of sleep. Sleep comes about as we relax and let go of the concerns of the day.
I’m falling asleep during meditation, am I doing something wrong? In the deep relaxation of meditation, the body takes what it needs. If you are not getting enough sleep, the body will naturally fall asleep. So many of us are not getting enough rest, so when sleep comes in meditation it’s a blessing, even if it’s an unplanned afternoon nap! Practicing meditation in the style we teach should lead to greater alertness and clarity. But that doesn’t mean we have to be alert and clear during meditation. (After all, we are not alert and clear during sleep, but a good night’s sleep results in greater clarity and alertness during the day.) If you were totally rested, your experience during meditation would probably be one of enhanced wakefulness and energy, but if that isn’t what is happening, that’s fine. Whatever happens is what needs to happen at the time. So we recommend not resisting sleep when it comes. The sleep you get in meditation will be particularly deep and refreshing to the system.
Is it OK to meditate at bedtime? There is no hard and fast rule about this. If meditation makes you more alert and energized, you wouldn’t want to meditate right before bed. If meditation is mainly relaxing and you slip easily into sleep while meditating, then by all means meditate before bed. The ideal would be to have another meditation earlier in the day as well. Sitting up and meditating during the day will make it more likely you’ll stay awake, and different benefits can be derived from that. If you can do it, make twice daily meditation part of your routine!
On guided meditation. As those of you know who listen to our podcast meditations or use our apps, guided meditations guide you in meditation. They can be designed to simply help you achieve a meditative state, or they can have a specific focus and take you on a journey with a particular theme. We have both kinds of meditations. Some will be conducive to falling asleep, while others will be more stimulating and may not work well right before bed. You will need to try the different meditations to see what works for you.
Our new iSleep Easy app. The guided meditations on our new app are specifically designed for bedtime, and one is even designed for when you wake up in the middle of the night. All of the meditations are designed to help you let go and relax, much like our other meditations, but they are more focused on falling asleep and promoting a sound sleep. The app also gives you the ability to create a Playlist with several meditations in a row. Currently the app is available on iPhone — you can read about it in the iTunes store. If you get the app, let us know how it works for you!
April 26, 2010
Meeting Richard was an amazing experience. I felt a deep recognition. I even had a vision of him playing exquisite music on a keyboard. (I had no idea at the time that he was a musician.) There was such a strong connection that I actually had the thought – “could he be the one?” My emotions rebelled, however, and I immediately brushed the thought away.
As I got to know Richard, there was a level on which I knew, absolutely knew, that I wanted to be with him. And yet, I had a carefully constructed list of all the attributes I wanted in a mate, and he just didn’t fit the bill. (I might add that the same was true for him, I was not what he had in mind either!) We were both drawn to each other, but we struggled because of our preconceived ideas of what we thought our mate should be like. Our intuition told us one thing and our ideas and emotions told us something else.
Looking back on our years together, I see the great wisdom in the choice we made to be together. I couldn’t see it so clearly at that time. The choice came from a deeper knowing, a knowing that was within us even when our emotions protested, even when our minds didn’t really understand. Intuition contains that kind of wisdom. It’s like a computer that can process more information than we can possibly juggle with the conscious mind. Intuition mysteriously taps into the past, present and future, as well as bypassing our blind spots.
Intuition comes from a place that’s beyond logic, analysis or even our emotions. It’s an inner knowing that is steady and clear. With intuition, you “just know”. It’s actually very natural. If we human beings weren’t such complicated creatures, the concept of intuition wouldn’t even exist. We would simply know what work to do, what to eat, who to marry. Our next step would be obvious. But, alas, our ideas and emotions can cloud our vision, and we can become quite confused about the choices, large and small, that life requires us to make.
The goal of the Accessing Intuition Guided Meditation is to help you tap into your intuition by going beyond analysis, evaluation and emotional reactions. By allowing your awareness to settle down in a way that it transcends the influence of thinking and emotions, you able to attend to the subtle messages of intuition. Hopefully the meditation will also help you to trust your intuition, by learning to recognize what it feels like. Often we have an inner knowing about something, but we’re afraid to trust it. The more we’re able to recognize intuition, the easier it will be to trust in it. Intuition feels good in your body. There is a steadiness about it, and it is uncolored by emotions and concepts.
January 5, 2010
Many of us long to have a more open heart, to be able to give and receive more freely. We want to experience more love more easily, but it can be so difficult at times. The heart chakra is the gateway to loving connection with others. At the same time, it contains pain from past hurts. This meditation gives you the opportunity to relax into whatever the heart may hold, allowing held emotions to resolve and the loving energy in the heart to be felt.
The meditation takes you through a number of steps. First you relax. Then you connect with your heart, simply being present to whatever you experience. This is followed by visualization to help you expand the energy of the heart and connect with others. As always, be creative with the visualization and use it a way that works for you.
I’ve had many requests for a meditation for compassion and forgiveness. I do think these will come about, but hopefully this meditation will speak to these themes as well. Both compassion and forgiveness require the ability to be present to pain, our own as well as that of others. Both require an open heart.
I hope the meditation serves you well, and would love to hear about your experiences with it. (Listen to it here.)
October 9, 2009
In the swirl of activity and the intense demands of life, it’s easy to lose ones center. It can be challenging to maintain a sense of stability and balance. Our latest podcast meditation is designed to help you experience stillness in the midst of busyness, and then to create a stable reference point within that stillness.
The meditation helps focus and steady the mind. I’ve had requests for a morning meditation and as well as a meditation especially for students. This meditation may be good for both purposes.
Tips for this Meditation
- This meditation is best done sitting up in order to maintain alertness. It’s not a meditation for falling asleep.
- Occasionally my guided meditations suggest some use of visualization. In this meditation, you are guided to locate stillness and then a stable balance point within it. That point then becomes the focus of the meditation. It’s important not to strain to create this point or to work at concentrating on it. Just be very easy about the whole process. If what I suggest comes easily, fine. If not, let it go. It may take several repetitions of this meditation to get the hang of it.
I’d love to hear what you experience with this meditation. All comments and questions are welcome!
May 4, 2009
We just had a comment from someone who has a hard time with visualizations in meditation. So do I! Actually, I almost never enjoy a meditation that tells you to see this and see that. The more specific the instructions are for exactly what to visualize, the worse it is for me. As I’m working to construct the tree or light or animal or whatever it is I am to see, the guide is already on to the next image. I can never catch up and I’m so busy working on coming up with the visualization that I can’t really relax and get whatever it is I am supposed to get by seeing the image.
Though most of my meditations don’t involve visualization, I know that it can be very powerful. I do use a form of visualization in a few of the guided meditations (Intuitive Healing and Inner Child meditations are examples). I like to call what I do “intuitive visualization”. It’s what I do on my own sometimes for myself. It’s something we all do spontaneously when we daydream. I just suggest that you let something appear, such as a helper, and allow it to appear in whatever way it comes. It can be clear or vague. It may not even come as a image — it could be something felt or heard. It could come through any of the senses — touch, taste, sight, hearing, smell. Or it could just be a feeling sense. A helper, for example, could just be an energetic “presence”. This way of visualizing, which perhaps would be better called “intuiting”, works best for me and I like it in general because it allows you to draw on your own inner, creative resources to come up with just the perfect thing for you.
I know the other kind of visualization meditation, or imagery as its often called, works well for some people. What about you? What works best for you?
October 15, 2008
The idea for our latest podcast episode, Discovering Peace, came out of a discussion with our local meditation group. People were feeling agitated about the election and felt they were losing their center. One person said “I want to be able to rise above this and find peace”. Ultimately, a guided meditation much like the one we just published came out of our discussion, but first we talked about the idea of “rising above” something.
Many of us are being affected now with the turmoil in the economy and a heated election going on. In the midst of all of this we long for a sense of peace. Often people envision that as arriving at a place that’s not only peaceful but completely removed from the difficult feelings. That’s what “rising above” sounds like to me. While we can find moments of time in which there is only peace, this isn’t always possible, and, when we try to get away from the fray, that creates a conflict in and of itself. What’s more realistic and achieveable is to find the peace within that’s there even in the midst of conflict and struggle.
In many ways this new guided meditation is like the Beyond Pain meditation. Even though pain may not go away, we can still find a sense of peace with it. It has to do with stopping fighting what’s bothering us and relaxing into the difficult feelings. Even more important it has to do with discovering that peace is always with us — in the breath, in the silence of our own awareness.
Just yesterday I was out walking with lots on my mind. Thanks to all the years of meditation, or simply thanks to grace, I recognized a sense of peace that seemed to be there in the air around me — in the blue sky, the sounds of birds, colors of flowers. It was even there in the sounds of the traffic. At that moment, I could see that life could seem really, really difficult if I focused solely on the challenges in my life, but much more simple and sweet if I also acknowledged that peace. Sometimes I do that, and sometimes I don’t. And part of the process of growth on the spiritual path is letting that be OK too.
What about you? How do you find peace in your life?