August 10, 2007
Someone found this blog by searching on “letting go meditation”. Letting go is an essential element of all of our meditations. While many of them have a focus, such as the breath or awareness of the body, the focus always occurs on a background of letting go, so it made sense to do a meditation with this theme. Even though it’s a variation on other themes I’ve used, such as “simply being”, each theme gives us a slightly different angle and allows us to refine our meditation experience.
Letting go has to do with allowing whatever happens to happen. It has to do with not resisting thoughts, noise, emotions, sensations — not resisting anything. It gets tricky, though, when we try to allow things to happen. If we are in meditation with the intention to allow, chances are we will be manipulating our experience in some way. Everything will be buffered through the filter of the idea of allowing. It’s more a matter of noticing when we are resisting what is happening or trying to manipulate our experience in some way. When resistance or manipulation is noticed, it can be let go of quite naturally.
The value of guided meditation is that it can allow us to let go more, because we don’t so much have the sense that we are steering the process. It can allow us to relax more into the meditative state. Of course, guided meditations can have many different styles and approaches, so I am speaking about my own. Hopefully once you’ve used these meditations for awhile, you will be able to enter into a similar process on your own. If you are meditating on your own, you can always go back to the guided meditations anytime if meditation has become difficult and you need a refresher.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with meditation. Please feel free to comment on the blog!
July 12, 2007
When I hear my husband saying “earth to Mary”, it’s a sure sign I’m not grounded. It’s such a perfect phrase — “earth to…”. Being grounded has to do with our connection to the earth and to our own physical existence. When we are grounded our attention is focused on the here and now. Our minds are coordinated with our bodies. We are more balanced, less likely to make mistakes and have accidents.
There are lots of ways to get grounded. If you’ve become ungrounded because your are over-stimulated and your mind is scattered from multi-tasking and the general fast place of life, unplugging from your computer, TV, cell phone can help. Spending some time in silence helps the mind settle down and brings you back into your body. Time in nature paying attention to the sensations, sights and sounds also helps reconnect us to our bodies and the earth.
For those who are ungrounded because of too much meditation (which makes you feel “spacey”), focused activity can be a great antidote. Doing sudoku or crossword puzzles or something that requires that kind of mental concentration can quickly make the mind more focused. Doing some physical work or household tasks carefully and with full attention also helps.
There are many kinds of grounding meditations and visualizations. One very common one involves imagining your feet growing roots into the earth. Another involves visualizing a line dropping from your tailbone (or root chakra or tan tien in the lower abdomen) straight down into the earth and anchoring it.
We’ve just added a podcast episode which helps you ground by focusing your awareness on the lower body, feet and sensing your connection to the earth. Once you’ve done this process a number of times, you will be able to repeat the process automatically when needed.
What helps you to ground?
June 13, 2007
We’ve just added the Breath in the Heart meditation to our podcast. It’s a variation on meditations in which you follow your breath. In this case, you maintain awareness of the breath and the heart area at the same time. This helps open and enliven the heart chakra. The heart is the seat of love and connection. Attention on the heart helps to awaken the energy of love. This meditation can be especially soothing as you connect into the energy of the heart. At the same time, it can bring our awareness to any emotional pain which is present in the heart chakra. The pain may be from past hurts or from our current situation. If we are grieving, bringing attention to the heart will help facilitate the feelings of grief. By allowing these feelings to be present, they can move through and resolve.
May 4, 2007
I just added an episode to our Meditation Oasis podcast called “Relaxing into Healing”. It’s a very simple, direct approach to healing, and probably quite different from most guided meditations for healing.
The meditation is based on the idea that healing is in the nature of life. The natural intelligence of the body and psyche is always moving in the direction of healing. We can cooperate with this natural process of healing by being open to it, relaxing so that the maximum energy is available for healing, and allowing whatever needs to be healed to come fully into our awareness.
Being open to healing — In the beginning of the meditation, we set the intention to open to healing. This way we become more receptive to the process of healing.
Relaxing to free up energy for healing — We relax by letting go of resistance to whatever we are experiencing in our body, mind and emotions. Resistance takes energy, and we want to let that energy be used for healing.
Allowing what needs healing into our awareness — Finally, the guided meditation encourages you to allow everything to come into your awareness that needs healing. The idea isn’t to start thinking about it and analyzing it, but to simply experience it. Our attention is a beam of intelligent energy. Simply having something in our awareness brings energy to it. It may be a situation, an emotion or something in the body that needs healing. The meditation encourages you to simply allow yourself to experience whatever needs to be healed without judgment. In this way you hold a compassionate space for yourself to heal.
March 18, 2007
My most recent podcast episode is a guided meditation for “emotional ease”. Those words may conjure up a vision of euphoria or floating in a comfortable cloud, but that’s not what it means. Although you’ll hopefully feel more relaxed and at ease after the meditation, it will be a result of being able to actually stay present to your emotions rather than resisting them or becoming mentally involved with them. Emotional ease is about being present to what is happening without struggling with it, and that includes feeling all emotions including those you may not want to feel, such as sadness, grief and anger.
Ease in living is not about life being easy. Life isn’t easy! It’s about the ability to flow with what happens, the “good” and “bad” events and the “pleasant” and “unpleasant” reactions to those events. While some guided meditations give us some respite from life’s storms and a chance to relax by encouraging visualizations of beautiful, relaxing places, my approach is to encourage surrender to whatever is happening right here, right now. While it can be helpful at times to escape, peace in life ultimately comes from being able to remain right in the heart of the storm (whether it is a storm of events or an emotional storm). I hope this latest meditation will help some of you with that!
February 9, 2007
When you listen to our Meditation Oasis podcasts, it’s best to leave all your ideas about how to meditate behind. Forget about what you think meditation is or how you think it should be done. Most definitely let go of any expectations of what the experience should be like. Let it all go and listen with a “beginner’s mind” and open heart!
One goal of my guided meditations is to create a space where you can be effortless, allowing the natural flow of life and living. Coming to the meditation with the idea that you have to breath in some special way, that you should not be having thoughts or even that you should feel a certain way during meditation can make meditation into a struggle.
I recently received an email from someone who said she was having a “hard time breathing” during the meditations. It soon became clear that she was trying to breath deeply and do it “correctly”. I responded that she didn’t need to breath in any particular way, but simply to allow the breath to go on its own naturally.
In a sense, my guided meditations are about being in the “allow mode”, not resisting what arises. Thoughts, emotions, sensations in the body come and go. Noise happens around us. All of this is part of the natural flow of the energy of life. The instructions are just gentle suggestions which are not meant to be followed in a rigid way. If the attention wanders, that’s fine. Just bring it easily back to the meditation.
There is no “correct” experience. There are no mistakes in these meditations. If there is a sense of strain or struggle, it’s just a sign of effort and the formula is to let it go. Take it easy, take it as it comes!
January 31, 2007
Yours for the enjoying is an episode from our Meditation Oasis podcast. It’s the first track of our Pure Relaxation CD, a guided meditation with music to use anytime you need a relaxing break but don’t have a lot of time.
Most of the people viewing this blog are already listening to our podcasts on iTunes. This is for those of you who aren’t. Hope you enjoy it!
If you’d like to hear more, find us on iTunes or visit our Meditation Oasis web page.
January 26, 2007
From my point of view, there is no wrong way to meditate. I didn’t really give voice to this viewpoint until I received an email from someone who is enjoying our podcasts. She said she liked them for a number of reasons — “There are a few aspects of the meditations that stand out for me. One I like, is that they don’t seem to have an agenda. Another is that you stress that there is no wrong way. The open endedness is lovely.”
When I received this email it reminded me of the name a woman in my local meditation group suggested for my meditations — she called them “meditations without borders”. Hearing this same sentiment again caused me to reflect on the meditations I lead and how they may differ from others.
My goal, if there is one, is to create a space for people to have their own meditative experience. I trust in the natural capacity of the mind to shift into a more simple, relaxed mode given the chance. I trust in each individual’s process and how their unique spiritual path unfolds. “Open endedness” is such a lovely way to describe it. While all meditation styles are suitable for some people, those which require concentration and effort do not allow us to relax into a spontaneous and natural way of being. What I hope to create is an atmosphere where one can relax into the natural flow of life and living. I hope to encourage trust in life as it is unfolding in each moment, and trust in oneself.
I’ve been enjoying receiving emails and feedback from people listening to the podcasts. I hope this blog can become a place for a lively exchange and encourage you to leave your comments!