Meditations for Stress

May 12, 2009

I recently had an email from someone under a great deal of stress asking which meditations to use to keep stress from making him sick and out of balance. Although anything that’s relaxing will help relieve stress, I recommended the following podcast episodes in particular:

  • Mini Relaxation Break
  • Breath Awareness
  • Simply Being
  • Effortless Meditation
  • Deep Rest
  • Letting Go

I recommended these particular meditations because they don’t have a specific focus or ask you to be active in any way. My sense is that they would allow for the deepest rest and therefore the most release of tension. When we are deeply relaxed, our body chemistry and muscles switch gears from the flight or fight response into a more relaxed style of functioning. The energy of the body can then go to work to release tension and recuperate.

Ultimately, though, I encourage you to try the various episodes for yourself. Try the ones whose titles and descriptions appeal most to you. That way you can see the effects of the various meditations. It just might be that a focused meditation would be most helpful with some specific types of stress. If you are grieving, for example, the Grief Meditation might be most useful.

(You can listen to our podcast on iTunes or on this page.)

Breath in the Heart Guided Meditation

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.

“Relaxing into Healing” guided meditation podcast

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.

Relaxation as the ultimate spiritual state

April 20, 2007

I used to feel that relaxation was a somewhat insignificant by-product of meditation. Although I desperately needed to learn to relax when I started meditation, I needed to see myself as a seeker of enlightenment rather than the stressed out person that I was. For years I thought of meditation in very “lofty” terms. It wasn’t until I was recording our Pure Relaxation CD that it began to dawn on me that to be able to be totally relaxed is the ultimate sign of spiritual maturity.

Being able to relax is a reflection of everything that we seek spiritually. Think about what you are seeking on your spiritual path. How would relaxation fit into that picture? When I reflect on what I’ve longing for over the years, they are all the same as the ability to be totally relaxed. I’ve wanted to feel a sense of trust. How can you relax without trust? I’ve wanted to feel peace. If you are at peace, you are relaxed. I wanted spontaneity and freedom — can these occur without relaxation?

Relaxation happens when there is an absence of tension and holding. It happens in surrender. It happens when we let go. The sense that we have to defend ourselves or be guarded in any way is gone. When we are really relaxed, we are open and intimate with everything. There is no more self and other, there is only one.

Can you remember a time when you were totally relaxed? Would you see that as a spiritual experience?

Emotional Ease Meditation

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!

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