Meditation Made Easier

Many people are intimidated by the idea of meditation. They may think they have to study it for years to be any good at it. They may think they have to change their entire lifestyle in order to be successful. Finally, and for many the key question, they may feel that they will never be able to silence the continual chatter which goes on in their minds.

If you have any of the above beliefs regarding meditation let me reassure you. While years of meditating will certainly develop your ability it doesn't take years to learn basic and simple meditation.

As for changing lifestyle completely, I have learned that often the people who think they have to do that may be the ones who would benefit from some changes: less frantic activity, stress reduction, more time carved out of the day for relaxation. For such people meditation can actually be a means of accomplishing such change. It can help them to live more peacefully, regardless of what they are doing.

Finally, regarding the issue of mental chatter, there are a number of ways to quiet that, several of which I describe in this article.

What is Meditation?

I feel that the most important attitude to take in terms of meditating is not to view it as some exalted state of being which you can't achieve. In its most elemental form meditation is relaxation. You don't have to be lying down to do it. You don't have to be seated in a particular position.

For example, I have had some of my most meditative experiences while swimming. I focus on the activity of moving my body, on the sensation of the water, on the relaxing feeling of stretching my limbs. If I am swimming a certain number of laps, I count them, often repeating the particular number I'm at over and over again. When I've finished swimming I feel as if I've washed many of my worries and repetitive thoughts. I feel clean, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Walking can be another form of meditation, especially recommended if you find it difficult to meditate while seated or lying down. Take long, steady strides; focus on the feeling of the ground beneath your feet. Be in the present; Notice what's around you. This is especially helpful when you are feeling upset or have some problem to work out.

Do you like to garden? Garden with your focus entirely on gardening, feeling the earth, the texture of the weeds and flowers, the feel of your gardening tools.

If it is done with focus and intention any activity can be meditative. When I am writing an article my focus is entirely on writing it. I clean my mind of any concerns so that I can be receptive to the flow of ideas.

If you practice a meditative attitude while you are doing activities which aren't formal meditation you'll find it that much easier to practice formal meditation. Basically you're training your mind to be focused and intent.

Enhancements for Meditation

Once you turn to the more "official" forms of meditation„meaning that you're either sitting up in a relaxed pose or lying down, you will find certain tools helpful in creating a relaxed mental state.

Meditation Enhancement with Aromatherapy

Lighting an aromatherapy candle or diffusing oil can often assist and enhance a meditational state. Good oil choices are lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, frankincense, and rosewood, among others.

Music for Meditation

Peaceful music in the background can help to block out distracting noises and set a peaceful mood. Listening on a Walkman can be even more helpful. Many New Age companies also make guided visualization tapes which can be very valuable.

Crystals for Meditation

One way to meditate with crystals is to hold a clear quartz point in one hand and a smoky quartz point in the other. This combines the energies of heaven and earth, keeping you grounded while uplifted.

Another method is to place an appropriate crystal on each chakra point. See for crystals which relate to each chakra. To summarize the information in this article:

First chakra: Feet to base of the spine. Some of the useful crystals to place here include smoky quartz, hematite, black tourmaline, obsidian, tiger's eye.

Second chakra: Pelvic area. Crystals include carnelian, ruby, ruby in zoisite, red jasper, and garnet.

Third chakra: Navel to solar plexus. Citrine, tiger's eye, rutilated quartz, and aragonite are some of the helpful crystals.

Fourth chakra: Heart. Any pink or green stone can be placed here.

Fifth chakra: Throat. Any pale blue or blue-green stone can go here.

Sixth chakra: Forehead between and slightly above the eyes. Any dark blue or purple stone belongs here.

Seventh chakra: Crown (top of head). You can put any white or clear crystal here.

The Beyond the Rainbow Chakra kit includes (in chakra order): hematite, carnelian, citrine, rose quartz, blue lace agate, amethyst, and clear quartz.

These are all peaceful stones. Hematite grounds and repels negativity; carnelian centers one in the present; citrine expands a feeling of empowerment. Rose quartz helps to foster self-love; blue lace agate encourages peaceful feelings; amethyst helps one to pass from ordinary consciousness to a twilight state. Clear quartz is so fundamental a crystal that I put it in every crystal kit.

You can also use an additional quartz point and rotate it over each crystal on your body. Visualize the crystal's color as you do so. Breathe in this color and feel it fill your being.

Breathing Techniques

With or without crystals, there are certain meditation methods which will help you to achieved a relaxed, contemplative state.

A Basic Breathing Technique

This is a method which I practice regularly. It is very relaxing.

  1. Inhale deeply for 4 seconds. As you do so visualize whatever positive energies you desire (love, kindness, peacefulness, etc.) coming to you. It may be easiest to focus on one attribute at a time. Fill your lungs completely.
  2. Hold your breath for 4 seconds, and as you do so feel these energies filling you completely, entering every cell of your body.
  3. Exhale for 8 seconds. Feel yourself expelling all negative energies (hatred, anger, resentment, etc.)

As you become practiced in this you can increase the amount of time for each step, but keep the proportions the same, i.e., 8 seconds to inhale, 8 to hold, and 16 to exhale.

To connect with your inner spirit:

Sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, view your inner screen. You will see particles, images, or patterns of light. Focus on the light with relaxed attention, and without interpretation. If you feel yourself shifting to a dreamlike state allow this to happen. If you drift into thoughts return your attention to the light on your inner screen.

Mindfulness Meditation

Sit comfortably, eyes closed, and focus on your breathing. Acknowledge without judgment any sensations, emotions, thoughts, or external stimuli. If you get distracted bring your attention back to your breathing.

Meditating with Flowers

Some specific essences which I have found to be useful are listed below.

White Chestnut (Bach) is invaluable for those who find that they can't shut out unwanted thoughts when they are attempting to meditate. It helps to relieve the feeling that your mind is going around in unpeaceful circles.

Walnut (Bach) is a flower remedy generally used for any kind of transition from one state to another. Though it is most often used for physical transitions such as moving, job or career change this essence actually addresses the emotional issues which surface when such changes are contemplated. It can help you to be more comfortable in an altered state of consciousness.

Lotus (FES) is considered to be an all-purpose meditational aid. It helps us to be aware of our soul nature.

Dolphin (Wild Earth Animal Essences) is generally recommended for both psychic and spiritual development. The dolphin lives in the water, but leaps into the air. Thus, this subtle and joyful essence can help us to transcend dimensions as the dolphin transcends the elements.

Bach and Other Flower Essences
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