Meditating's not just for hippies and eastern monks!
Spiritual meditation is a wonderful way to release stress, reconnect with your divine source, and find answers.
Taking time out for yourself is something we all cherish doing when we can, and practising spiritual meditation is even better than that. It can uplift you, help you be more centered and emotionally balanced, and most importantly help you to strengthen your tie to the presence of God that is with you (sometimes known as your I AM Presence).
Relaxation is a common goal with meditation but when we want to engage in all things spiritual, meditation becomes a way to further and deepen our spiritual path.
There are hundreds of ways you can meditate, different methods and techniques you can use or combine, and here I'm just going to give you some ideas and suggestions that you can experiment with. Of course, the focus here is on spiritual meditation, so they may be a little different from some mainstream ideas that you are used to.
The first really key thing to do when you're beginning meditation as part of your spiritual path, is to commit to a regular session and keep practising. Five or ten minutes at a time can be plenty. You may not notice a difference in your life right away but it will come with practice.
Also, release expectations of having amazing meditations. Just have the intention to sit and practice techniques and allow it to unfold as it’s meant to be.
In order to connect as fully as possible with your I AM Presence, you have to do your best to release all of the "stuff" that you're hanging on to in this moment. Emptying your mind is easier said than done, so try instead to focus on something specific.
For many people, focusing on slow, deliberate in-breaths and out-breaths is not only a good way to "empty" the mind but also to relax the body. Deliberately slowing down your breathing tells your body to calm down. Give it a little time and your body will respond by letting go of the tension. Help it along by observing the muscles that are still tight and letting them go floppy.
If you need something more visual to help you relax, here's an awesome 9 minute video with ocean scenes and gentle music (Pachelbel's Canon). The music is actually played at 60 beats per minute, which is the rate of a sleeping person's heartbeat.
Incidently, if you're really sleepy after "letting go", just go to bed or take a nap. Do your meditation another time - it's important to look after our physical body as well as our spiritual one!
Establishing your connection with God can be done in any way you are comfortable with. You could say prayers, decrees or mantras. Slowly chanting one of the Hebrew names of God, Elohim, is something I like to do. (Elohim intoned slowly sounds like "ay-lo-heem"). You could remain silent and focus on a visualization (an image in your mind's eye) - peaceful white light surrounding you, for example.
You might like to try this guided spiritual meditation too. You can read through what you'll be doing first and then play the audio - music along with meditative instructions.
Everyone has their own favorite parts of spiritual meditation, and for me it's the opportunity to find out what God would like me to know in that moment.
You might have heard of the "still small voice within" - it's sometimes referred to as your conscience, your Higher Self, or your Holy Christ Self. This is the God-like part of you that relays to you God's messages. You can hear it whenever you are still and quiet in your mind, which is why meditation is a perfect time for receiving answers. If you've never tried to listen before it might take a bit of practice.
My mother, in her meditations, likes to ask her Holy Christ Self broad questions such as "what do I need to know today?" I find it easiest to pose specific questions to God in my mind of things I'm unsure about.
The answer may dawn on me as a gentle thought that "feels right". Occasionally it's like hearing someone else's voice telepathically (ie. not out loud). When that happens I have to test it, because I've learned that it isn't always God that talks to us - there are dark forces as well as good ones, even within us. Generally I can tell because the voice of my Higher Self is loving and not pushy, and if it is not my Higher Self then it has a tone or feeling of fear or some other negative emotion.
When you find your attention wandering, gently bring it back. I once listened to a talk given by a Tibetan Buddhist monk (a friend of my dear acquaintance Lama Tashi Kailash) and he said something very profound that stuck with me.
He said that when you are meditating and trying to empty your mind, you will naturally have all sorts of thoughts arriving. Instead of getting annoyed and frustrated, which takes you completely out of your meditative calm, just let the thoughts come in, observe them, and let them float out again. Don't focus on the thoughts or get hung up about not having an empty mind, just observe neutrally and return to your point of 'center'. Lovely practical advice, I thought.
When you feel that you've had enough of your spiritual meditation, just gently take a few deep breaths and go back into your daily routine with a smile on your face, hopefully feeling a bit more stress-free than you did before. :-)
Tibetan Singing Bowls
If you've never held in your hand a Tibetan Singing Bowl, you really don't know what you're missing!
It's a metal bowl made from bronze alloy or copper, depending on its age, and with a special mallet you slowly rub around the outside of the bowl which causes great melodic vibrations. It's often used as an aid for meditation, and the sound is believed to have healing and purifying properties.
I can witness to the great power that you can sense when you are using one of these bowls - it's not just the sound you hear, you can feel on multiple levels the physical energy vibrations that are creating the sound.
It isn't possible to convey the depth of the experience without being there, but this video is about as good a substitute as you can get. If you haven't heard the sound before you'll probably find it quite strange at first. Bear with it a bit because before long you'll find yourself unexpectedly calm and even uplifted. This video is around 5 minutes long.
For a visual treat, here are some visualization aids and ideas for your spiritual meditation. Meditate on the Buddha and the beauty of nature in this inspiring video.
Glide from Spiritual Meditation to Devotions
There really are a myriad ways you can engage in spiritual meditation. I hope that this has given you a few tools and ideas to get started with and I wish you God-peace on your meditative journey.
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