Posted by: bipolarmystic | August 14, 2010

Good Tools – Guided Meditations

I’m told frequently (usually by my husband) that meditation isn’t for everyone.  Maybe there are a few people out there that really genuinely for whatever reason don’t benefit from mediation.  For the rest, I say, maybe it’s not the meditation that’s wrong, maybe it’s the type of meditation.  Let me be honest.  I am fairly exhausted most the time.  Between my marital distress (which seems to be getting better thank goodness), an ADD child, work, a home to keep and all the interminable things I do to keep my BP in check without medication, my concentration is shot.  This week I spent cleaning my house and my child’s room and then going straight to work.  From one job to another!  The point being most of us are exhausted and overstressed, our concentration is lousy to non-existent and then we are asked to meditate!  It’s too much!  Or perhaps not…

There are in fact, many ways to meditate.  Wikipedia defines meditation in this way:

Meditation is a holistic discipline during which time the practitioner trains his or her mind in order to realize some benefit.[1]

Meditation is generally a subjective, personal experience and most often done without any external involvement, except perhaps prayer beads to count prayers. Meditation oftentimes involves invoking and cultivating a feeling or internal state, such as compassion, or attending to some focal point, etc. The term can refer to the process of reaching this state, as well as to the state itself.[2]

There are hundreds of specific types of meditation.[3] The word, ‘meditation,’ means many things dependent upon the context of its use. People practice meditation for many reasons within the context of their culture. Meditation is a component of many religions, and has been practiced since antiquity, especially by monastics. To date, the exact mechanism at work in meditation remains unclear.

When I’m exhausted and my concentration is shot, I couldn’t sit and chant OM if my life depended on it, which it just might.  However, one thing that I can do quite easily and with minimal effort on my part is a guided meditation in audio format.  I think this is a great way to begin a meditation practice and start to build some moderate ability to quiet the mind, relax, and build concentration.  It’s also a great tool when you’re just too stressed to do a traditional meditation.  The downside in a guided meditation you go where the guide takes you, rather than necessarily following the dictates of your own heart and spirit.  However, if it’s all you can manage, it is certainly much superior to frustrating yourself over attempts to sit still and say OM :).  You still get many benefits of traditional meditation, which are well documented as a little understood but highly effective method of managing stress (life)!

My favorite guided meditation is actually a series of affirmations guided by Deepak Chopra, called The Soul of Healing Affirmations A-Z Guide to Reprogramming the Software of the Soul.  Affirmations are basically positive statements you make to yourself to replace the negative story we play in our minds about our lives.  It gets 4 1/2 out of 5 stars on Amazon, quite deserving in my opinion.  You can listen to excerpts here 

Deepak Chopra has a mild Indian accent but is a beautiful narrator.  There is wonderful background music as well.  This is a must have on my MP3 player.  Unfortunately, many of the guided meditations I’ve tried are irritating in some aspect.  Often times the narrator comes across as not all that spiritual (definitely not a problem with Chopra’s work), has an irritating voice, with no accompaniment of relaxing music.  I’d be willing to bet any guided meditation by Deepak Chopra is excellent.

This need not be a costly endeavor.  Go to your local library and see what’s available there.  See if you can get exactly what you want by requesting a material or going through an interlibrary loan.  Try out different cds and don’t get discouraged if some are not for you! 



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