The guided meditation experience
Guided meditations are usually experienced with the help of a meditation teacher, or by listening to a guided meditation recording.
Your meditation guide will ask you to sit comfortably, or in some cases, you may be asked to lie down. You then listen to your guide while they lead you through a series of relaxing visualizations. As you gradually relax and become more and more still, stress fades away, and your mind becomes clearer and clearer.
While you are in this deeply relaxed state of mind, your subconscious is open to positive suggestions, and your guide will use this time to take you on an inner journey that is designed to improve one or more aspects of your life. For example, a guided meditation might be tailored towards personal empowerment and positive thinking. Another might focus on emotional healing or spiritual development. You might be taken on a guided journey to unleash your full potential, or you may choose to go on a guided meditation journey simply for the sheer pleasure of experiencing profoundly deep relaxation.
As you can now see, a guided meditation can be an experience that is not only relaxing, but one that enhances your sense of self, that transforms your perspective in positive ways, and that inspires you to live your life to the fullest.
It’s an effortless and very enjoyable experience that results in deep relaxation, elimination of stress and a heightened appreciation of life.
At the conclusion of your guided meditation, your guide will gradually bring you back to a state of normal awareness, leaving you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and relaxed. A guided meditation might be as short as 5 minutes, or as long as an hour, depending on your personal preference. In most cases, a guided meditation of 20 minutes or longer is recommended if you wish to experience a truly deep state of relaxation and maximize the positive benefits.
What makes guided meditation different?
Most traditional meditation techniques require you to take command of your own awareness by concentrating your attention on a single point of focus. This point of focus might be your breathing, it might be a physical action, or more commonly, it may be on a mantra – a sound, word or phrase that you repeat to yourself mentally.
While these powerful meditation techniques are wonderful for achieving inner stillness and for enhancing your ability to concentrate, some people find them difficult to master.
One of the main reasons why guided meditations are such a popular alternative to traditional meditation techniques is because they require no previous training or effort to enjoy. Even if you are someone who finds it extremely difficult to let go of thoughts, even if you are highly stressed or overloaded with mental activity, you will quickly achieve inner stillness and peace of mind when you listen to a guided meditation.
Because guided meditation is so easy, it is very useful for people who are new to meditation. However, guided meditations can also be of great benefit to people who are very experienced at meditation. Experienced meditators will still use guided meditations in order to experience a deeper or more vivid meditation, to delve deeper into their mind than they are normally able, or to target a specific aspect of personal development that they wish to address.
Guided meditation also differs from traditional meditation in the way that it uses music and nature sounds to enhance your meditation experience.
The role of music and nature sounds in guided meditation
Guided meditation recordings usually include tranquil meditation music that helps you to relax while you are guided through the meditation. Think about how much difference a good soundtrack makes to a movie. Guided meditations benefit from music in a similar way. Music adds another dimension of expression and depth to your guided meditation journey, whilst soothing your mind.
It’s also not uncommon for Guided meditation CD’s and MP3’s to include nature sounds. These sounds are very relaxing, and they may also be used to enhance the vividness of the visualizations that you experience during the meditation. For example, if you are guided to visualize yourself standing on a sandy beach, then your experience of that visualization will be more authentic if you can actually hear the sound of ocean waves.
In contrast to traditional meditation, in which your aim is to achieve mental stillness through concentration exercises, guided meditations rely on a vivid tapestry of visualizations, music and environmental sounds to relax you, to captivate your attention and to immerse you in an inner journey. Because this inner journey can be tailored to achieve specific outcomes, guided meditation may be even more powerful than traditional, passive meditation techniques when it comes to effecting positive personal changes in your life.