Each day brings its unique challenges as we juggle our money, families, careers, health, and relationships. Keeping up with the seemingly never-ending, hectic pace produces high anxiety and stress, not to mention potential health complications. It sometimes seems like a vicious cycle that is inescapable.
What is a simple way that one can escape from these daily stressors? Meditation.
As meditation continues to enter the mainstream, it has become increasingly accessible and easy to try. It is portable, free, and freeing. Using guided meditations to begin a practice or continue on your journey is a great way to find a few moments of peace and balance.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is an ancient and increasingly popular practice of mental concentration and relaxation. As the stress levels of our society increase, so does the number of people looking for a method to relieve that stress inexpensively and effectively. Guided meditation will do that, and it will provide direction and focus for both new and experienced practitioners.
How Does Guided Meditation Work?
With guided meditation, you don’t need to know how to meditate. All that’s required is that you listen, and you’ll move effortlessly into a state of relaxed concentration invoked and led by another party. The guide instructs you to a place of comfort and then leads you through mental images and visualizations, body scans or breathing exercises. A guided meditation can be as short as a few minutes or as long as several hours. Either way, the purpose is to achieve mental, emotional, and physical healing and stress relief.
The Benefits of Guided Meditation
One of the biggest benefits of guided meditation is that it helps you understand the basics of meditation. It sets you on the correct path of meditation which can help you become a happier, calmer, and more compassionate person.
The practice can also help you understand the subtleties of your mind and its responses to meditation.
As you deepen your meditative state with regular practice, you’ll find that meditation:
- Alleviates anxiety, depression, and negative attitudes
- Reduces fatigue and exhaustion
- Puts you in touch with your confidence, joy, enthusiasm, and self-worth
- Improves brain function and actually lights up your mind
The Meditation Process
Meditation novices often find the process of meditating to be almost mentally uncomfortable at first. Your mind is bound to wander at the beginning, even when you have a guide.
It’s natural to get lost in your thoughts, and it’s not necessarily the goal of meditation to stop thinking entirely or to fully empty the mind. It’s about paying closer attention to your body.
When this happens, acknowledge the thought and then return to the breath as soon as possible. Post-meditation is a great time to observe what thoughts were most present and why.
As you continue your practice, keeping your mind centered will become easier. Remember, there’s no “wrong” way to practice meditation, even when it’s guided. It’s supposed to be about what feels good to you.
Returning to Reality
When the guided portion of your meditation ends, don’t jump back into the hectic pace of your daily life. Allow yourself to end the meditation slowly and remain present in the moment. Gradually become reawakened to the world around you and slowly open your eyes. Return to daily life with renewed invigoration and a clear mind.
Get started with one of the following meditations from Shelly Tygielski:
The Eye of the Storm: Working Through Anxiety (Corona.mp3)
This meditation features a live recording by Shelly Tygielski with meditative music in the background. This anxiety meditation is meant for anyone who is feeling anxiety, worry, or fear; it is intended to help you feel calmer and more peaceful during this time.
This is a live recording by Shelly Tygielski with meditative music in the background. Step into a magical, colorful shower that is healing, relaxing, and refreshing. This guided meditation focuses on the chakras, the energy centers of the body. Through unlocking and cultivating powerful energy and health into your inner being, you will feel your spirit, mind, and body soothed, sending you off into a new day.
Breathing and Learning to Let Go: River Raft Visualization
The purpose of this guided practice is to assist you in the process of letting go, moving on, and accepting whatever you may need to. This practice begins with seven minutes of relaxation and nourishing breathing exercises to help the mind prepare for the visualization of letting go of what doesn’t serve you. The visualization that follows is of a river bank, a floating raft, and labeled boxes that need to be set free from the raft and away into the stream of running water. The vivid imagery used in this practice helps to paint a visual picture and enhance your sense of release and closure.
Lovingkindness (Metta): Ride the Waves of Life
This traditional metta (lovingkindness) practice is perfect for beginners who want to learn this practice or for individuals who wish to be guided with words throughout the whole practice. Lovingkindess meditation is simply a wish for everyone to be happy and to be free from suffering. It helps to cultivate compassion and soften one’s heart toward others — even those we struggle dealing with, or individuals who are unknown to us. The practice begins with a visualization of a loved one, then moves on to oneself, then someone who you have difficulty with, and finally with a visualization of the entire planet and all sentient beings. The main phrases that are repeated in this practice are as follows: “May you have joy and happiness, may you be free from suffering, may you ride the waves of life, and may you have peace, and live with it.”
Elevator of Personal Power and Energy
This guided meditation is a journey to your personal place of power and positivity. The meditation leads you to this space using an energy-infused elevator that is controlled by your breath. It leads you down 10 floors below you, opens its doors to your personal space, and leads you back to the ground floor above you where you find yourself in a more calm, relaxed, and empowered state of being. There is a lot of “guiding” during this meditation, to ensure that you are able to make your way down and back up again. Perfect for really visual meditators.
This practice includes breathing techniques and a full body scan. This practice allows you to enjoy the sensations of release, liberation, and empowerment of the mind and body. Feel yourself become immersed in the soft and powerful words, as you let your muscles relax into a relieved state of stillness and measured calm.
Cultivating Gratitude in All Areas of Our Body, Mind, and Life
This guided practice helps to cultivate gratitude in all areas of one’s life: beginning with the mind, then scanning each area of the body with appreciation, and finally, offering gratitude to those who are known to us, those who are unknown, and to ourselves. This practice will leave you feeling thankful, relaxed, and joyful, with an entirely open heart. Note: This practice was recorded live on the beach, so it contains a minor noise of the breeze in the background.
This guided meditation takes the relaxed mind into a guided visual journey of the body as a rooting tree, connecting deep into the core of the earth, then sprouting up through each chakra and culminating through the crown chakra, before bursting into branches of a blossoming tree. Feel yourself become grounded, connected, and blissfully whole.
Journey to a Deserted Tropical Island
This guided practice is perfect for those who want to be led on a journey from the edge of a shoreline on a beach to a beautiful, deserted tropical island. The journey will lead you to a winding path through an ancient forest, a path that ultimately leads to a secluded and still, healing pond. It leaves the listener feeling refreshed, healed, invigorated, and relaxed.