Regardless of your experience or familiarity with meditation, sitting alone in silence can at times be challenging. Guided meditations are a great tool to focus your mind, kindle your imagination, and enliven your practice.
We react to our experiences with emotional responses. These emotions can be positive and joyous or depressive and anxious. Unfortunately, we spend much of our day in a stressful state rushing to work or a meeting, completing a task, responding to messages, paying bills. We easily become overwhelmed, ending each day feeling exhausted and depleted. This cycle drives a pattern of anxiety and depression, and we often don’t even realize that we are going through this until we finally crash and say, “I’m depressed” or “I have anxiety”.
Meditation allows us to root ourselves in the present and tune-in to our current emotional state. With practice, we can watch the rise of emotions and halt negative ones before they drive a shift in our mood. For example, a good morning at work can easily turn sour when a problem arises and makes you frustrated. If you don’t recognize the rise of the emotion and intervene, you allow the emotion to drive your mood for the rest of the day. This guided meditation will lead you to a greater awareness of your emotional state so you can stay balanced through the ups and downs of each day, warding off negative emotions and moods.
Whether guiding yourself or another through this meditation, allow for a comfortable pause of several deep breaths between techniques. You may want to return to or pause on one exercise for a longer time. Enjoy!
Emotion & Healing
The great spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy, said, “Emotion tells us that the ever-increasing life-energy is constantly flowing through us, renewing and revitalizing our inner being.”
Begin by finding a tall seat. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs and gently close your eyes. Bring your awareness to your breath. Observe the sensations as your breath moves in and out of your body. Allow each breath to calm your body and mind; focus your awareness on the present moment. (pause to practice breath awareness)
Tune in to your current mood – ask yourself, “How do I feel?” Notice the subtle emotions without forcing a shift or trying to control anything. Simply observe and accept how you feel. (pause) Now, inhale and watch as your breath expands first your belly, then rises into and widens your chest. On your exhales, watch your breath as it descends, first contracting your chest then pressing your belly towards your spine. Keep this cycle going as you slow your breath, consciously making your exhales just a hair longer than your inhales. (pause)
Now visualize a blue sky. Watch as one cloud slowly passes. Then another. In between clouds, there are periods of bright blue sky. Emotions are like the clouds. They may come, but they always pass. Recall an obstacle or an issue that you are facing in your life. Visualize a cloud and inhale an awareness of the issue or obstacle in your life. The cloud may grow larger or darker. Focus on the issue and the image of the cloud. Now, exhale and release your awareness of the cloud and your trouble. Let your focus rest on a blue sky and a sense of ease. On your inhales, imagine a sensation of peace growing in the center of your chest. On your exhales, let the feeling of peace wash your troubles away.
The emotion life force is a gift, the blessing of terrestrial existence from Mother Nature. Feel that pulsation and connection to creation within you. (pause)
Now, as you breathe in, become aware of all the forces and energies- millions of years of evolution coming together and creating your wondrous mind; the ability to create, to envision, to know ourselves. Bring your awareness to a single thought or a single word that speaks to you of your highest awareness. Examples include AUM, PEACE, LOVE, and GOD. On your inhales, repeat the word inwardly. Feel the emotion associated with the thought or word. On your exhales, visualize and feel that emotion shower down through your body.
Continue with this technique for as long as you’d like. When you are ready to move on, release the inner repetition and return to an awareness of your breath, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.
Notice how you feel now and if your emotions have shifted since the start of the meditation. Remember that you have the power to disconnect from your emotions. Like clouds, they will always pass by and peace, blue skies, will come. Take a minute to breathe with the feeling you’ve created and try to hold on to that as you move on with your day.
Sujantra McKeever is the founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, which serves over 1,000 yogis a week, and also helped create Pilgrimage Yoga Online. He is the author of five books on eastern philosophy, success and meditation. Sujantra studied meditation with spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy and has lectured on meditation and yoga in over 30 countries.