Relaxing, quieting the mind, and practicing letting go of thoughts
Meditation is a practice of giving the mind a simple point of focus (breathing, a mantra, etc.), bringing it back to the point of focus when it gets involved in thinking or other perceptions, and, in that way, training it to both be open to experiences, and to let go of them. It is a simple practice, yet very powerful, because it sharpens our ability to be in the present moment, and lessens our identification with, and attachment to, our discursive, thinking mind, emotions, and sensations- all of which come and go, and are not ultimate Reality.
Here is a method of meditation that I’ve been using:
1. Sit comfortably upright, in a chair or in a traditional meditation posture on a cushion
2. Begin to be aware of your natural breathing, through the nose- either the feeling of the air going in and out, the subtle sound of it, or both
3. Starting at the top of the head, relax all the muscles in the body, one area at a time, all the way down to your toes (and throughout practice, whenever you notice an area of tension in the body, relax it).
4. Continue focusing on the sensation of breathing through your nose.
5. When thoughts, perceptions, or sensations arise, acknowledge them, and return to the breath.
6. If you find your mind has gotten “lost in thought”, simply acknowledge that, and return to the breath without judgment- this is normal!
7. When you feel it is the right time (i.e., you are relaxed, your mind has gotten quieter, and you feel open), move on to Contemplation.
Calling on the Higher Power to open one’s awareness to Its Presence
The Higher Power can be directly experienced as a Presence, an Intelligence, within one’s consciousness. I’ve experienced It as a Loving Intelligence, and have communicated with It: expressing in the form of feelings and words, and receiving mostly intuitive, feeling responses. Its Presence is always there; only our awareness of It comes and goes. To become aware of It, it is necessary to let go of everything and open up to It completely. When we do this in daily practice, and throughout the day, it becomes easier to be aware of this Loving Presence, until it becomes a constant Companion and Source of Love and Guidance!!
1. After a time of meditation, when you feel it’s the right time, call on the Higher Power with words of your choice (e.g., “Loving Spirit”, “Divine Presence”, “Loving God”)
2. Open to awareness of the Presence of the Higher Power, which may appear as a loving feeling, a voice, etc.
3. If you perceive any resistance- thoughts, doubts, tension, even just a vague feeling of resistance- let them go and relax.
4. In the openness and the letting go, you may feel a loving feeling of Light healing your resistance and other obstructions. Accept it and open to it!
5. Go with the flow- you may be inspired to give thanks, express love, etc….
Asking the Higher Power for guidance, and listening for answers
The Higher Power’s intent is creativity, expansion, and good. Being omniscient, It has the answers for our highest good. These answers, this guidance, can be accessed in daily practice, and we can open to it throughout the day, as well. It often comes in the form of intuitive feelings, but, once one is open to it, things just seem to fall into place- situations, people, and information appearing at just the right time! Asking for and opening to this guidance in daily practice makes it easier and more natural to be open to all of this during daily life.
1. After meditation, and while in awareness of the Presence in contemplation, ask the Higher Power, “What is the highest vision for ____ (this relationship, job, situation, project, etc.)?”
2. As during contemplation, open your awareness to receive any kind of answer (it could be verbal, an intuitive feeling, etc.).
3. Also as during contemplation, release any kind of resistance to receiving answers.
Mentally sending positive intentions for self, others, and the world to the Higher Power.
It has been scientifically proven that our intentions have the power to affect reality, especially when they are accompanied by strong feeling. (Books such as “The Intention Experiment” by Lynne McTaggart, and "Messages from Water", by Masaru Emoto, and the movie “What The Bleep Do We Know” document these experiments). Some quantum physicists characterize the Higher Power as “a unified Field of infinite possibility”, and our intentions (our thoughts) have the power to affect this Field, converting some of Its Infinite Power of possibility into concrete circumstances. This could also be stated as, “Prayer works!”- but rather than prayer as a supplication, or “making a deal with God”, this is affirmative prayer: an acknowledgment that the good desired is already accomplished in the Mind of God, or the Unified Field! Sending these intentions also changes the sender- making one an instrument of good that carries over into ones’ life!
1. After a time of meditation and contemplation, focus on your intention for the good of yourself, another person, a group, or the world.
2. Hold that intention for a few minutes. Visualize the positive result if you wish. Continue your focus until you get an intuitive feeling that the intention has become a reality.
3. Let go of the intention, releasing it to the Higher Power.
4. Give thanks.