A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation


Meditation has now been medically and scientifically linked to increased health and wellness. Benefits can include easing tension, anxiety, depression and chronic pain; enhancing short-term memory, focus and concentration; and more.

For those who may be skeptical, have never tried meditation, or perhaps did not have a good first experience, perhaps it’s time to consider—or to reconsider—giving Guided Meditation a try.

Guided Meditation can be a respite, a well-deserved mini vacation, a safe-haven during a stressful day and a place where self-healing can begin.

Guided Meditation asks three things of us:

  1. to visit our inner world through the eyes of a child by connecting to our imagination

  2. to create a shift in our autonomic nervous system by consciously changing the rate and depth of our breathing

  3. to remain present and focused on what is happening in the here and now

Accomplishing these tasks can create what I like to call a state of balance—a state of bliss. This is a state in which the mind and body act in unison—a place where self-healing can begin.

Let’s explore each of these three ideas in more depth.

Imagination

We connect to our imagination by using our 5 internal senses—seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. Once activated, the imagination becomes the bridge to our subconscious. It is the subconscious that shapes the way we react to, and interact with, the world around us. It is the subconscious that never waivers from our highest purpose, our highest good, our true path.

Breath

How we breathe—deep and slow vs shallow and quick—has an enormous effect on how our body functions. Shallow chest breathing occurs when we are stressed and is a product of the fight-or-flight mode. Deep and slow belly breathing signifies that we are relaxed and in the rest-and-digest mode. As our body can only function in one mode at a time, by consciously breathing deeply and slowly, we can shift our body into relaxation mode.

Mindfulness, or being present

The trickiest part of Guided Meditation, for some, is to quiet the mind and remain present. Employing one of these two techniques can be useful when we wish to reconnect with the present.

  1. The first technique is to focus on our breath. This means to purposefully follow one or more breath cycles until we become present again. A breath cycle consists of an “in breath” and “out breath.” We follow our breath as the breath enters through our nose, travels down and into the belly and then as the breath rises up and out.

  2. The second technique is to visualize a giant red stop sign in front of us. The stop sign can instantly bring our minds back to the present, to the here and now.

With Guided Meditation, my philosophy is that we will experience what we are meant to experience and whatever we experience will always be for our highest good. There is no right or wrong. Every experience is personal, every experience is unique and every experience is healing.

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Diane MacDonald, Raincoast Elemental Wellness and Consulting Inc. is dedicated to supporting those who help others - the caregivers among us - to help them release stress and avoid burnout. Using a range of holistic relaxation techniques, including reflexology, guided meditation, reiki, touch for health, and specialized kinesiology, Diane provides the gift of relaxation in a safe and open space which is devoted to the self-care and self-healing of her clients.


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