Guided Meditation

A guided meditation is another excellent meditation for beginners, as it allows you to basically tag along to a narrated inner journey. Usually someone with experience in meditation will lead such a meditation. This person provides guidence. Such guidence is not so much about what to do, or how to meditate. It is usually a 'story' or 'narrative' that describes an 'inner journey'.

Inner journeys provide extremely powerful ways to experience your own inner world, your own world of imaginations. At the same time, however, they also represent archetypal experiences that are shared by all people. This may sound like a contradiction. How can something be personal as well as universal? Just look at any good piece of artwork. A piece of art is usually an expression not only of the artist's own ideas and feelings. It also resonates with universal values, truths, ideas and feelings that every person can recreate within by experiencing that particular piece of art.

The same is true for this type of meditation. They are narrative pieces of art, expressing both individual experiences as well as universal, archetypal ones. As a meditation for beginners it can be a very good way to experience first-hand the potential of meditation to help with a wide range of life challenges (some of which will be discussed in other sections). The inner imagery that can be evoked through a story or narrative is often symbolic of experiences or events in the subconscious mind/body. This means that these images could help in addressing issues that are very hard to solve at the rational level of the conscious mind. The inner journey may provide a level of healing that is very hard to reach consciously.

Here is an example of a very simply guided meditation for beginners. It is best if you have someone read this out to you while you sit with your eyes closed. But once you have the basic knack of meditating in silence, you could try and memorise the story and then recreate it in your imagination as if it was a real experience. This is the key: it needs to be as real as possible so that when you return to the here and now you feel as if you actually experienced it:

Guided meditation exercise

Step 1

Make yourself comfortable, as usual. Feet on the floor, back supported, hands in lap. Or you could lie down, but you may fall asleep more easily.

Step 2

Three deep breaths, in, out, all the way, empty your lungs and inhale deeply, expanding your lower abdomen.

Step 3

Carry out a brief global body scan, letting go of any obvious tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, back, pelvis and legs.

Step 4

Keep still, keep breathing, allow yourself to relax. Then imagine getting up and walking out of the front door. The moment you step outside the building you find yourself in a sunny, green meadow.

All around you there are wild flowers and the green lush grass stands tall as far as you can see. You suddenly spot a narrow path that has been trodden through the grass and flowers. So you step onto it and follow it through the high grass. You can smell the fragrant air. You hear birds chirping overhead. You can spread your arms and let the tall grass slide through your hands as you meander through the field, following the path.

After a while you notice a quaint house in the distance, standing by itself. It is round. The windows are round. The top of the door is curved and even the whole outside structure is domed. It looks like a friendly place and you walk up to the front door and knock. There is no reply. You knock again, but nothing happens.

You look through the lower windows, but all seems dark inside, so you decide to walk around the back of the house to see if there is another way in. At the back you discover a small fountain, with trickling, sparkling water that runs from a spout and drops into a wide basin. You are thirsty. The water looks clean to drink, so you cup your hands under the flowing water. You drink the water. It is cool and light and you sense it move into your body and cleanse you.

A second time you bend over the fountain but something drops out of the collar of your shirt. There is a key on a string around your neck. Amazed, you grasp it and immediately you feel overwhelmed by joy and anticipation. You continue your circle around the back of the house, until you return to the front door.

You insert the key in the lock and the door swings open with ease. You enter. You are all alone, but you sense that others before you have visited this place. There is an air of welcome and you discover a small basket with some bread on the table. You sit down and eat the bread slowly. When you finish eating, you remain seated for a while, soaking up the peace and quiet and enjoying the warmth of the bread in your stomach.

After a while, you get up. You mutter a word of thanks, perhaps to the walls, or to the whole house. How strange! You walk out and lock the door.

You now see that the trodden path through the grass continues alongside the house and then back around the other side of a pond that you didn't even know was there. You tuck the key into your shirt and set off.

You return safely to the front door of you building. For a moment, you hesitate, taking a deep breath, but then step into the familiar building. You go back into the room and sit down on the chair.

Gently, you return to the here and now, open your eyes and take in your surroundings. Breath deeply.

After the meditation
Remember that after a meditation, it is a good idea to spend a few minutes reflecting on the experience. You could write down what it was like for you in your own personal journal. Give yourself time to resume your normal activities, after drinking a glass of water.

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