What is and how does guided meditation work?
Guided meditation is a form of meditation that is done with a guide to make the concentration process easier. The guide can be in the same room, remote (for example through teleconference or video conference) or pre-recorded.
As with all forms of meditation, it is a technique that will connect with our inner world. Like all practices we seek to perfect and obtain the benefits it offers, it's important to to meditate correctly and this can be tough; especially in meditation in which sometimes the harder we try, the further we get from our goal! To help with this, we use experts who guide us.
Guided meditation takes a range of forms, but most often it uses words and images as tools to gently guide us through a progressive form of relaxation and then to centre our thoughts (normally upon our breath). It can help to get rid of the worries that 'we're doing it wrong'or that perhaps we won't make it into a meditative state.
The guide is often a spiritual guide or a guru, who intends to give instructions to people, to induce them to a state of relaxation.
Benefits of meditation as a guided practice
People who practice meditation can choose to meditate in a guided way to change the perspective of their reality, in different situations. For example, a person who is feeling stressed can do a guided meditation to de-stress. If you can't sleep, you might follow a guided meditation to help you sleep.
In addition to topics such as stress, there are also guided meditations for happiness, self-esteem, to control anxiety, to feel gratitude, among other important topics of our internal world. It doesn't stop there - search a bit and you'll find guided meditation programmes for just about anything!
Meditation is also one of the best options for those who are new to meditation because it is a simple way to learn to meditate.
Despite the 'guided' aspect of this form of meditation, it's still vital to maintain the practice of meditating with constancy and determination. Every single day, we are bombarded by a seemingly infinite number of stimuli, information, and distractions that make our mind constantly wander in thoughts.
When you start with a guided meditation programme you may notice that for the first few days it is more difficult to achieve a full meditative state, but with the passage of time, this practice becomes much easier and more rewarding, so don't give up.
At first, you will feel how thoughts constantly interrupt concentration, but soon you will learn to ignore them. For this reason, listening to the voice of someone who guides or melodies, makes concentrating the attention somewhat easier.
Guided meditation can be in tune with personal goals, such as "being a healthier person, or learning to deal with situations that are out of your control."
Types of guided meditation
There are traditional guided meditations, relaxation and body scanning, visualization meditation, and affirmation meditation.
All of these are specialities of guided meditation, and they help to focus the mind on something specific, with the purpose of allowing you to release the thoughts for a moment of the day.
In addition, this type of meditation has the purpose of making people have new tools for life. Perspective, visualization, relaxation, and calm are some of those tools, we often think of this as mindfullness.
In the traditional type of meditation, the voice of a person guides with the intention of bringing the listener to a meditative state. In this meditation there are many voiceless spaces and pauses, to bring the meditator into a state of mindfulness. This is entirely normal. You are not paying for the word count!
Guided relaxation and scanning meditations are a technique that helps induce deep relaxation in the body of the person meditating. This is the main purpose, and it is usually accompanied by sounds that are heard in nature, such as waterfalls, a song of birds, natural sounds or 'binaural beats'.
Meditation with visualization generates a meditative process that involves the imagination. It combines relaxation with the visualization of images, with the purpose of giving a message to the subconscious mind. Images can provoke positive emotions.
What to look for in course
When looking for a suitable meditation for you, you should think about those areas of your life that you want to improve. Maybe you want to reduce the level of stress you have, improve your physical health, or have a moment with yourself where you can connect deeply.
Guided meditations have the advantage of addressing many topics, and you simply have to look for those of your interest to begin to perceive improvements in your daily life. Make sure your guide is an expert in meditation and someone with a higher level of consciousness.
Just 10 or 15 minutes of meditation a day will make your perspective and your way of acting, synchronize with a higher level of consciousness.