Using Guided Meditation to Improve Your Meditation Practice
Being someone who enjoys and teaches meditation, I’ve tried them all: mantras, silent, being mindful and even guided. I wanted to compile some of my favorite simple and easy guided meditations.
Though I prefer silent meditation to all the others, guided meditations really do have their place. They also offer lots of benefits, too.
A guided meditation is exactly what it sounds like: meditation that incorporates music, poetry or some other media to help guide and focus the mind into and during meditation.
I will share my experiences here, but I will also list some notable resources that I have found around the web, should you decide to try one.
Scripted Guided Meditation Can Help You Answer Life’s Most Important Questions
One of the first types of guided meditation that I have done is where I’ve read some sort of script and then would use that to guide my meditation.
I found one years ago online that I liked, but since it was so long ago, I no longer know where to find it, or if it still exists. But no matter: I can share the gist of what that was like and what happened.
A guided meditation to find answers
The particular script below was designed to help answer a question. It could have been a question about life, about a current problem, and any other question that required some insight to answer.
It went something like this:
Imagine you are walking on the beach. The day is clear, but it is windy.
As you walk, you come to a place with a door.
You open the door and see a table.
On the table is a pen and paper.
Picking up the pen and paper, you write a question that you need answered.
Then, you drop it in the slot in a box next to the table.
After a few moments, the paper slips out at the bottom.
You open it, but instead of your question, the paper has the answer.
You read the answer and experience gratitude that you have received this message.
How I Would Use the Script
Basically I would familiarize myself with the script and then begin a meditation session by breathing and closing my eyes. When I felt calm and centered, I would then go into the scripted sequence above and ask my question. Afterward, I’d continue breathing, thankful I’d received my answer, and finish my meditation.
This would all last about 20 minutes.
I used this script to answer several different questions at the time. I found it to be effective. The answers I received came either from my own intuition or from my angels – late family members, friends and people who have influenced me.
Other Guided Meditation Scripts
Granted, this was back in 2011 when I was really discovering this type of meditation. This was also when there weren’t nearly as many videos and podcasts that address the same topics. I have found a lot more scripts and documents back then.
Kelly Howell Guided Meditations
As the number of guided video meditations came out, I began to try those out more. My instant favorite? Kelly Howell.
I originally found her “Manifest Your Destiny Meditation” on Youtube. It has since been taken down, but she does have several free videos you can try.
Upon discovering Howell’s videos, I learned about different brainwaves: the active alpha waves, and the sleep-related brainwaves theta and delta.
That discovery led me to read more on brain wave technology and binaural beats to help induce a state of meditation.
I listened to this particular video for four or five weeks. The recommendation is actually six weeks.
I personally really liked this meditation, but…I never felt quite as centered and calm as when I did just “plain old silent” meditation. I don’t know if it was all the “added noise” or use of technology with such an ancient practice, but, overall, it I always felt like it was still beneficial.
Om Mani Padme Hum – Mantra and Guided Meditation
Sometime in 2013, I discovered the mantra, “Om Mani Padme Hum.” It is a Tibetan mantra of compassion. They say that every time a person utters this mantra, someone is released into a higher life from a lower life form. Whether you buy into that or not, whispering words of pure compassion are invariably good for your own soul.
There is no direct translation for this mantra. They say it embodies all of the Buddha’s teachings into one phrase. If you try to translate it, it’s something like “I bow to the jewel in the lotus.”
If you know more than one language, you’ll know that translation isn’t always possible: there’s a cultural nuance and understanding there. “Jewel in the lotus” doesn’t immediately make sense in English.
But then as I read various websites on the gist of its meaning, I discovered the utter vastness of this phrase.
The meaning of om mani padme hum
“Om” is essentially the sound of the universe.
“Mani” embodies altruism and the desire to achieve enlightenment.
“Padme” sort of gets at wisdom and the idea of impermanence such that one rejects greed and embraces an almost “emptiness” – a detachment from greed and material things.
Finally, “hum” is like “one consciousness” and purity.
This is a very pared-down translation here. This mantra just embodies so much such that it can help you to ascend to a higher consciousness on your way to enlightenment.
I still often repeat this mantra to myself as I go about my day – when I’m walking or taking a moment to just breathe.
Listen to a soundtrack of this mantra as a guided meditation
I found a free audio at diydharma.org. You can download it and listen for free whenever you’d like.
The pronunciation isn’t quite what you would think it would be. If you listen to this audio from Tibetan monks singing this mantra over and over again, you not only hear the beautiful pronunciation, but also, you can instantly recognize the meditative power of this mantra.
Some drawbacks to using recorded guided meditations
I have felt that with guided meditation, it was easier to control my thoughts. You listen to a soundtrack and follow along.
The thing is, when I had something external guiding my meditation, I just never achieved the feeling of “being in touch with myself” as much as when I meditated on my own, in silence. I seem to do better without technology.
Don’t get me wrong: they have their place and I still do them. I think they’re important to help me visualize my future (and therefore realize it) and to answer pressing questions.
Before starting guided meditations with theta or delta waves, understand that they have the power to make you drowsy. These shouldn’t be your “go-to” for background music or for more active meditation.
The Verdict on Guided Meditation
Guided meditations – at least for me – are wonderful in that they can help you achieve a specific goal: to get a question answered, and to help focus your mind on the task at hand.
They are another way to train your mind to focus.
Use guided meditations in addition to a regular meditation practice
In my experience, they are better used in addition to a regular meditation practice, but not as the only thing that you do.
You just don’t get quite the deep feeling of contentment and centering that you get just by sitting silently.
But used together, these are a powerful way of calming the mind.
Do you use guided meditation? What’s your favorite?