It can be really effective to use guided meditations to support your psychological healing, learning and growth. Use these regularly to help you relax, get to know yourself better, practice compassion, and engage in mindfulness.
I have recorded some mindfulness-based meditations and visualizations to support my clients who are integrating mindfulness into their new way of being. When you click the links to the following mp3 files, a new window will open and the recording will begin to play.
This recording lasts less than five minutes. It is a visualization that can help you get calm and grounded in your body. This is a lovely thing to do before beginning a Mindfulness Meditation. It is taken from the book "Grieving Mindfully," by Sumeet Kumar. Enjoy.
This recording lasts less than four minutes. It is a guided instruction on walking mindfully, taken from Sameet Kumar's book "The Mindful Path through Worry and Rumination." Practicing Mindfulness during out most automatic actions helps to bring us into our bodies, out of our head's chatter, and into the present moment.
This recording lasts nine and a half minutes. Becoming aware of our physical selves is a very accessible way to get out of our heads and into the present moment. We aren't often invited or reminded to notice our own bodies fully, part by part. You may never have contemplated how your knuckle feels in this moment or how your calf muscle feels. This guided meditation leads you through an intentional discovery with each part of your body and encourages you to connect with the sensation, acknowledge it, allow it to relax and then move on to the next part. This practice parallels the mindful practice of noticing and naming your thoughts then letting them roll on as you come back to your awareness of breath.
This recording lasts eight minutes. This Loving-Kindness meditation is from Buddhism, called metta practice. By using this practice of sending loving wishes to yourself and others, you can gain relief from negativity, self-hatred, anger, insecurity or resistance to change. The traditional ways to cultivate metta start with oneself. The Buddha said, "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." It is said that diligent metta practice brings easy sleep, pleasant dreams, protection from danger, a radiant face, a serene mind, and an unconfused death. (www.opendharma.org)
Once the the words in this meditation are familiar to you, you may experiment with other wishes or with a focus other than words, such as visualization or the simple sense of love. To explore other wishes, reflect on your deepest wishes, give yourself time and space to find your own words in your own language to express two or three or four of these deep wishes. Some of the traditional wishes are to be safe, happy, peaceful, free from suffering/danger/fear, to live at ease. A lovely practice for those of us struggling with efforts to change others is this wish for equanimity, "I wish for your happiness but cannot make your choices. I will care for you but cannot keep you from suffering. May we be undisturbed by comings and goings. May we accept things as they are. All beings are the owners of their actions. Their happiness or suffering depends upon their actions, not upon my wishes."
This recording lasts about six minutes. Once you learn the three steps, the whole exercise will take you about three minutes. Use this practice as the first step in dealing with difficult situations and feelings. Taken from the book "The Mindful Way through Depression" by Teasdale, et. al., this practice was developed to give you a way to allow a deliberate change of stance toward what is going on, in any given moment. This practice forges a direct link between your formal meditative mindfulness practices and your daily life. It is a way of acknowledging what is going on for you, then steadying your mind, then you are able to be grounded and present. From that place you can have a much more effective and appropriate response to the difficulty than from any old groove of stories born of rumination.
This recording lasts about eight and a half minutes. Many people find yoga stretches really helpful in their mindfulness practice. If you have a hard time maintaining stillness during Body Scan or Meditation, practicing yoga can be especially effective in grounding us in the here and now. These sorts of movements can also often provide "louder" body sensations to focus on than simply trying to tune into your body during a Scan or Meditation. In this way, we may find it easier to gather our attention and focus our awareness if we begin with Yoga. Furthermore, stretching helps us release stored up tension, and when we release that tension we can be freed from the emotions that are connected to it.