by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~
Peacefulmind.com

There are many meditation methods. Some are passive — such as observing the breath. Others are active — in the sense that you actually do something like repeating a word or mantra. The meditations that you will find here will help you develop on many levels. No matter what style or form you follow, meditation should always be gentle. Do not force anything. Allow your efforts to flow naturally and effortlessly.

Letting Go. Fold your hands gently in your lap and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Then just sit. If you have never meditated before, you will probably feel as if your mind is full of thoughts. Don’t try to stop the thoughts, just watch them. Imagine that you are on the bank of a river and that your thoughts are the river going by. Don’t try to stop the river, just watch it. Within a week, you will see the river begin to slow down. You may become impatient, or even bored. That’s okay. If you find yourself complaining, just watch the thoughts pass by. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes. You may find that you fall asleep because you are so relaxed. That’s good because, in many ways, you have begun to let go. Continue at this pace and each day allow just a little more time for yourself to meditate. Doing this allows you to relax and forget about time.

Progressive Relaxation is just that. A slow transition from a tense, immobile state to a calmer more supple mind and body. This is a way of releasing tension in the muscles. There are many variations of Progressive Relaxation. Here is one of them:

Begin by laying on your back in a comfortable position.

Take a series of deep slow breaths and then focus your awareness on different parts of the body in turn, becoming aware of any muscular tension and releasing it.

One way to do this is to first tense a muscle deliberately and then relax it.

You can start with the top of the body, tensing and relaxing the muscles of the upper face, then moving on to the jaw, neck, chest, front of the arms, abdomen, thighs, lower legs, feet, and toes.

Then do the same down the back of the body. Finally, lie still with the eyes closed, concentrating on your breath. Allow the whole body to relax into the ground. Feel the floor underneath you, supporting you. Feel the earth supporting the floor. Feel yourself now deeply rooted and grounded into the earth beneath you.

Enjoying this deep feeling of peace and freedom from muscular tension.

Researchers have documented immediate benefits in terms of lowered blood pressure, decreased heart and respiratory rate, increased blood flow, and other measurable signs of the relaxation response. Meditation will calm an agitated mind, creating optimal physical and mental health, undo our sense of separateness, which is the common root of fear and misery, unify consciousness, putting us in touch with our higher self and connect us to higher consciousness. Meditation restructures the mind, allowing us to achieve our full potential as human beings.

Are you ready to get started?