© 2005 by Corinne McLaughlin
Developing a regular meditation practice over
the last 30 years has been the most important aspect of my life, both in
terms of my spiritual growth and the effectiveness of my service in the
world. I’d like to share with you some of what I’ve learned about types,
benefits and techniques of meditation, especially the Creative Meditation
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a journey deeper into your true self,
your true home. Meditation is bringing your attention inward, and
allowing your mind to settle into stillness. It is withdrawing your
attention from the periphery of your consciousness into the center.
Meditation is the mind’s power to hold itself steady
in the Light and in that Light to become aware of your higher purpose,
your life’s mission. Meditation is called the Science of Light because it
works with the substance of Light. Visualization is the secret of all
true meditation work in the early stages.
An especially powerful time to meditate and invoke
higher spiritual forces is each month at the time of the full moon. This
is because spiritual energy can flow in unimpeded, as the moon is stands
on the far side of the earth, away from the sun, so the full light of the
sun (symbolic of spirit) can radiate to the earth. There are thousands of
groups around the world who hold special meditations at this time and link
up with each other as they visualize a network of Light around the world.
called a “practice” -- because it improves with practice. The more you
practice, the better it gets. Meditation is like exercising an inner
While prayer is often called “talking to God,”--
praising God or asking God for something, meditation is called listening
to God -- deep inner listening.
Meditation is for everyone, whatever your spiritual
path, Eastern or Western, if you sincerely wish to grow spiritually and be
of service to others. Right motive is the key to effective meditation.
The goal in
meditation is to still your body, emotions and mind, to integrate them
with each other as a unit, and then align them with your higher self or
soul. Achieving this stillness creates the energetic field for listening
to your higher self and to God. From this can come an experience of inner
peace and inspiration.
Types of Meditation
The approach used in meditation can be of several types or combinations of
Concentration – steadying the mind and focusing
energy and attention on an issue or task
Contemplation – reflecting on the deeper meaning of
a seed thought (such as compassion)
Mindfulness – observing with detachment the
contents of the mind and labeling sensations, feelings, thoughts in
order to deepen wisdom and insight into the nature of reality
Receptive –inner listening to receive impressions
and inner guidance
Creative – using the mind to build positive
pictures and giving them life and direction with the thought energy of
the mind (such as a visualization for healing)
Invocative – calling in higher energy (such as
invoking the Christ or the Buddha)
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation helps to reduce stress, and develops a
sense of inner peace, joy, and strength. Scientific tests have shown that
meditation can lower your blood pressure, improve your memory and
creativity, and strengthen your immune system.
On a spiritual level, meditation strengthens your
intuition, opens your heart, and helps clear out negative emotions. It
helps you purify and discipline your mind, awakening and freeing it in
order to directly perceive reality or truth. Meditation helps you develop
detachment from physical and emotional reactions to outer events, through
what’s called “the stance of the observer.” And most importantly,
meditation strengthens your alignment with your soul and helps you
discover your higher purpose in life.
Establishing a Regular Rhythm and Place
It’s important to
find a regular, comfortable place to meditate each day, where you won’t be
disturbed. Meditating in the same place each day builds up a vibration
there and makes it easier to meditate each time you use it. Clean and
dedicate this area to create a sacred space, adding inspirational
pictures, flowers, candle, incense, etc.
Establishing a regular rhythm with your meditation is
essential. Ten minutes each day is better than an hour every once in
awhile, as it creates a regular habit pattern and rhythm. Morning is best,
as you are fresher at that time, and not yet caught up in the day’s
activities. Meditation in the morning sets the right note for the day. It
connects you with higher spiritual energies and a sense of purpose. If you
are just learning to meditate, the maximum length should be about thirty
minutes. Before meditating, wait at least an hour after eating and several
hours after drinking alcohol.
An especially powerful time to meditate and invoke
higher spiritual forces is each month at the time of the full moon. This
is because spiritual energy can flow in unimpeded, as the moon is
reflecting the full light of the sun. There are thousands of groups
around the world who hold special meditations at this time and link up
with each other as they visualize a network of Light around the world.
It’s best to take a scientific approach to meditation
-- experiment with different techniques and study the results. Proceed
slowly and with caution. Meditation should be in balance as part of the
rhythm of daily living. Observe the effects on your life.
Align your posture and relax your
physical body. It’s best to
sit up straight with your chakras or energy centers perpendicular to
gravity. If you lie down, you may become too relaxed and fall asleep.
Your hands can be folded in lap, or with palms up or down on your thighs.
Your eyes should be closed, or if this is uncomfortable, leave them open
and focus on one thing in front of you. You can tighten up each muscle
group, beginning with your neck and shoulders, and then relax it (or you
can do stretching exercises or yoga before meditation to relax your
body). Appreciate and send love to your physical, emotional and mental
bodies before you begin the meditation, holding an attitude of
cooperation, rather than suppression, of each aspect of your personality.
It’s important to stay relaxed, yet aware and awake.
Focus on your breath. Breathing in peace and
stillness, and exhaling any tensions or worries. Deep breathing helps
energize you as you bring in more prana or life force. Create a
regular rhythm of inbreath, holding the breath, then outbreath. You can
count to seven as you breathe in, hold it for a few moments, and then
exhale to the count of seven (or whatever rhythm works best for you) and
release the cares of the day each time you exhale. If your mind wanders
and you become distracted, always come back to the breath. With each
breath, allow yourself to become lighter and lighter and more expanded.
Experience the pause between the breaths expanding into infinity.
Still your emotions. Observe your feelings, as
if you’re watching a movie -- the melodrama of your own life. Become a
detached observer, just noticing what’s going on, without reacting.
If you’re experiencing fear or anger or
negative emotions, you can transform them by seeing your feelings as a
ball of energy in your solar plexus chakra (at your navel). Visualize
moving this energy upward to your heart, in order to transform these
feelings into positive, loving energy. You can actually see it as a ball
of energy, or you can just hold the intention of moving the energy up to
Another technique for calming your
emotions is to visualize a calm, clear lake, reflecting the sun on a
beautiful day; the water symbolizes your emotions; the sun symbolizes your
soul or higher self. You visualize the lake being very still so it can
reflect the sun clearly.
Calm your mind: You do not forget the mind in
meditation; you learn to still it. There is a difference here, because in
meditation you are quieting the lower, rational mind and working with the
higher, abstract mind. You are learning to focus the mind like a
searchlight into the higher realms, in order to receive impressions and
new ideas that can help humanity. The mind is held steady in the light,
perceiving a still greater light, the light of the soul which infuses it.
A good technique for calming the mind is to become a
detached observer, noticing your thoughts without trying to stop or change
them, and without judging them. Simply label thoughts that arise as
“thinking”; label emotions as “feelings”; label physical experiences or
discomforts as “sensations”. In the East, this is the beginning step of
what’s called Vipassana or Insight meditation.
Another approach to help establish the observer (or
soul) consciousness, from Psychosynthesis, by disidentifying from your
physical, emotional and mental bodies, is to say inwardly, “I observe
sensations in my physical body; I have a body, I appreciate it as the
temple of my spirit, but I am not my body. I observe feelings in my
emotional body; I have emotions, I appreciate my emotions, but I am not my
emotions. I observe thoughts in my mental body; I have a mind, I
appreciate my mind, but I am not my mind. I can observe each aspect of my
personality, but I am much more than this. I am a center of pure
consciousness and awareness.” Then focus your attention fully in the
present, letting go of worries about the past or future: be here now.
Another technique for stilling the mind is
to listen inwardly to the sound inside your head and keep your attention
focused on it. Or you can repeat a mantra (a simple word or phrase) over
and over, such as “peace” or “OM”
Visualization is also an effective technique for
stilling the mind, because energy follows thought. You can visualize pure
white light pouring in through the chakra at the top of your head, called
“the crown center”, and see the light circulating throughout your body, as
you feel lighter and more expanded.
Align with your Soul or Higher Self: Many
meditation techniques end with stilling the mind, but Creative Meditation
goes a step further and uses the mind and the will to penetrate into the
higher spiritual realms, the realm of your soul or higher self, and to
align with the great enlightened Teachers of humanity in all spiritual
traditions, such as the Christ, the Buddha, etc.
This is a more esoteric approach called “building the
rainbow bridge,” or the antahkarana as its called in the East. You
literally build strands of light from each of your bodies--physical,
emotional, mental to their higher spiritual counterparts. You raise your
consciousness to the higher vibratory frequency of your soul.
If you’re new to meditation, a simple way to do this
is to visualize lines of rainbow light passing through what’s called the
crown chakra or energy center at the top of your head, and then
visualizing this light connecting to a star above your head, representing
your soul and the higher spiritual realms.
(If you’re a more experienced meditator, you can
focus your energy in your ajna center, the brow chakra in the
middle of your forehead, and then visualize a strand of rainbow light from
the plane of the lower, rational mind to the plane of the higher, abstract
mind or manas as it’s called in the East; visualize a strand from
the plane of the emotions to the plane of intuition or buddhi; and
from the physical plane to atma or the plane of the higher will
aligned with God’s will.)
If you like, you can then align your
energy with a great Master, such as Christ or Buddha, and experience their
wisdom and compassion filling your whole being as a great blessing.
Then you hold steady your alignment with
your soul and higher spiritual frequencies for a few minutes in complete
inner silence, and be receptive to impressions or guidance. This is
referred to as the “higher interlude” in meditation.
After a period of silence, you enter the
“lower interlude,” where your brain is impressed with energy received in
the meditation and is stimulated into activity. Then allow your lower
mind to shape impressions or ideas you received into usable thoughtforms
for your life and work, and to plan action if appropriate.
End with a blessing: The last step is
circulation of the energy contacted in meditation as a blessing. The
spiritual energy you received in meditation is released and directed into
the world, to bring healing and transformation to individuals in need, or
to humanity as a whole. You can simply send love from your heart to where
it’s most needed in the world, or you can visualize light, love and
purpose energy radiating out to the world from your ajna center, in the
middle of your forehead. It’s important to share and circulate the energy
you’ve received in meditation so it makes a complete circuit of receiving
and giving energy.
Lastly, visualize light, love and purpose energy
pouring down through your whole being, energizing, balancing and healing
your physical, emotional and mental bodies.
Some people like to begin and end their meditation by
sounding three OMs (which can be done silently if needed). OM is a sacred
word that helps to still the physical, emotional and mental bodies, and
closing the meditation with three OMs helps distribute the energy.
After you end the meditation, you might want to write
down anything you’ve received in meditation-- ideas, visions, inner
guidance—as a way to remember it and ground it so you can apply it in your
daily life, as this is a key purpose of meditation.
(Excerpted from a forthcoming book)