11' Relaxation Meditation
If you came to this course through the Deep Relaxation page of this website, then the meditation we do here will feel fairly similar. It's been expanded, however, to include a beginning nudge in the direction of meditation, which I'll describe below.
If you didn't experience the relaxation techniques described on that page, then do so now to start building your foundation of relaxation.
So About That Nudge
Meditation isn't about making your mind go blank. A blank mind is a deeply asleep mind (or worse!), and during meditation you are very much aware of your experience.
Nor are you trying to suppress your thoughts, to make them just "go away" by magically stopping them. Again, impossible. Thoughts - by which I mean the "self talk" that goes on inside our heads for much of the day - naturally arise and any kind of effort to make them stop will usually only result in them coming on even stronger. Kind of like squeezing a water balloon at one end - the other end just gets bigger.
Nevertheless, while meditating our thoughts do start to settle down - sometimes becoming very still indeed. But the way to do this is, again, not through some sort of disciplined effort. What then?
It's Like Taking Candy Away From A Baby
If you had to, how would you take a lollipop away from a baby? It's a choking hazard after all. But you turn around and there's little Maggie with a lollipop in her mouth. And it's her nap time too. So what to do?
Well first, what not to do. Don't...
- ...start shouting at Maggie to drop her lollipop and make a lot of commotion about how babies aren't supposed to have lollipops
- ...grab it out of her hand and expect her to take her nap anytime within the next hour or so
Instead, being clever sorts, we say some very soothing relaxing words to little Maggie. We hold out her favorite teddy, making soft cooing noises. Maggie lets go of the lollipop for an instant, her attention diverted to the teddy bear, we scoop up the lollipop, set it off to the side and lull her to sleep with little teddy.
Very sweet - but what in the heck, you're no doubt asking, does this have to do with meditation?
Well, after having relaxed our bodies, we're going to help our minds relax as well. And what this especially means is we're not going to make a big fuss about the fact that our thoughts keep coming up. That's just like shouting at little Maggie to drop her lollipop. Just won't work, no how, no way - not if we want to learn how to meditate.
Instead, we're going to be very accepting of the situation, while at the same time offering our attention something else to do, something relatively attractive. In fact, very nearly as good as the self-talk...
So First Let's Learn How To Simply Accept
That's what we'll do in this first meditation - a Relaxation Meditation. First, we settle into our chair, close our eyes and start to relax. Then when thoughts come up, we just accept them. Eventually we notice we are caught up in them, and at that point we return to experiencing our relaxation. This will help us not only begin to settle our thinking down but also deepen our relaxation.
Here's the recording. Give it a try. Do it a few times over the next few days until you feel comfortable that you pretty well know it. Then you'll be ready for the next meditation.
And let me know how it goes, either by leaving a comment below or by contacting me directly.
Download (11' Relaxation Meditation | 14.8MB | Windows: right click and save | Macintosh: CTRL-click and save)
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