Relaxing the mind and body, going within, finding our spiritual center, achieving a sense of oneness, and bringing that sense of oneness into the outer world—this is the process of meditation. This is the process that can put us back in touch with Spirit. 

Guided and Nonguided Meditation

There are two primary ways of meditating—guided and nonguided. 

In guided meditation, the leader speaks positive, uplifting words or intones sound. As meditators, we let our minds flow with the sound or word in quiet repose to the one source, God. 

In nonguided meditation, we allow our thoughts to flow freely with one particular idea to reach new levels of awareness. This is a state where we receive new input about the word or idea without any sense of direction. Another type of nonguided meditation is allowing our minds to flow freely without a thought or an idea being first introduced.

In nonguided meditation, we often use symbols—words, ideas, pictures, or phrases—as starting points for directing our minds. When we flow with such symbols, our minds reveal new input from sources deep within us. 

Steps of Meditation

Everyone who meditates uses some essential steps in preparing for the meditative process. They are: 

  • Relaxation—breathing, exercise, imagery, and relaxation for meditation exercises. 
  • Concentration—focus the mind. To concentrate, we can use words, mental imagery, or pictured imagery. 
  • Meditation—when we let our minds flow free, we can let them flow free on different ideas, symbols, colors, or spoken words. We can even sing affirmative thoughts. 
  • Realization—oneness in the quiet. This is the time of oneness with the Spirit within us. In Unity, we call this time the Silence, but we have also named the process that achieves the silence, the Silence. 
  • Thanksgiving—acceptance of that which has occurred in the Silence. At the close of each experience, we take time to give thanks for that which has come to us in renewal, in healing, in guidance, and in a new awareness. 

Tips to Help You Get Started

  1. Do not be anxious or concerned about anything that comes to you. If imagery comes, do not repress it. Observe and release it. If you have a hard time concentrating, don’t strain or criticize yourself, but woo your wandering thoughts back to your spiritual center. 
  2. It is good to spend at least 20 minutes each day in meditation. You may want to begin your day with a short meditation and then take more time in the Silence later on. Do not try to meditate close to mealtimes or after eating, because the meditation process and the digestion process interfere with one another. 
  3. Find a quiet place to sit in a comfortable position. Your spine should be erect but not stiff. 
  4. If you are sitting in a chair, place both feet flat on the floor. It is best not to cross your legs; if you do, you may find after a time you become uncomfortable. 
  5. Where you place your hands is a matter of personal preference. Some people sit with their hands upturned so that they feel as if they are in a state of receptivity. Others sit with their hands turned down on their knees. Find the position that works for you. 
  6. Close your eyes to help quiet your mind. After you have become a practiced meditator, you can have your eyes open or closed and it will make no difference. 
  7. Once you are seated with your spine erect but not stiff, your feet on the floor, your hands in the most comfortable position, and your eyes closed, take a deep breath, and then let it out slowly. 
  8. Feel all tension flowing out with your breath, then resume normal breathing. Let your breathing go in and out very naturally, very slowly. Become aware of your breathing, and feel relaxed with it. 
  9. Take another deep breath. With this breath, relax even more as you exhale. Let all tension, all care flow out and away from you, then resume normal breathing as you continue relaxing your whole body. Use the process that is most helpful to you to further relax and begin your meditative experience. 

Your meditation should be a creative experience. What works for one person may not work for another. You alone will find that which is best for you. 

There is much to be gained and much to be learned in the world of meditation, including inner peace, freedom from stress, and a renewed joy for living. Be prepared now for a journey into a world that may be entirely new but a world that is creative and fruitful in many ways.

Enjoy this podcast with Ramdesh Kaur—Meditation 101 for Beginners: Guest Gurucharan Singh


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