Jan. 31, 2016
Guided meditation is a way of listening. It is formal instruction, offered in person or via recording, that provides scaffolding for the young meditator. In it, the teacher gently shepherds the mind in various directions: towards the body, emotions, or any other phenomena to be aware of.
Of course, it isn’t easy, and your mind may resist. Many people, even those interested in meditation, bring an inner skepticism or self-criticism. There is a certain part of you that says, Is this working? Am I doing it “right”? These are valuable thinking tools, and they should be used vigorously in many contexts such as in education, science, business, or art. But listening to a guided meditation isn’t like listening to a college lecture; it’s more like listening to music: you just let the sound hit you directly. That is to say, don’t overthink it.
For each of these, take a seat, either in a chair or cross-legged on a cushion on the floor; sit upright, yet relaxed; close your eyes. You can listen on any type of speaker or headphones, but you should probably be alone rather than in a public place.
Below are some of my favorite guided meditations.
- For the scholars among you, a straight forward mindfulness meditation from UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
- For the bleeding hearts (or broken ones), a loving kindness meditation from Scottish Buddhist teacher Bodhipaska is a good one.
- For the philosophers among you, take a trip down the rabbit’s hole with author Sam Harris’s guided meditation, “Looking for the Self.”
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