Meditation plays an important role in the life of any spiritualist, no matter what their path may be. Meditation enables us to bridge the gap between the conscious and subconscious mind, allowing us to plant a suggestion, or gain enlightenment. Meditation is the waking dream.
There are many different methods of meditation, but all follow a similar structure that I have categorized into five stages: respiration, relaxation, induction, revelation and reassociation. To begin the process of meditation, the individual starts with deep breathing and relaxes the entire body; one of the several methods of inducing trance are used, and during this trance, some type of revelation takes place. After a period of time, the individual reattunes their consciousness to the “real” world. Let’s examine each of these steps in more detail.
Proper breathing in itself will produce a trance state, but it is without direction or purpose. In eastern cultures, you will find entire spiritualist movements that are centered around breathing techniques. Breathing exercises used during natural childbirth create a trance state in the mother during delivery. Breathing used in meditation is slow, deep and even. It is not just the initial phase of a process; this type of breathing should continue throughout the meditative session.
A period of relaxation follows. In older schools, this is nothing more than a process of focusing on and relaxing each part of the body. More recent methods often involve the visualization of stepping into a pool of warm water until it covers the head. This type of visualization is sometimes used prior to hypnotism. As a general rule, most meditative forms of relaxation begin at the toes and end at the top of the head.
I have termed the third phase “induction”, because it is at this point that steps are taken to engage the alpha state, the state in which our brainwaves vibrate during daydreams, meditation or magickal workings. Here again, the methods of inducing trance are numerous. Some prefer to use passive methods, while others prefer forms that are more active and kinetic. “Active meditation” sounds rather paradoxical, but as we all know, the truth often lies within the paradox! A modern example of this type of meditation can be seen in the practices of the exercise fanaticist. The key is in the repetitive movement. As one walks, jogs or performs a series of repetitive exercises, the conscious mind is kept busy on “auto-pilot”, while the subconscious mind is allowed to flow freely without interference from the ego. Dancing, yoga, weaving, knitting or playing an instrument are also types of repetitive movements through which we can achieve inner stillness.
One more form of induction that I consider to be “active” is chanting. Chanting is a very effective tool for achieving the alpha state; it aids in relaxation and ties in with respiration. The use of chanting is interwoven with many aspects of meditation and magickal workings because it employs the science of sound and the use of affirmations to cause change to occur on various levels.
“Passive” forms of meditation usually involve some type of external or internal visualization; it is this focus that occupies the conscious mind and allows the subconscious the ability to flow without encumbrance. The most common external focal points are mandalas. These complex visual images provide an excellent external focus to induce internal stillness. Simple objects, such as a fruit, flower or an egg, are also good focal points for meditation. For some people, the use of a mandala would be the better choice, because the mind will often become bored with a simple object, while something more intricate will trap the attention for a longer period of time.
Internal visualizations can be as simple or as complex as desired. It is often easier to begin with the visualization of a single object, but, over time, one can visualize an entire journey as part of the inductive process. The visualization of numbers is often used to induce the alpha state as well. Most of us are familiar with the practice of counting (sheep) to help us fall asleep, and the same methods can also be used to aid in meditation. For the purpose of attaining alpha, the counting is usually backwards, from ten to one. You will also see the use of this type of counting during hypnosis, for the hypnotic state is the trance state occurring at a deeper level.
Induction can also be assisted by the visualization of color. Most practitioners will recommend visualizing all the colors of the spectrum in turn, starting with red, and ending with violet. Violet is believed to be the color of our highest consciousness; the color of the Universal Sun, or Godhead. Once you become familiar with meditative techniques, you may choose the image of this lavender light as your singular meditative focus.
Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and dis-ease, increase focus and energy, and expand our capacity for love and understanding. With so many methods to choose from and so many benefits to be gained, why not start incorporating this practice into your life today?