Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Method of Meditation

Meditation, when done properly, is an extremely effective method of relaxation, mental discipline, and spiritual connection. But often this question is asked: “How do I meditate?” There are many different methods of meditation. This article discusses a popular and effective technique, one which can be broken down into the following stages: position and relaxation, breathing, focus and visualization, and finally the awakening period.

Positioning and Relaxing During Meditation

To begin meditating, the body should be in a comfortable position, but keeping the back straight. The exact position isn’t important for this method of meditation. Sitting, standing, or even lying down, (provided sleep doesn’t immediately follow), are all perfectly acceptable positions for meditation.

The body must be physically relaxed while meditating. The muscles in the neck, which are so often the seat of tension in the body, are also the easiest to relax. Slowly circling the neck, first clockwise, then counter-clockwise, is a wonderful way to accomplish this. Circle the neck several times in each direction, until the neck muscles are warm and supple, no longer tense.

Breathing During Meditation

Breathing is essential during meditation. The breath should flow evenly and softly. It should also be consistent throughout the meditation session. Start by slowly inhaling through the nose, to the count of four. Then hold for the count of four. Exhale to the count of four as well. Continue this count until this method of breathing feels comfortable.

While inhaling, the stomach should balloon outward as the lungs are fully inflated. During the exhale, the stomach should flatten once more. This forces the stale air from the bottom of the lungs out. As the four-count becomes more comfortable, this can be increased to five, then six, and beyond. A feeling of lightheadedness indicates that the count should be reduced.

Focus During Meditation

Once relaxed and breathing properly, thoughts must be focused. This can be accomplished in many ways. One of the most popular is to imaging the entire body surrounded by a sphere of white light. This white energy charges the entire body, and can be used to relax the body even further.

Further relaxation begins at the toes. Focus on the toes, allowing the tension to disappear completely. This process should be repeated with the balls of the feet, the heels, the ankles, and continuing on up the body. This includes the calves, knees, thighs, and on up through the torso, not forgetting the arms and hands, and ending with the entire head, piece by piece.

At this point, focus should move inward. Allow the eyes to roll upward to direct the focus to the third eye. Let go of the physical self, allowing the focus to shift to the higher, spiritual self. It is not necessary to visualize anything at this stage. Relax and allow whatever sensation manifest itself, whether it be sight, sound, or feeling. Move towards and into this sensation. Keep the mind still and calm.

Maintaining this may prove difficult at first. The conscious mind often had difficulty staying still, and will wander if given the opportunity. The mind must be disciplined before the true positive effects of meditation can be realized, such as the deepening of intuition, self discipline, and general well being.

Ending a Meditation Session

The end of a meditation period should be the reverse of its beginning. Pull the conscious mind back from the third eye, and down the rest of the body. Allow each part of the body to reawaken in succession, from the top of the head to the toes. Each part should be healthy and rejuvenated. The body should be physically refreshed, while the mind is mentally and emotionally refreshed.

Meditation can be difficult at first, with the body wanting to fidget and the mind trying to wander. However, with time and persistence, mastery over mind and body will come. Ignore the itchy nose, no matter how tempting it may be to scratch; it is simply the conscious mind demanding attention. Keep disciplined, stay with it, and the body and mind will learn.

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