Meditation is the process of focusing the mind on some object or thought to the exclusion of all other awareness. There is really no difference between self hypnosis and meditation. They both use the same natural processes to induce trance.
Some people believe that meditation will allow you to get in touch with a higher consciousness. Others meditate to help them gain mental equilibrium or meditate as a way of improving health.
All forms of meditation can help overcome stress, to rise above time pressure, deadlines, difficult relationships, anxiety and anger. It is easy to learn how to meditate.
All the meditation techniques originated as religious practices. All major religions have used meditation techniques to achieve feelings of enhanced spirituality. There are thought to be two basic forms of meditation, Zen meditation to become more self aware, and transcendental meditation, for transcending, or leaving behind, the self.
The mindfulness meditation technique is designed to make the mediator more attuned to their world. Awareness is brought to bear on the reality of the present moment. Traditional eastern meditation teaches that all thoughts are banished and the mind focuses on simply being.
In fact, is is more accurate to say that the object of mindfulness meditation is to prevent racing thoughts from filling every moment. Many people find their mind is always active, called rumination. Rumination stops them from relaxing, stops them sleeping, and causes them to feel anxious all the time because they never get a rest. Mindfulness meditation interrupts the stream of thoughts and allows the mind to turn off the negative thoughts. Once the thoughts have stopped mindfulness lets your natural healing ability get to work.
Mindfulness is a meditation technique designed to let you discover what is going on in your mind, of becoming aware of what is happening to you right now. People who benefit from mindfulness tend to be those who feel that the world is just too fast, whose minds are always racing and who worry about the future or dwell on the past but never seem to be in the moment.
Grounding is a meditation technique designed to allow all the tension to flow out of your body and to clear all distractions from your mind. Traditionally the tension and impure energies are imagined as flowing down from your head through your body, and into the earth.
Grounding allows you to re-establish your place in the universe, to get in harmony with the earth we live on, to connect with your inner spiritual being. People who get the most from grounding tend to be those who feel 'out of balance' most of the time, who need to release the pent up energy they feel building up after busy days, who need to find a way to link to the deep core of themselves.
Many people believe that the universe is filled with energy, that the earth and everything in it resonates with this energy and that modern living upsets the balance of energy within us. In order to get back into balance it is necessary to 'ground' the inner energy, to reset it to a base level. When the base level is achieved you become balanced. Grounding is experienced as a deep feeling of relaxation and acceptance, as oneness and harmony.
Grounding is a way of attaining a state of inner calm. The basic technique consists of two parts, centering and grounding.
Centering is done by focusing the mind on your body's center of balance while standing or sitting. The most common technique is to stand and take in a breath and as you do to raise your arms and touch you hands above your head. Then lower your arms gently and smoothly back to your sides as you breath out.
Continue breathing at a comfortable rate, raising and lowering your arms in time with your breathing. You can repeat a calming phrase to yourself such as 'moving into harmony ' or 'letting go now' with each breath out.
Then become aware of where you feel the energy inside you. Most people report that when they are balanced they feel the center of their energy somewhere slightly above their navel, and when out of balance it is somewhere else in the body, usually in the chest or neck. Many believe that the energy is concentrated at Chakra points, and can be make to flow between the Chakra points to achieve the greatest harmony.
Centering consists of using your mind to become aware of the position of your energy center and then flowing all the dispersed energy towards the place in your body that feels most natural.
Once you have moved your energy centre to where it should be you stop the centering process and focus on grounding.
Focus your mind on your energy center and mentally imagine a link growing from your energy centre down through your body, down through your feet and down into the earth. Sense the connection between your energy center and the center of the earth, begin to feel the interchange of energy within you body and between your body and the earth itself. As you do, you can become aware of all the unaligned energy that you have acquired channelling into the connection between your center and the earth. As it does so the energy of the earth will allow you to balance the energy within you and you will begin to feel your body connecting and merging with the earth, as if you are sinking down into the earth. Allow the feeling to grow until you feel totally balanced within yourself and between yourself and the earth.
The goal is to feel part of the universe, connected totally to the earth, to become aware of fact that you are part of the earth and allow the natural flow to restore the essential balance within you.
Transcendental Meditation is designed to lift the person meditating away from the concerns of the world, to focus their attention totally on their inner experience.
Controlled breathing is the simplest form of meditation. Focus on your breathing and tell yourself silently "with every breath out I am going deeper and deeper, more relaxed....more at ease...". Just keep repeating "more relaxed....more at ease " and allow your limbs to become loose and limp and heavy. Concentrate on feeling the weight of your limbs while breathing more and more gently. Then when you are ready, feel your limbs becoming totally weightless and allow yourself to drift away from the present.
A mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated over and over until the mind goes into trance. The origin of mantras lie in the primitive belief that words have magic power and that the sound of a word will cause its meaning to become manifest. Mantra meditation works by boring the mind into dissociation. Take a simple word such as "money" or a rhythmic word like "nirvana" or "eternity" or even "cowabunga" and repeat it silently or aloud for five minutes or so. At some point you will find that the word loses its meaning, that as you keep saying it, it sounds strange and you wonder what it means.
This is the first stage of dissociation. What is happening is that part of your mind is doing the repetition, while another part of your mind is getting bored with the unvaried input and beginning to wander. The tendency at first is to get startled by the dissociation and to snap back into conscious awareness. However, with a little practice you will find that you can go with the wandering wondering part of your mind and leave the other part to get on with the repetition. Eventually the repetition will slow down and stop and you will be experiencing trance.
Any word or phrase will do, but some words are easier to repeat continuously than others, so to start with some familiar two syllable word. Commercial meditation organizations usually use a traditional Hindi or Sanskrit word or phrase, others create unique mantras for each individual by combining the names of two of the multitude of Hindu gods, but the result is often hard to pronounce and hard to remember. It is better to use a word or phrase you are comfortable with.
Counting is a repetitive process that can be used to distract the mind. This method is an extension of the mantra method and many people prefer it. Select a word or phrase and then repeat it mentally or aloud exactly some number of time, sixty six, or one hundred for example. If you lose count then you have to start again from one. This works by splitting the focus of the mind across two different activities. As you repeat the word, your mind drifts from the counting and as you count you tend to dissociate from the word repetition.
A variant of this is to visualize the number each time you repeat the word, and see each successive number getting smaller, darker and further away. If you get to the target number you start again until at some point you drift off into trance.
Crystals have been used for centuries as an aid to meditation and divination. Any type of object will do as something to focus on, but crystals are better because they reflect light in ever changing patterns. The best crystals to use are either shiny on the outside or glass-like with internal refractions and reflections. Many people sense an affinity with particular colors or patterns and feel that the crystal allows them to make a spiritual connection.
Place the crystal in front of you. Turn it round so that you are looking at it from a fresh angle. Lay your hands gently on the crystal for a minute or two in order to energize it and strengthen your psychic rapport. Set up a deep breathing pattern at a gentle rhythm. Allow all the stress and negative energies to flow completely out of your body as you exhale, and positive energies to enter as you inhale. Whilst holding the crystal, think about the purpose of this divining session. If appropriate, try to visualize the subject of your question. Some people like to ask the question out loud, others prefer to internalize it.
Now, remove your hands from the crystal, open your eyes, and pick a spot on the crystal you feel 'drawn' to. Focus on the spot. Allow your eyes to relax and become slightly unfocussed. Look into the crystal, stare deeply. The crystal may begin to darken and smoke up. You may find that everything around the crystal goes 'grey' and disappears. Allow this to happen. (Don't snap back to a conscious state, if you can help it. Don't worry if you do, in fact most people do the first couple of times when they realize it is actually working. Snapping back to the conscious state makes you leave the trance like state and thus breaks the psychic connection. If this happens just relax and re-enter the trance like state once more as best you can).
Do not try to make sense of the images you 'see, feel or hear' before you. Just go with the flow. You may feel yourself start to tingle or vibrate, you may feel heat, cold or just detached from yourself. This is the crystal raising or lowering your vibratory level so that you can make the needed psychic connection.
The images you see may not be what you expected. That's OK, don't fight them. Your subconscious mind knows what information you need. Just let the images flow, changing and taking you wherever they choose to go. Don't try to rationalize now, time for that later.
Once the crystal has shown you all the images you need, they will begin to fade. Don't stop the session suddenly, reverse the process you used at the beginning. Visualize the mists coming back and covering the images, then receding to return the crystal to its normal state. Remember it takes practice, so don't be upset if it doesn't work right away. Take your time, allow the crystal and your energies to harmonize, and it will work.
Crystals are used because they are cheap and easy to get. The traditional form of eyes open meditation used a crystal ball. Most of the 'crystal' balls on sale are not crystal at all, they are made of clear glass and not suitable for psychic work. A traditional crystal ball is made of rock crystal, a type of quartz. Real rock crystal has imperfections in it and when you turn the ball you see constantly shifting patterns. The very best crystal balls have inclusions, and lines and planes that reflect back rainbow colors when you turn it. Rock crystal of the right type is rare and real crystal balls are very, very expensive. That is why the old time gypsy fortune teller always kept her crystal ball locked away when not in use. The reason it was covered by the black silk was to prevent it getting scratched and ruining the internal reflections. To use the ball, place it on the hematite ring, and turn it to some random position. Then gaze into the centre and allow your mind to drift and to make sense of whatever the pattern suggests to you.