Sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and breathe deeply; in through your nose, out through your mouth.
As you focus on your breathing, notice the air you are breathing is light. Visualize breathing golden or white light deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.
As you breathe in the light, see it traveling through your nasal passages and into your lungs, filling your lungs and chest with light.
Now, move your focus to your crown chakra, just above the top of your head. Notice your crown chakra open, and feel white light pouring in through your crown chakra, swirling down through your third eye chakra, and filling your entire head. If you were to open your eyes or your mouth right now, light would stream from them and fill the space around you. Visualizing looking at and listening to the world through your new eyes and ears of light, and notice how everything you see and hear is light forming the sights, colors, shapes, and sounds you recognize in your everyday life.
See yourself opening your mouth and light streaming out. Know that as you speak, everything you say is of the light and filled with light. Everything you place in your mouth; everything you drink, chew, and swallow is light that nourishes and fills your entire body.
As the light fills and streams from your head in all directions, notice now it is flowing downward, filling your throat and passing easily through your throat chakra. Light fills your vocal chords and carries on your voice as you speak, as you sing, as you sigh.
The light continues downward now, traveling into your shoulders. Notice the light stream down both arms, through your elbows, into your forearms, then into your hand and fingers. The light streams from your hands and fingers. With every movement of your upper extremities, you emit light; it flows from you gracefully and easily, filling the space around you. As you lift your hands, as you touch objects around you, not only are you emitting light, but everything you touch, everything you feel, and everything you tap or stroke is light, as well.
Return your attention to your shoulders, and notice the light stream down through your shoulders into your chest and upper back. The light flows into your heart and fills it. Now, as your heart beats, it pushes the light through every blood vessel in your body. The light is circulating through your veins now.
Notice as the light moves downward from your heart, flowing easily through your heart chakra and into your ribcage, down through your solar plexus chakra and into your abdomen. It fills your abdominal cavity, moving easily through your solar plexus chakra and through your sacral chakra, filling your entire torso and expanding down to and through your root chakra.
Notice the light move into your buttocks, hips, and thighs now, moving easily down through your knees, into your lower legs, ankles, feet, and toes. It streams from the bottom of your feet into the earth and out from your toes into the universe. Every cell of your body is light now; it gives light and it receives light.
Become aware of your environment. The sounds, the smells, the feel of whatever you are sitting or lying on. Notice that these, too are light. As you move, you are light, moving through light, breathing light, touching light, being light.
When you are ready, return your attention to your breathing now. Notice as you breathe in, and as you breathe out the light flows freely to you, from you, and through you. When you are ready, open your eyes and walk in the world as light.
Music: "Meditation Impromptu 03" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
I'm sitting here feeling high as a kite as I've finished my Sunday morning ritual. It starts with brushing my teeth and feeding the dogs and cat because some things just can't wait. But once that task is taken care of, I engage in another Sunday morning ritual. First, I cleanse all of my crystals using sound, smudging, incense, or whatever feels right to me in the morning. I do a general cleansing as well, walking through at least the parts of the house where Jim isn't sleeping and cleansing with sound, smoke, or Reiki. As I do, this, I give thanks to all of the objects and beings that support my life, from the couches and chairs I sit on to the foods in my refrigerator to the plants that clean my air to the Feng shui objects that support positive flow of chi throughout my space.
Once I feel satisfied with this task, I bring any burning incense, palo santo, or herbs I might be using with me (notice in this picture it's in a small jar of clear crystals), I put a few drops of my favorite aromatherapy scent on my diffuser stone, and I sit down. I cleanse any crystals I am wearing with smoke or sound, cleanse the coins I will use for my I Ching, and then I cast the coins for my daily I Ching reading. The reading becomes the point of focus for my meditation that follows. I sit with my hands in Gassho (a Reiki meditation technique), reflect on the 5 principles of Reiki, and then hold a stone (sometimes - this morning I used a smoky quartz with rutile Vogel wand) in my receiving hand while I place my giving hand on my heart chakra to channel Reiki energy to it. Then, when I feel peaceful and centered, I meditate on my I Ching message, visualize things I choose for my life, spend some time on gratitude, and eventually open my eyes and start my day. The whole process takes about 30 to 60 minutes, which is why it's a Sunday morning ritual. But it's an important one to me, and it sends me into the week to come feeling balanced, peaceful, and in a centered place where I can move forward with a spiritual focus.
On weekdays, ritual is still part of my mornings. First thing every morning I (feed my dogs - always feed the dogs) cast my coins and reflect on my I Ching message, reflect on the five principles of Reiki, sometimes do crystal work, meditate, visualize, and reflect before I start my day. When it feels appropriate, I may cleanse any crystals that have been working hard for me, as well. I have a night-time ritual, too. I quiet my mind, reflect on the principles of Reiki, reflect on gratitude, maybe toss in some visualization if I think I can do it without falling asleep, and I always end the day requesting the universe, "Tell me what I need to know" so any information that isn't coming in consciously can enter as I dream.
Participating in rituals gives me a quiet semi-private (as private as it can be with dogs and cats everywhere) moment in which to center and focus on what is truly important to me, and it helps me set intentions for each day so I can walk through them as gently, compassionately, purposefully, and equanimously as possible.
Rituals can be simple or they can be involved. I've developed most of mine intuitively over the years, seeking what makes me feel connected and full. When I feel I need something a little different, I pay attention to what my spirit urges and toss that in. My rituals are ever evolving as I grow and change. And I encourage you to develop your own rituals as well. They don't have to be involved - just a minute or two of focus can help you re-center. So if you feel called to do try something, whether it's burning an herb, chanting a mantra, doing chakra work, or meditating with a crystal, welcome that and make it part of your life. Listen always to the calling of your soul. Take the time to tune in and allow what your higher self has to tell you. Ritual makes this possible and provides a space where the Divine part of you always knows it can connect to help you move forward on your life's path.
Image by Anke Sundermeier from Pixabay
I've talked in many of my books and blogs about the belief I held for years that I was terrible at meditation. Sitting still and clearing my mind felt next to impossible, so I was certain I was screwing it up.
Then one day it occurred to me that wasn't the case; I was just trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I was attempting a type of meditation that, at that moment, didn't work for me.
I also realized the limiting belief I held (and frequently expressed), "I can't meditate," or "I'm bad at meditation," was limiting my success at it, as well.
That's when I understood meditation could be anything, as long as my focus and intent was to clear my mind and tune in. I didn't need to sit in the lotus position and chant "Om" to experience the benefits and peace of mind that came from meditating.
Many people share with me they feel they are unable to meditate, and I understand. However, I argue that you can meditate - you just haven't found "your" meditation yet. Meditation occurs any time you focus in the moment. Life can be a meditation. As you do dishes, notice the warmth of the water and the soap bubbles on your hands. Bam! You meditated. When you're out for a walk, notice the cool air on your skin and the sounds of nature. You meditated! Meditation is like that. It doesn't have to be sitting cross legged and desperately trying to clear your mind; that doesn't work for everybody. Instead, it can be a series of small moments throughout your day when, just for a few minutes, you clear away your thoughts and worries, notice what is happening right now, and simply allow yourself to be.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
I know many people struggle to meditate - and I'm terrible at the traditional form of meditation myself.
Why would you want to? Look at meditation's numerous benefits:
One of the biggest challenges is clearing your mind, and honestly, it's a tough one. Having some kind of a visualization might help. For instance, as you notice thoughts arise, picture them on a blackboard and erase them, or imagine yourself sweeping them away with a broom. You can also use other visualizations or vocalizations as focus points, such as a mantra (which can be anything from OM to an affirmation) or visualizing different colors, focusing on an image of some sort, or even focusing on your breathing and counting breaths. The trick is to find something that works for you, and gently move your focus back to it whenever you notice thoughts interrupting. Be kind and patient with yourself.
Perhaps one of the biggest blocks to meditation is the belief you are unable to meditate. It's an easy trap to fall into, and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. The more you tell yourself you can't meditate, the truer this becomes for you. You can meditate. There's no trick to it. Still your mind as best you can. When you notice your thoughts invading, take a deep breath and once again still your mind. Do this starting with just a few minutes at a time and work your way up. And, when you catch yourself thinking or saying, "I just can't meditate," remember that thoughts become things. When you notice this belief arising, replace it with the belief that you can, indeed, meditate.
Another type of meditation to try is guided meditation. With guided meditation, you listen to someone else's words and music and let your mind follow along. For some people, this is an incredibly powerful form of meditation. You can find all kinds of guided meditation on YouTube, and there are great smartphone apps, as well. I'm a fan of Glenn Harrold's guided meditation sessions.
Two other forms of meditation you can try: journaling and trataka. Try writing as meditation. Start with stream of consciousness writing - put pen to paper and just write. If you get "stuck," write the same word over and over until you get unstuck. Trataka involves gazing at a single point - many people use a lit candle for this. Just gaze at an object or point, and as your attention wanders, bring it gently back to the object. Try all the methods we've talked about this week and see what works for you - or mix it up and incorporate them all.
Send a little Light everyday. Just for a few moments, before you go to sleep and/or when you first get up, put your hands over your heart chakra, close your eyes, and visualize Light. Then, visualize sending it to the darkest corners of the world.
Don't send it where there's already an abundance of Light, but to places where darkness appears to have taken over. Send it to the Middle East. Or to the Oval Office. Or to Congress. Or to the greediest of Corporations. Send it to terrorist cells. Send it to people in your life who have treated you unkindly. Send it to where people are dying, and where human rights don't seem to matter. Send it to fascist dictators and to war-torn and poverty-ridden regions.
Beam that Light to places where darkness appears to live, because you can't fight darkness with more darkness. You can only combat it by turning on the Light.
And as you visualize, affirm. Affirm that the Light you are sending will bring peace. That it will bring prosperity. That it will bring wisdom and compassion. That it will bring Love. That it will bring wise and compassionate leadership. That it will bring healing and joy. If enough people make this tiny effort every day, eventually even the darkest places on earth will be filled with the essence of who we truly are - Light.