I am relatively new on my pagan path and one thing that I am having a lot of problems with is Meditating. I hear many people say that it is the first step in beginning magical workings and helping to connect to my deity, it just goes on and on! I have never meditated and I just do not know how? How do you get your mind to slow down and not get all the mundane stuff in the way?
What a great question! First lets look at the definition of Meditation:
1: to engage in contemplation or reflection
2: to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
1: to focus one’s thoughts on : reflect on or ponder over
2: to plan or project in the mind : intend, purpose” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditating)
Now that we have that definition at hand we can break down the uses of meditation in different formats. Many people have the idea that to meditate you must try to be like a monk who sits all day staring into space completely clearing the mind. That is great if you can do that, but meditation does not have to be that way, nor is it easy to do that. Limiting meditation to that mindset can be very daunting and I can completely understand the frustration you may be feeling and the pressure. Meditation can be as simple as laying down on the couch and listening to relaxation music, to doing a guided group meditation or sitting for long periods of time to contemplate life or connect to your deity or path. There is so much you can do with meditation.
First you will want to figure out the goal of your meditation. This could be anything from finding a closer connection to nature, to connecting to your deity, the list goes on and on. Once you have this goal set in your mind, you can cater the meditation to your needs. Some of them work in a personal setting while others work better as a guided meditation. Remember that this meditation is for you, so finding what works best for you will be crucial.
Personal meditations give you an opportunity to experiment, and I suggest you take it. Try different types of music or background noises such as wind chimes or a fountain. Try candles and incense. Try laying down, in a chair or even in lotus position. Start out slow with simple relaxation and move towards more goal oriented meditations. Don’t be shy about over doing it if you need to. Feel free to experiment with meditation tools such as mala beads, singing bowls, or baoding balls. You can also use crystals and tumbled stones to hold or even focal pieces like deity statues or pictures. And lets not forget to mention mantra’s and chants, some people have found them to be invaluable. There is no limit to the things you can try to find a peaceful place in yourself to meditate.
Guided meditations have benefits as well. They provide you an opportunity to full let yourself go and only have to follow the words of the person reading the meditation. They tend to have a specific goal in mind, such as setting up a protection shield or finding your spirit guides. I suggest finding a person whose voice is soothing to you, or someone experienced in hypnosis. I am lucky to have a close friend who is trained in the later. Finding a script for the person to read can be easy as well, I know I have a few pagan and new age books that have these meditations written and ready to go. If you do not have any on hand, you can look them up in a “guided meditation script’ Google search. Even better write your own when you are more familiar with your personal meditation style.
Group meditations are always the most difficult. Everyone should be on the same page, goal, and in the same mind frame. I have done a few where we sat together and meditated, contemplated and even chatted on very deep levels without judgment. Having the bond of a shared meditation with someone can be very powerful and meaningful to any friendship or relationship. In my experience we always did group meditations as a way to bond and get familiar with the energy we had as group. There are more uses I am sure, but for me this was the primary reason.
Best of luck to you in your explorations of meditation. May you find inner peace in wisdom in your journey.