Completely ignorant of various styles of meditation I decided I would do my first week using guided meditations to get myself in the zone if you will. Having just concluded my first week of daily meditation I have a mixture of emotions towards it. On one hand, it has been great to calm myself for 30-60 minutes daily, I really feel relaxed and peaceful. My day to day activities are pretty high speed so forcing myself to slow down and silently turn my thoughts inward has been really great. On the other hand, I find it extremely hard to let my mind submit to the guided meditations I found online.
Like any good young 20-something would do, I consulted YouTube for guidance. I’ve found videos on YouTube for everything like how to fix my guitar, fix my bike, make hummus, learn climbing technique and literally hundreds of other useful things so I felt like it was a sure bet for meditation as well. However, due to the totally overwhelming amount of material and complete lack of governance/accountability, I had a hard time finding videos that I trusted as being legitimate. Should I really trust Username: ‘TheDazBar’ who uploaded a guided meditation to YouTube? Should I submit my subconscious to this freely or should I be skeptical as to its legitimacy? Am I going to be brainwashed? I found it hard to let go of my mind and submit to something I knew nothing about. It was like having a sketchy adult in the room who may or may make me try to drink some Coolaid.
Regardless, I did a two 60 minute sessions, one 45 minute session, and four 30 minute sessions. On my first day of meditation I hadn’t yet formulated a plan for how I would go about this month. So I found some grass at lunch during work and meditated for almost 45 minutes going through my recent trip to Kauai Hawaii. I walked myself through every step of the journey from the morning I left my apartment at 4:30am to the morning I was leaving Kalalau Beach heading back into civilization. Frequently my mind drifted to other things but each time I tried to bring my focus back. It was a good mental exercise but unfortunately I was really fidgety and both my feet fell asleep while sitting cross-legged. Also, my poorly timed phone alarm went off in my pocket halfway through the session, totally killing my zen-buzz. Note to self: turn your phone on silent during your meditation practice.
For each subsequent day last week I did guided meditations that I found on YouTube. I’m not quite sure I liked them though to be honest. There was a lot of talk about aligning your body’s energy zones through the use of white light and also about finding the truth of the universe. I’m not really interested in the truth of the universe, nor do I believe that aligning your energy zones is even a thing that exists. So I found minimal value in the videos I watched. One video had a disclaimer in the video’s caption that said something like, “This meditation is not meant to be used in the place of standard medical practice.” Yet in the guided meditation itself the speaker comments that, “The mind can solve any type of illness.” As an biomedical engineer, I find this kind of stuff hard to swallow.
Here are the links to a few of the videos that helped me through my guided meditation:
- The Universal Mind (exploring the truth of the universe from within your mind) – 60 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tW4nyzXPDbE&feature=related
- Reiki Meditation (a healing art using vibrational energy) – 60 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP8YoYWL_rE&feature=related
- Healing and Vitality – 30 minutes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFh-Km4AXeE
- Faith Guided (not any particular faith, just faith in general) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s0jhWkqqts
- Guided Kundalini Meditation (Kundalini = latent female energy at the root of your spine or root chakra, this practice is meant to release this energy throughout your body) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JYueTqWmyo&feature=related
I would only recommend guided meditation to a friend if they knew a lot of info about who was doing the guiding and what their background/goals/bias are. It has become clear to me that my subconscious is something I’m protective over, I’m not just going to let any ideas or people that I don’t know have some sort of subliminal influence on it. I think if I could find some good/reputable guided meditations I could be interested but until then I’m going to avoid YouTube and stick to my own thoughts.
Next week I’ll be practicing reflection meditation where I’ll read a journal entry from my trip to Israel last year and meditate on that experience for at least a half hour each day. It was an amazing and deeply spiritual trip but I haven’t afforded myself the time to truly sit down after the fact and soak it all in. I’m looking forward to being alone with my own thoughts outside of the guided meditation setting.