Is Guided Meditation Really Meditation?

 

We think that guided meditation—the soft and pleasant “voice over” recordings designed to take you through the periods of silence– truncates the benefits of mindfulness breathing, and that the concept is really an oxymoron. Why?

Meditation is About Letting Go

For us, meditation is about surrendering. When you are listening to a calming voice, it is pleasurable, but you are still actively engaged in the listening process. We want you to fully release, props included. Do you meditate by looking at a candle’s flame or by counting your breaths? Do you use prayer beads or other accouterments? Sitting upright on a pillow, or in a chair, are popular ways to begin, but in the end, we would like to see you let go of all outer props—including background music–and just be. You need not even sit. Feel free to lie down on your bed, or melt into your favorite living room chair. Then close your eyes and notice your breaths.

Without Reliance on Props, You Can Access Your Inner Self Anytime

It is often a challenge to find silence in your day to attempt something like this. It is much easier to plug in your headphones and tune out the world, but when you truly connect with your inner self—without a voice guiding you to relax and without New Age music or prayer beads—you will find a recognizable and essential piece of you. It feels safe, familiar, desirable, peaceful, and joyous. We could say when you are there, you will know it, but that place of which we write is so simple, you could easily question your arrival even if you are already there. Of course, we know you have experienced moments of it throughout your life, but without deliberate and continuous effort, you will not reap the additional benefits that these prolonged visits provide.

It is important to remember that you can access your inner self at any moment. Knowing that it is there allows for an easier connection, but it often takes a few minutes of silence to reach that place. This is the self-knowledge that we have been writing about all along. Knowing who you are at a deep level is not only comforting, it is the only way to get centered, and centering allows you to go through life with less stress.

The Real Purpose of Meditation

We cannot describe exactly what you will find once you get there because it is something that has to be experienced. When you go within, in silence—without someone telling you what to do, how to think, or how to feel—you will find the solace you need to more easily connect with source energy.