Meditation is such a big part of my life. It’s how I begin and end my days. And, I’m often asked how to do it. So, I thought I’d share with you a bit about what it is, *how *to meditate, and some ways you can get started.
First, meditation is an easy, simple process and doesn’t cost a thing. You begin the same way as you would any lifestyle change—like losing 50 pounds.
You would never do a two-hour CrossFit workout the first day you worked on losing weight. The same is true for meditation. You would never meditate for two hours your first time.
Instead, you start meditation slowly. You have to be consistent and persistent. And, more importantly, you must find the meditation techniques that work best for you and fit your lifestyle.
Otherwise, you won’t
Types of Meditation
There are two types of meditation: restful meditation and mindful and relaxed meditation. Both are meditation. Both will give you the same healthful benefits. But, they are a bit different from each other.
Restful meditation is the kind most people think of when they envision meditation.
Restful or relaxed state meditation is when you are physically relaxed and progressively relaxed further during the meditation itself.
Typically, people sit or lie down on a couch or mat, close their eyes, and focus on breathing. Taking deep, slow breaths in and exhaling slowly pushing all the air out of their lungs.
In a more traditional meditation, soft, new age music may be played in the background. Meditation purists or gurus would suggest you sit on the floor. That way you can be more connected to the earth.
But, you don’t have to do that. The idea is to sit or lie still with your eyes closed, quiet the mind (no thinking), and focus on taking deep breaths in and exhaling all the air.
The other type is mindful and relaxed meditation. This is a less obvious form of meditation where a person is awake (eyes open), but he or she is focused and engaged in an activity. The meditation part is that the person is mentally present with that activity and focused solely on that activity. What I mean is, they don’t have thoughts as they do the activity.
For example, if you enjoy gardening, to do a mindful and relaxed meditation you would focus only on doing the gardening. You’d watch yourself scoop a bit of dirt and look at the worm wiggling out of the soil without worry, anxiety, or thought. You just scoop dirt and observe what you’re doing with a quiet mind, allowing your skin to absorb the sun and your lungs to breathe the fresh air. No thoughts about work, your family, or whatever crisis may have arisen earlier in the day. No thinking. Not even about the next step in the activity—you simply do that next step when it’s time. That’s all there is to it.
To do a mindful and relaxed meditation, you choose an activity you enjoy and focus on absorbing what’s going on moment by moment while you’re doing it. There are no thoughts. Just breathing in, exhaling, and enjoying that activity.
The type of activity doesn’t matter either, as long as it’s an activity you enjoy. So, it can be walking, cooking, crafting, playing with a pet, or another favorite activity. The meditation is focused on doing that one activity and doing one part of that activity at a time.
Meditation for Beginners
When you first begin learning meditation, you have to train your mind to be quiet. Think of it like taming a wild bull. It’s been free to think as often as it pleased, but now you’re teaching it
to quiet. It will take some
time. And, that is perfectly normal and okay. You’ll want to find a room that’s quiet and a chair that’s comfortable.
It may be helpful to use a guided meditation for your first time. A guided meditation is where you have someone help you meditate either in person or via a recording of some kind.
For example, the person guiding you through the meditation might say something like, “Get into a comfortable position and close your eyes … take a deep breath, as deeply as you can … hold it for a moment … and exhale … as you release the air … imagine a beautiful beach in front of you … the waves gently come ashore … the sun warms your body … and as you breathe, you become more … and more relaxed …”
At KUADRA, clients can have me guide them through a meditation specific for their situation. But, you don’t have to have a person there with you. You can use guided meditation CDs, DVDs, YouTube videos, and MP3 files in either a male or female voice. Some you must purchase, others are free. It’s important to choose one that sounds relaxing and soothing to you.
When you start meditating, start slow. Meditate for five minutes or less per day a few times a week, and then increase to daily. After some time, gradually increase the number of minutes you meditate.
Most people say not to meditate longer than 15 minutes, but I’ve meditated for two hours before. The length varies, so you want to be flexible instead of analytical. Trust your inner guidance system (that “gut” feeling). Meditate for as long as it is comfortable for you.
It also may be helpful to have a mantra you say during the meditation. A mantra is a simple word or word phrase that you repeat to yourself. It is used to help quiet the mind, such as “I am healthy and happy.” After a bit, you stop saying the mantra and just breathe without thought. Sometimes mantras are part of a guided meditation.
Is There a Wrong Way to Meditate?
Sometimes people think they are doing it wrong when their mind wonders. But, that’s normal. It’s more about stepping back and noticing your mind has wondered. Then gently guiding it back. You can tell yourself, “not now” or “release” to help you let go of those thoughts and focus on your breath again. Sometimes soft music helps.
You also may fall asleep. That is perfectly normal. It’s important to not have pre-conceived ideas about what you should be doing, but doing and finding what feels right for you. The intention of your meditation is key, so do what feels best or comfortable.
If you see images of people you don’t know or colors or past events flash in your mind as you meditate, don’t panic or worry. It’s normal and natural, so relax or repeat your mantra (if you use
one). When you
experience those things, know that you’re in the theta or deep state of meditation.
If you’re interested in a guided meditation session or want to learn more, let me know at your next appointment. Or, call the office today to schedule an appointment, (210) 314-7687.
Sound Healing May Help
The sounds of summer are here. You may notice them too. From birds singing in the morning to the crickets at night, they remind me of sound healing and how helpful it has been to my clients.
Sound healing is the use of vibrations, particularly sound vibrations to help heal the body mentally, physically, and spiritually. Since negative energy may make you feel stressed, depressed, anxious, or even physically ill, sound healing vibrations can help to soothe your body and radiate outany negative energy [Shrestha (1)].
During shamanic sound healing, a drum is used. The drum represents the heartbeat of the earth and has been used by shamans to access non-ordinary reality. When used during hypnotherapy or meditation, it helps the person relax into a deeper trance state.
In my practice, drums, tuning forks, crystal bowls, Tibetan bowls, shamanic rattles, bells, rain sticks, a didgeridoo (the Australian instrument that looks like a large, long tube), and a gong may be used during a sound healing session. In addition, I use the Reiki chakra points to aid in healing.
Sound healing has been around for a very long time. According to Shrestha(1), sound healing with singing bowls dates back more than 2,000 years to Buddha. It has since been passed down each generation.
What happens during a sound healing therapy session at KUADRA?
Before beginning a guided meditation or hypnosis session using sound healing, I may ask two questions. First, if the client agrees to trust theprocess. And second, if they give me permission to intercede on their behalf during the hypnotic trance and guided imagery stages. I also, set an invocation, inviting the assistance of the client's spiritual support system. Then I guide them into meditation.
Once the client is relaxed and moved into an alpha theta state, then drumming is introduced.
This helps the person fall deeper into a trance state. It is also during this time that I sometimes use ancient Tibetan and/or Buddhism chants. The drumming produces Koan (pronounced “coin”). Koan is a sound that confuses the ego mind. During everyday life, our thoughts (from the ego mind) cannot stop thinking and judging.
The ego tries to over control and over analyze the things on our mind which robs the mind of clarity and access to inspiration. So, during meditation the koan sound (created from drumming) breaks up the chaos of the mind and makes it difficult for the ego to function during the hypnotherapy and meditation session. The body tension releases and the mind and body are relaxed. It is in this relaxed state that the higher self can be accessed and I can introduce positive affirmations and affect change.
Sound Healing & Accessing the One Mind
Sound is vibration. Our bodies are movement, which is also vibration.
In quantum theory, it is thought that all particles in the universe interact with one another through these vibrations. Every interaction is said to be a communication between the particle and the matter far away from it(2).
Because of this, during sound healing sessions when a client is in a hypnotic (or trance state), we’re able to access subtle vibrations and the One Mind, referred to as the synchronized universe. The One Mind is the collective intelligence of us all.
What happens after a sound healing session?
After a sound healing session, I debrief about the experience with the client. They will share their experiences, visions, dreams, feelings, and any epiphanies that came to them.
Most clients report a deep feeling of relaxation rarely experienced in daily life, where their body feels heavy and numb, almost as though they just came out of anesthesia.
Some report having spiritual experiences, such as seeing their past trauma images release from their body, images of angels, energies in the form of geometric shapes and patterns, spirit animals, guides or loved ones who have crossed over, past life experiences, and future life experiences. Clients may also have feelings that they are not alone,a release of cold energy from their body, experience epiphanies,and messages or solutions to life challenges.
Later, they may notice a reduction and elimination of anxiety, fears and guilt, improved restful sleep, a sense of detachment from problems, clarity of mind, and the ability to deal with stress better.
Sound healing doesn’t have to be used for an immediate need, but can be used at any time for overall wellbeing, when making a big or any important decision, or to understand the past.
If you’re interested in a sound healing session, let me know at your next appointment. Or, call the office today to schedule an appointment, (210) 314-7687.
Wishing you enhanced physical, emotional, and spiritual strength.
Khadijat Quadri, LPC, NCC, CHt
Counseling & Consulting, LLC
P.S. If at any time you need to just clear your mind, the healing sounds of nature can also help. Go to a quiet space outside. Listen to those birds singing, the ocean waves at the beach, the wind blowing through the trees, or nighttime bugs chirping away. Take a few deep breaths and listen. It is sound healing in its simplest form.
(1) Shrestha, S. (2013). *How to Heal with Singing Bowls*. U.S.A.: First Sentient Publications, 14, 19.
(2) Swanson, C. (2009). *The Synchronized Universe: New Science of the Paranormal*. Tucson, AZ: Poseidia Press, 241.
4100 East Piedras Drive
San Antonio Texas, 78228
100 W Central Texas EXPY
Harker Heights, TX 76548
Monday through Friday
8:00am - 6:00pm
8:00am - 4:00pm