What is guided meditation?
It is a meditation technique in which we imagine a story, or a simple
progression of images. The story -- like the plot of a sleep-time
dream -- has a symbolic meaning by which we explore our life,
particularly the dynamics of our psyche (as represented by the
of guided meditation. There are many books and tapes which present
the texts of guided meditations, but we can create our own, in order
to use the precise images and story-lines which are most meaningful
and effective for us. We can consider the following options when
preparing our guided meditation:
The amount of detail. We can write a script which is highly
structured with specific details, or we can simply create a bare
outline upon which our imagination spontaneously creates those
details (such as the appearance of a character or a landscape). If
our story contains many details, we might need to memorize it, or
tape-record it in advance, or ask a friend to read it to us; we
will not be able to read it during the session, because our eyes
will be closed.
Our state of relaxation. Prior to the session, we can use one
of the techniques in the chapter regarding relaxation. Then, when
we start the session, we can enhance this state with soothing
images; for example, we imagine our body floating on warm water
(or on a cloud), or rising weightless like a balloon, or falling
gently like a feather.
The features of the guided meditation. We can use some of
Our identity. We can visualize ourselves with a different
identity -- a different age, a different appearance, different
abilities, etc. We adapt our character to suit the story-line.
The plot. We can have a peaceful story with friendly
characters. Or we might create a tale in which we confront an
adversary with whom we must resolve a conflict. The enemy can
be any part of ourselves with which we have a conflict. Because
this enemy is "us," we accomplish nothing by "killing" it; the
imagined murder would probably aggravate a controversy which
will have to be resolved peacefully at a later time.
Locations. Because a guided meditation is an ongoing story,
we can change locations during the session; for example, we
might walk from one scene to another. Guided meditations
usually have settings which are inspiring and intriguing,
rather than a common scene such as a downtown street. Possible
sites include a meadow, an ocean beach, a cave, a tropical
paradise, a castle, a temple, a mountain, a forest, a desert, a
lake, a tunnel, or a church. We might use the setting from a
place which we have visited in our home or neighborhood, or
during our travels, or in a dream, or during a previous guided
Symbolic characters. These characters can be:
Representations of parts of the psyche. For example, a
dark creature might represent the shadow. A man could
portray a woman's animus; a woman could portray a man's
Archetypal characters. For example: the Hero, the
Wizard, the Warrior, the Healer, the Mother, the Father.
Characters from myths, legends, fairy tales, and
Props for the various settings. We all have symbols which
have personal significance: our childhood home, or the cookies
which our mother baked, or a beloved doll or toy, or an object
which has served the purpose of a "security blanket," or items
from sleep-time dreams.
Our senses. We can create scenes which are vivid to all of
our senses -- sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. For
example, we notice the details of the meadow -- the shades of
green in the grass, the fragrance of the flowers, the songs of
individual birds, the breeze against our face, the sunlight in
Advancing the plot. In most guided meditations, we are
traveling via a peaceful means -- walking, floating on a raft
or boat, or flying gently through the air. We have a sense of
being on a journey or a pilgrimage toward a goal which could be
depicted as a mountain top or a bright light. We can proceed to
the next scene symbolically by walking across a bridge or going
through a doorway.
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