History & Significance
The Guided Meditation is a modern phenomenon. It is an easy way to start with meditation and you will find guided meditation on most of the previously presented meditation types.
The practice of meditation requires some dose of will-power and of course, strong determination. In the past, people were more committed to these practices. They had strong ideals fueling their motivation. Maybe because their lives were more simple than ours, with less distractions.
We live different times now. Our life is busier and on a continuous schedule. Will-power is a less common personal asset. Distractions are everywhere. Meditation is often saw as a tool to develop better health, enhance performance or self-improvement. We got used to identify our needs with the commercials we see on TV or we hear on the radio. But this is totally wrong. We need to learn how to silence our minds, to rejoin with our true essence. With our souls. To identify our true needs, and to equally feed our body, spirit and mind. Permit yourself to evolve. To identify the parts that no longer serve you, to let them go, and to make room for new ideals that truly reflect who you are in the present moment.
Guided meditation is like cooking with a recipe
For these reasons, guided meditation can indeed be a good way to introduce you to the practice. Once you get used to the practice, I suggest you to take the practice to the next level, and to try meditate unassisted by audio device. It is up to you to decide when you feel ready to take this step.
I see guided meditation like cooking with a recipe. You have the determination to learn it, and with the help of the recipe, you make sure you can eat the food when it is ready. But once you understand the principles and flavors, you can cook your own dish. It will have a different and unique taste, of course. Personalized for you, making you not wanting to use the recipe anymore.
How do I practice?
Most of the guided meditation types come in the form of audio, and sometimes audio and video. Bellow you can find the most common guided meditations:
Traditional Meditations –
in this audio guided meditation, the voice of the teacher is simply there to guide you in directing and controlling your attention, in order to be in a meditative state. There are more silent parts in it than guiding voice parts, and often no music at all. Masters Thich Nhat Hanh and Tara Brach offer these guided meditations, which are rooted in authentic Buddhist practices. The purpose of this meditation is to develop and deepen the practice, with all the benefits that come with it.
Guided Imagery –
This meditation is based on the visualization and imagination powers of the brain. The teachers are guiding you to imagine an object, entity, scene, or even a journey. The scope of this guided meditation is usually relaxation, stress reduction and healing.
Relaxation & Body Scans –
In Yoga these are called Yoga nidra. The purpose is to reach deep relaxation and calmness, in your whole body. Therefore, this meditation is usually accompanied by instrumental music or nature sounds.
Usually coupled with relaxation and guided imagery, the purpose of these meditations is to imprint a message in your mind. Also, to imprint new mindsets for your brain.
Binaural Beats –
These special sounds were originally discovered back in 1839 by physicist Heinrich Wilhelm Dove. Binaural beats are used to generate alpha waves (10 Hz), which is the brain wave associated with initial levels of meditation. Dove discovered that when two different signal frequencies are presented separately, one to each ear, your brain detects the phase variation between the frequencies and tries to reconcile that difference. If you ask me, this is amazing . Of course, there is scientific research into how and why binaural beats work.
Do I need this meditation?
Guided meditation can be a good way to start the beautiful experience of meditation. Especially if you feel traditional meditation is a bit too hard, or if you are unsure where to start. There are also specific guided meditation for improving self-esteem, working on emotional traumas, or just letting go some tension in your body. There is a whole variety of meditational practices, and I hope that my articles will help you chose the right one for you.