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Photo from Stillwater Mindfulness Practice Center website (www.stillwatermpc.org)

Recently I had two opportunities to offer healing guided meditation to friends who were suffering from physical ailments. One had a persistent pain in her leg which was worrying her because she was about to embark on a trip that would involve much walking. The other had a serious physical problem that was causing stress and inability to focus on work. In both cases, my friends were getting medical treatment, testing and physical therapy. I am no doctor and don’t give medical advice. But each of us had experienced the power of meditation to deal with pain, illness and stress. So, the first woman only had time for a short meditation by phone and the second asked me to come to her home to guide her in a deep relaxation meditation. In each case, I began and ended with the sound of a bell, invited my friends to assume comfortable positions (one sitting, the other lying down) and begin following the breath. As we moved through the body, breathing energy and relaxing, I tried to concentrate on the particular areas of discomfort. Breathing in energy from the Universe; breathing out pain, relaxing.

I love doing this work and do it best when I am also breathing slowly, aware of my in breath and out breath, relaxing my body as I am directing others to do the same. Becoming aware of places where I am holding tension, and relaxing that muscle. I would not be able to instruct anyone else to relax and breathe, to concentrate on images or experiences that bring peace to body and spirit if I did not do the same for myself on a daily basis. I also allow others to guide me in deep relaxation and my husband to guide me when he notices tension or suffering in my body and spirit. We “inter-are,” so my meditation affects him and his affects me.

The practice is very simple, something that anyone can do, anywhere, anytime with oneself or others. Breathe, follow the particular breaths, in/out, relax each part of the body…..concentrate on an area of the body or mind that needs attention. Sit with the discomfort…..feel the feelings….watch them move and change…..we are still sitting and breathing, alive!

The Buddha taught that each living being has within the potential to become awakened, aware, alive in the present moment. Guided meditation is a tool for awakening, one that gives to both the giver and the receiver at the same time. I plan to do a deep relaxation meditation at a day of mindfulness next week and several forms of guided meditations on our upcoming retreat for women in May.

Perhaps these guided meditations might become my next book. Something that helps people trust the spirit within themselves to find the words to help themselves and one another breathe, relax and awaken.

What do you think?

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