One of the biggest problems faced by people new to meditation is the dizzying variety of different types of meditating there are. Although the benefits of meditation a well known, and many people out there would really like to get a good meditation practice together, often they fail to take even the most rudimentary steps towards establishing a daily habit of meditating. It is little wonder why. With Taoist meditation, yoga meditation, and literally thousands of other varieties of meditation out there, how can anyone sort through all of the dizzying possibilities?
I have tried many different schools of meditation, but the one that I keep coming back to is guided meditation. Although I do not use the most frequently of all of the forms, I do find it the most useful. I guess part of this has to do with the fact that it was my introduction. I had a friend who is a dedicated student of a guru. I was, let us say, a bit skeptical at the time. My friend looked like a wide-eyed believer to me, and I tried to convince her over and over again to stay away from the so-called guru. But she convinced me instead to come check out one of his meetings.
Although there were many components to the ceremony, it started and ended with a guided meditation. The guided meditation was simple. He directed us to follow our breaths, flowing in and out of our bodies, and to visualize them as beams of energy. It might sound stupid to you, and even telling it sounds silly to me, but there was something about the way that he used his voice to direct the guided meditation that made it a profoundly powerful practice. I have tried guided meditation tapes and CDs, but none of them have given me nearly as powerful of an effect as hearing someone directing the meditation with their own voice in person.
Of course, you do not need to have amassed a lead guided meditation, and if you have a spiritual group, you can all take turns leading it. Many guided meditations are just simple relaxation exercises. You can do such simple things as imagining yourself in a peaceful place with the sun beating down on you, or focusing back on some early memories from childhood. Some of the most powerful guided meditations that there are also the most obvious ones. The most important thing is to have fun with it!