If you like details and are technically minded, you’ll especially love this.
First and foremost, I should explain what meditation is, and this is not some dictionary definition but rather built upon what I know and have experienced.
Meditation is really the practice of entering the meditative state and then some people may wish to undertake rituals, like repeating affirmations, visualisations or offering prayers.
Entering into a meditative state is the common basis for any energetic or esoteric work that you may wish to undertake, in any tradition or culture.
Meditation has a new-age overtone to it, but in medical circles, the term is self-hypnosis. Guided meditations are nothing more than hypnotic inductions.
The idea of meditation is to get into the meditative state, which in other circles may be called trance, the hypnotic state, the alpha state – and there are many other terms for it.
So What IS The Meditative State?
Good question. When I first started meditating, I really wasn’t sure what was meant to happen, and I had no idea that there was a meditative state. In fact, I was just following the instructions of other people, who come to think of it, had no idea either.
It took a real pro to explain it to me, and guide me into the meditative state, and from then on, my meditations were 1000% more amazing.
So let me attempt to explain it for you:
Think of that time in the morning, where you’re just about to wake up and the sleep is just about to dissolve. You’re hazy, a little dreamy but not totally awake.
Or if you like, think of that time late at night when you’re drifting off to sleep. Still a little bit aware, but drifting. Not asleep, but getting there.
Or another example is when you may be day dreaming. You’re awake, you’re aware, but you’re completely chilled out.
In all of these examples, you are naturally in the meditative state. It is a naturally occurring state which you enter into, often without paying too much attention, or without any difficulty.
A more technical explanation would say that the meditative state occurs at the threshold of consciousness, where you’re about to enter unconsciousness.
The diagram below explains this a little clearly:
We can see that the conscious state and the unconscious state are fairly defined.
When you’re conscious, you’re aware, active and able to interact with your environment. You can dance, sing, converse, act and react, eat, laugh… etc…
When you’re unconscious, you’re effectively asleep. You’re unaware of what is happening around you, you’re inactive and unable to interact with your environment. You can’t take any physical actions, because as I said – you’re effectively asleep.
It’s that clear, it’s black and white – you’re either unconscious or you’re conscious.
The meditative state adds a grey area here – or if you’re going by my diagram, it’s a purple area. The meditative state is that threshold state where you’re neither conscious nor unconscious, yet somehow both. You’re aware, but inactive out of choice. You know what is happening, and often at both the conscious and unconscious states, but your physical activity is limited by your choice, because you’re relaxed – it’s like your body is asleep, but your mind is aware.
The meditative state is powerful for a number of reasons, but the source of the power stems from being physically relaxed. When the body is relaxed, the mind has less to do, and it can therefore focus on the purpose of your meditation.
Entering The Meditative State
The main way to enter the meditative state is to relax the body and the mind, and regulate your breathing. This can be done through meditation, hypnosis, binaural beats, or any system that induces a trance.
In hypnosis, this is called an induction. In meditation, there are many inductions, or a number of meditations, however in my experience a number of them don’t effectively put you into the meditative state.
Beware Of Guided Meditations!
OK, so it may seem like a heavy warning, but it this is important.
There is a significant difference between a guided meditation and a guided visualisation, and a lot of meditations that I have come across have been guided visualisations, and a lot of people who think they practice meditations, actually are only practicing visualising.
See, guided visualisations will not necessarily enter you into a meditative state.
A guided meditation can involve guided visualisations as well, the two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, once you’ve entered into a meditative state, the guided visualisations will be much more powerful!
Now that you understand the difference, you can be discerning about which meditations you can use.
Now I’m Meditative, What Can I do?
So once you’re in the meditative state, there are a number of things you can do.
If your focus is health and well being, being in a highly relaxed state is going to be good for stress relief. Affirmations are a good idea to enforce positive beliefs.
If you’re doing this for personal development, visualising goals will help you achieve them – it also serves as a dress rehearsal for the mind to make goals more believable for you.
If you’re into intuition and psychic work, this is a good way to connect with your spirit guides, protect yourself and your boundaries in preparation for a psychic reading.
If you’re religious then offer prayers and gratitude to your divinity – the sense of peace and devotion will be intensified and your focus will be sharper.
If you’re a healer, then this is the perfect state in which to channel energy and perform quicker and more effective healings.
If you’re into the esoteric, then astral travel is a possibility.
For those of you who are into spiritual growth, balancing of your chakras and cleansing may be on your agenda.
For students, you can do your study, and your learning will be absorbed at a much deeper level, with a greater amount of recall.
For the creative – writers, artists, musicians – you’ll be accessing your creativity with greater flow and velocity.
By no means is this an exhaustive list, but rather it’s to give examples of what can be done at the meditative state, a lot of these which I’ve had experience with myself.