This shot captures a bit of my meditation session last night… It was all about the Egyptian God, Anubis, and the crystal Carnelian, both of which are associated with psychopomp functions (i.e., ushering newly deceased souls into the Land of the Dead). I tried doing this visualization exercise of descending into the Earth to have a meet and greet with Anubis so he could weigh my heart against the feather of Ma’at – this is how he runs his show.
Since I’m still here to be typing this post up this morning, the weigh-in clearly went pretty well…
Part of the reason I’m posting this, though, is to help maybe clear up some misconceptions about what meditation is, or what it’s “supposed to be.” I think that for anyone who’s never tried meditating before, popular media has left us with the impression that in order to do it “properly,” you have to sit in lotus position for long periods of time, chanting the “aum” syllable, casting your hands into mudras, and blanking your mind completely until you’re eventually levitating in a blissful nirvana-like state.
But it don’t gotta be like that. If you can do that, then sure, levitate away (and please give me some pointers – I’m not averse to more bliss in my life)…but there are alternatives.
You can go with mindfulness, as opposed to that blank-slate sort of mindlessness that gets harped on so regularly. Turning off the chattering mind is really difficult to pull off, and if you put pressure on yourself to manage that right out of the gate when you first start meditating, you may be setting yourself up for frustration and failure. Mindfulness meditation allows you to retain some of your “mind” while meditating, and it places focus on simply being aware of yourself as a physical body, and of the many sensations that you’re receiving from the world around you on a constant basis. Feel the slight breeze…feel gravity asserting itself upon you steadily from below…hear that dog barking far down the street…smell the faint scent of lilacs blooming outside your window… Sit in silence with all that for a while. Just sitting still and being fully aware can be valid meditation!
And so can visualization. This is a more active type of meditation that involves using the imagination much as a child does. Experience something fantastical or something archetypal. You can have some goal or objective. You can do symbolic things meant to empower yourself or illuminate things for you. You can try to commune with other beings in your mind — believe it or not, as you get better at slipping into a light trance-state, such as what hypnosis professionals try to induce in their patients, you may actually feel like you’re receiving answers!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: if you can build some regular meditation into your days, you may find that you start to feel like a guitar that’s been properly tuned…