Meditation & Mandalas


To meditate with this mandala gaze into its center allowing your focus to soften a little.
Breathe slowly, deeply and rhythmically.

Peaceful meditation Mandala

"Peace Mandala" © 1999-2007 Catresea Ann Canivan
A similar image is available on posters, shirts and such at CafePress


nlike my clever cats, I've had to put in time learning to meditate. And I must admit I didn't have any grand spiritual goals when I started. I've always been a very hyperanxious person and back in high school... when one most wants to show no fear and come off as supercool, this was Not A Good Thing To Be. Or so I thought. So when I heard that meditation can help a person relax and lay back and chill and all that other fashionable stuff, I got a book and tried to "Still my mind" and "Attain higher consciousness".. yeah, easy for them to say! Not having a heckuva lot of patience in those days, I gave up which was a shame because if I'd gotten the knack of meditation back then I might not have gone down so many, uh, less healthy roads in search of inner peace (grin) About five years ago I got the urge to try meditation again and this time, thank the Universe, I "got it"! The technique that worked for me is part Shakti Gawain, part Jon Kabat-Zinn (see booklist!) and part some online friends from what used to be the Alternative Spirituality section of GEnie's Religion and Ethics Roundtable back in the early 90s. Anyway, if you're getting frustrated with your meditation practice or if you've never tried it but would like to (hey, why not?) here's a technique that works well for me:

Get yourself into a comfortable position. You don't have to force your body into a full lotus or even sit upright if you don't want to. Lying down is fine, tho if you're already a laid-back type or kinda tired, you just might fall asleep! The important thing is to find a position that works for you. Sometimes I lie down and sometimes I sit on the floor in the Mountain position (sitting with calves tucked under thighs and hands palms down on thighs) I usually use the sitting pose during open-eyed meditation, with a mandala or candle flame, and the lying (Corpse... well, that's what it's called!) pose for a close-eyed meditation session.

If your body feels tight, try some tense-and-release exercises. Starting with one of your feet, tense the muscles as hard as you can for a few seconds, then let them go limp. Do this all the way up your body and include your facial muscles. Yoga can also help you to relax your body.

Now you're ready... even if you don't think you are try it anyway!... to begin your meditation. Breathing seems to be the key to relaxation and spiritual connection for me. Begin to consciously slow your breathing a little bit at a time. This should feel natural, not forced. Try to start your breath as far down your torso as you can, coming from the abdomen rather than the chest. To make sure you're doing this, put a hand on your lower belly and feel it rise and fall with your breath. This may take a little practice if you've never done it before. Feel the rhythm of your breath. Allow it to keep slowing down naturally. As you feel your breath traveling up your body, follow it in your mind imagining that it is energy (it is!) Try to keep your mind on your breath but if it wanders onto other things, don't sweat it. Just keep bringing it back to the breath. I usually meditate in 20 or 30 minute sessions but if this seems like Way Too Long, try 10 minutes. Or even 5. Eventually you'll start to feel so good after meditating that you'll WANT to lengthen your sessions and do more of them. I did, anyway.

Now what about this Higher Consciousness business? Like I said, I got into meditation for the relaxation but it has given me so much more than that. I've become more creative, intuitive, psychic and... I think... a nicer person. It's easier to be nice when you're not a nervous wreck all the time! My dreams have become more vivid and sometimes even lucid. I often feel guided by a Higher Power, connected to Source, or whatever it is you want to call that feeling of being at one with the Universe/God/dess. This altered state is also conducive to meeting and working with angels and spirit guides I believe that meditation puts me... and you, and anyone... in touch with the Collective Consciousness, the wellspring of the creative force. Not bad for a half hour of deep breathing a day, huh? :-)

And if sitting still isn't your thing, maybe you'd prefer exploring altered states of consciousness through ecstatic dance, drumming, playing a Singing Bowl, toning or chanting. These and other trance-inducing activities are explored on my new Altered States page.

Peace!


the secret law of attraction

The Journey To Wild Divine shamanic computer game


Art as a meditation tool
the image above leads to posters and prints of some of my favorite meditative artwork

I'm in the process of assembling a meditation themed Italian charm bracelet:

18K gold Italian Buddha charm Zoppini Stevie Nicks winged wild heart charms 18K Yin Yang charm by Zoppini charm bracelet Italian peace sign charm by Zoppini dove of peace Italian charm bracelet 18K gold & enamel psychic all seeing eye pyramid charms
Buddha . winged heart . Yin Yang . peace sign . dove of peace . psychic eye

I bought most of these Zoppini Italian charms at Heavenly Treasures. They have so many charms that they're all not pictured so if you don't see the one you want, scroll to the bottom of their charm page and search their alphabetical listings. If you buy three charms, they'll send you a free starter bracelet.


books about meditationBooks, Mood Altering Music & DVDs and Guided Meditations

Here are some of my favorite books and audio tapes on meditation and personal growth. If you like you can order any of these titles right here online through that very cool online bookstore, books about meditationAmazon.com. They're reliable, fast and offer considerable discounts on their more than 3 million (!) stocked titles. If you'd like to purchase a book or tape, clicking on the title will take you to the item in Amazon's online catalog.
Meditative Music

Brainwave Suite - Dr. Jeffrey Thompson
This collection of four CDs or cassettes provides wonderful ambient music to meditate by.
Listening can alter your consciousness as it gently nudges your brainwaves into configurations that promote relaxation & intuitive understanding.

Effortless Relaxation and Ancient Echoes,
both by Stephen Halpern
Beautiful and inspiring music to soothe your mood.

the ultimate om

OM (or AUM) is an ancient Sanskrit word symbolizing the energy vibration of Source. It is traditionally used to still the mind and expand holistic awareness. Ultimate Om by Jonathan Goldman is a healing soundscape of hundreds of OMs in a continuous, fluid wave of sonic vibration. Om - The Reverberation Of Source by Master Charles Cannon features voice, synthesizer, veena and the meditative sound of the ocean. It utilizes Alpha level Synchronicity Holodynamic technology which enhances whole-brain synchronization and unfolds a precision Alpha state of light meditation. When used with stereo headphones, it quickly delivers a balanced, peaceful and harmonious state of being.



Master musicians playing Tibetan singing bowls, whether made of the traditional seven metals or of natural crystal, have created some of the most beautiful & strongest psychoactive music I've experienced. Some of my favorites are "Seven Metals" by Benjamin Iobst, "Sounds of Light: The Pure Tones of Crystal Singing Bowls" by Crystal Voices, "Crystal Portal Singing Crystal Bowl Journeys" and "Journeys to Wholeness" by the Crystal Vibrations Music Ensemble the "Tibetan Bells" series by Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings.



Multimedia Meditation and Mind Altering DVDs

Created by Norman Bosworth, a cinematographer with over 20 year's experience, the Mindflo DVDs inspire states of relaxation, joy and peace, immersing you in the breathtaking beauty of the natural world. In blending these images with music, Bosworth has created three uniquely heartstirring synergistic experiences.

AV3X Vol. 1 / Digital Meditation DVD

This DVD combines Alpha/Theta brainwave entrainment methods of frequency controlled pulsed light stimulation and dual independent binaural beat sounds with morphing visuals and soothing soundscapes. Rich, resilient color patterns merge into ever-changing colorscapes mixed with captivating sounds that saturate the senses. Dreamy, spacey and expansive, the visuals are simply stunning. The next best thing to a shamanic visionary experience.
Note: There are six separate sessions, running from 6 to 15 minutes for a total of 69 minutes. The light pulses are optional; they can be turned on or off. (Try it both ways :-)

Learn-to-Meditate DVDs

Meditation for Beginners
by Maritza
Yoga and meditation teacher Maritza guides you step-by-step in the practice of mindfulness showing you how to focus inwardly to shed internal patterns of tension and anxiety and release the boundaries that inhibit your vital force. With serene Maui Island as a backdrop, she helps you create your own inner sanctuary and leads you through a 15-minute yoga practice to prepare your body, mind and attention for two 20-minute guided relaxation and meditation sessions. The deluxe DVD edition includes the complete program, yoga modification guide for beginners and an in-depth interview with Maritza.

The Secret Is There Are No Secrets: An Introduction to Zen Meditation
by Cheri Huber
Meditation shows us that nothing is hidden. Sitting down, being still and paying attention reveals much that seems unknowable and inaccessible. This introductory program teaches you what meditation is, how to do it, how to be successful at sustaining a practice, and where that practice might lead you. Cheri Huber has been a student and teacher of Zen for over 30 years. She leads workshops and retreats at the Zen Monastery Peace Center in Murphys, California, and is the author of 20 books. Her great strength as a teacher is making awareness practice relevant to everyday life. This program follows in that tradition.

Relaxation & Breathing for Meditation
by Rodney Yee
Relax, breathe deeply and learn the keys to health, vitality and inner peace. Rodney Yee demonstrates 30 minutes of gentle yoga poses and another 30 minutes breathing techniques to bring the body and mind to a state of stillness. Once you've viewed the entire DVD, you can pick the sections that work best for you or mix them up; the menu system on this DVD is excellent. There's also a short guided meditation session and an insightful interview with Rodney. Recommended for beginner and intermediate meditators.

Meditation Kits

Insight Meditation: A Step-By-Step Course on How to Meditate
workbook, CDs & study cards
by Sharon Salzberg & Joseph Goldstein
This step-by-step course in insight meditation is designed as a complete self-guided curriculum. Organized into nine lessons, the workbook features more than 75 mindfulness exercises, question-and-answer sections, glossaries, and photographs illustrating correct meditation postures. The two 70-minute compact discs include six meditations too help you learn and the 12 insight study cards will reinforce your practice with daily reminders of the fundamentals of meditation in a convenient, portable form.

The Meditation Kit: Traditional Tools to Awaken the Spirit
Mandala Publishing
This tool kit for transcendence offers easy-to-use items to support routine spiritual practice. The kit includes a brass bell; incense and a holder; a sandalwood chanting mala and silk cloth; 16 illustrated worship cards; an achman cup and spoon; sacred body clay; a mantra chanting CD and meditation guide; and exercises for mantra meditation, purification, and food offerings.

Create Your Own Affirmations: A Creative Visualization Kit
guidebook, journal & cards
by Shakti Gawain
Creative Visualization is the art of using mental imagery and affirmation to produce positive change. Employing her proven method, Shakti Gawain teaches how to trust intuition and act on our inner truth as a means of both releasing and developing creativity in every area of life. This kit offers her dynamic tools for transformation: a supportive guidebook, a visualization journal, 25 printed affirmation cards, and 25 illustration-only cards for individually-customized affirmation cards, all packaged in an elegant portable box.

Books

Mandala : Luminous Symbols for Healing
by Judith Cornell
Create sacred art to facilitate the unfolding of your Divine potential. Judith Cornell, artist, seasoned workshop leader and founder/director of Manifesting Inner Light of Sausalito, Calif., provides a series of step-by-step exercises for healing through the creation of, and meditations upon, mandalas. A truly inspirational book with many beautiful color photographs.

Everyone's Mandala Coloring Book (volume 1)
by Monique Mandali
If you're not in the mood to make your own mandala from scratch but still want to do something creative, try this book of outline-only mandala designs. This coloring book contains original designs drawn by hand by Monique Mandali. They have a lovely Eastern feel inspired by classical Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese mandalas. And Everyone's Mandala Coloring Book, Volume Two is full of equally beautiful, inspiring designs to color.

Magic Mandala Coloring Book
by Martha Bartfield
Another beautiful collection of images of sacred geometry to color. Each one graphically represents energy moving to or from a central point, symmetry, and oneness, as is customary for a mandala. When colored for pure enjoyment, they evoke the pleasure that comes from working with universal patterns of line and form. When colored for healing purposes, they can alleviate tension and boredom while enhancing serenity and mental activity, and when colored for purposes of spiritual exploration, they help provide an awareness of the universe and the oneness of all life.

Mandala Workbook: For Inner Self-Discovery
by Anneke Huyser
Learn to create designs that tap into subconscious energies for centering, healing and relaxtion. Anneke suggests shapes, symbols, colors, and numbers with their traditional meanings so that you can combine personal and ancient iconography to fully express yourself. The book ends with a chapter of relaxation and visualization exercises that will help you make manifest your subconscious in the form of a mandala.

Mandala: Journey to the Center
by Bailey Cunningham
This beautiful book offers over 400 breathtaking color photographs of mandalas in manifestations from art, architecture & nature. It explores how the mandala has been used throughout history and is still relevant today as a tool for meditation, personal growth & expression and provides exercises & examples of techniques for making one's own mandalas.

Wherever You Go, There You Are : Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
by Jon Kabat-Zinn
A practical guide to living in the present and making each moment count. Anyone can learn to use this method of relaxation to reduce anxiety, achieve inner peace, and enrich the quality of life. This was one of the first books I read on meditation and I still refer to it. I can open it at any page and "be inspired" :-)

Meditation As Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force
by Dharma Singh Khalsa
Long-term meditators experience 80 percent less heart disease and 50 percent less cancer than nonmediators, according to a large body of studies. Meditation has been shown to improve sleep and reduce chronic pain. Not all meditation is equally effective, however. Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., has developed a form of advanced meditation he calls "Medical Meditation," which "more fully addresses every element of our physical and ethereal makeup... a full-service approach." Medical Meditation is an adaptation of kundalini yoga combined with meditation, using specific breathing patterns, posture and movements, mantras, and mental focus.
The Big Book of Relaxation
by Larry Blumenfeld
The contributors here are experts in relaxation techniques, packing their recommendations into chapters which provide practical step-by-step approaches to different therapies and options. From yoga and meditation techniques to conscious exercise and visualization techniques, the writers provide a wealth of explicit advice.

The Creative Visualization Workbook
Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in You Life
by Shakti Gawain
Revised and updated by the author to accompany her classic text Creative Visualization this workbook offers powerful, effective techniques presented in an easy-to-use fashion that assist you in designing your own individual blueprint for positive change and growth. Includes important new material not found in Creative Visualization, such as the clearing and "core belief" processes.

Mandalas of the World : A Meditating & Painting Guide
by Rudiger Dahlke & Katharina Von Martinus
This exquisitely illustrated work has more than 100 mandalas, with an accompanying meditation for each one...a stunning collection of images in nature, mandalas that may be found all over the world; of American Indians and many other significant mandalas in history.

Care of the Soul : A Guide to Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life
by Thomas Moore
Therapist and religious historian Moore's invigorating guide to a "soulful" life poses a radical challenge to contemporary psychotherapy.

The Celestine Meditations : A Guide to Meditating Based on the Celestine Prophecy CD
by Salle Redfield
A collection of guided meditations based on the book The Celestine Prophecy Also available on audio cassette tape.

The Goddess in the Office : A Personal Energy Guide for the Spiritual Warrior at Work
by Zsuzsanna E. Budapest
Wise, whimsical, witty, and when it's called for, deliciously wicked, America's favorite witch stirs up an empowering brew for working women everywhere. From receptionist to CEO and everyone in between, what woman wouldn't want to improve something (or many things) about her hectic seven-day work week? In this gift-worthy guide, Z. Budapest combines down-to-earth tips and traditional magic to help women employ their powers.

Moon over Water : Meditation Made Clear With Techniques for Beginners and Initiates
by Jessica MacBeth
This classic meditation guide is out of print but sometimes available through this link as a used book.

Guided Meditations on Video, Cassette, CD & DVD

Creative Visualization Meditations CD
by Shakti Gawain

Living in the Light (VHS video)
by Shakti Gawain

Meditations for Creating True Prosperity (Audio Cassette)
by Shakti Gawain

Contacting Your Inner Guide (audio cassette or download)
by Shakti Gawain

The Inner Art of Meditation CD
by Jack Kornfield

Guided Meditations: For Developing Calmness, Awareness, and Love CD
by Bodhipaksa

The Soul of Healing Meditations CD
by Deepak Chopra

Meditation For Beginners DVD
by Rodney Yee

I'm honored to have my Peace mandala on the cover of a wonderful new book on self-healing by Marielle Hoefsloot called The Blue Room



Learn more about Altered States of Consciousness

cats paw Cat Meditation cats paw
Try this special guided meditation for cat lovers


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links

Kira's Walking Meditation and Yoga Postures

Sedona Method - find lasting inner peace, joy and love

Haven of Peace

Now & Zen Meditation Tools

Free Daily Horoscope & Astrological Guidance

Kundalini Resource Center

Spiritual Minds - mind machines & meditation aids

Spirit WWW Meditation Page

Serenity Health Tranquility Fountains

Earth Mandala

Jean Maurie's Healing Hand Meditation

All the Aums collection

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Have you created a personal mandala that you'd like to share with the world?
Visit Bailey Cunningham's Mandala Project and learn how you can become part of an exciting new worldwide art collaboration.

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