Guided Meditations to Cultivate Calm and Relaxation
An introspective method for knowing ourselves and finding happiness.
Today’s world envelops us at different levels of immediate and material well-being. But this sophisticated web of apparent comforts sometimes masks real feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, sadness, and even depression. It seems that the more progress the world makes, the more difficult it is to find peace in our inner lives. (The current global situation is but one more ingredient making everything still more complex.) Meditation offers a softer, more silent and, above all, effective path. It provides an opportunity to know ourselves, and to procure our inner work—the part responsible for our perception of the world and, therefore, for true well-being.
Broadly speaking, meditation is a mental and bodily practice through which we meet our own natures, in order to accept ourselves as we are. Through its constant practice, we get useful internal tools for everyday life: meditating helps us to listen, to let go, to accept ourselves, and to feel compassion, to identify with the suffering of others, and to be kind. Being at peace with our insides, we coexist more harmoniously with the outside world. The meditative act doesn’t only benefit the one who practices it: meditating is an act of kindness toward those with whom we share this plane, this specific moment, and the space in which we’ve been.
For centuries, forms of meditation have been taught and practiced in almost all human spiritual doctrines. While there are substantial differences between the techniques pertaining to each tradition, they all share a belief that true happiness can’t be found in the changing conditions of the outside world, but by turning inward, exploring the heart and mind. To enter such states, we need to focus our attention on the present, to free ourselves from compulsive thoughts, to focus on the here and now.
A collective and kind response to such difficult moments (internal and external) caused by the current global health crisis and its many impacts can be found in the Global Intention initiative.
The effort brings together major meditation organizations like Tergar, The Chopra Center, Way of Nature, and the Center for Healthy Minds, among others. The project offers support to all the world’s people through a series of short, capsule meditations and guided reflections that help viewers to have more awareness, and inner peace at critical moments like the one we’re experiencing now. Capsules are accessible in both written and spoken language. Most are available with options for subtitles and dubbing.
Below is a brief selection of some of these (very necessary) sessions.
Calm – Mingyur Rinpoche
This meditation is designed to find calm. Led by the celebrated master of Tibetan Buddhism, Mingyur Rinpoche, through his serenity and wisdom, we can enter a state of stillness and peace. Good posture and proper breathing are indispensable to reaching that state. So is focusing our minds on a single element, from micro to macro, from the feeling we have of every part of our body, to the soundscapes that surround us, to the galaxies of the universe.
Love and Compassion– Arawana Hayashi
The renowned choreographer, researcher, and meditation teacher talks about the importance, at the moment, of taking collective care of our neighbors—of ourselves, and of our material reality. Through compassion, a powerful ability to feel the suffering of others, we can take advantage of the difficulties of our present to heal and ensure that people’s pain disappears, no matter whose. Our hearts can become a vehicle for a better world, and for all who inhabit it.
Finding Inner Peace– Richard Davidson
In this capsule, the founder and president of the Center for Healthy Minds begins by explaining that the estrangement we live with today is not just an act of individual protection, but an act of generosity for the benefit of others. Dr. Davidson guides a moving meditation through which he invites us to thank every individual who’s supported or accompanied us in the tough moments of isolation caused by the pandemic. From our partners and family members, to the medical service workers who risk their own health, day by day, by supporting ours. Gratitude is a virtue that allows us to value every detail of our interconnected and beautiful existence.
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Our daily lives are full of opportunities to develop spiritually and to find value in every moment. Meditation doesn’t mean turning away from the world but opening our hearts and minds to the beauty of what we already have. Meditating will often become an indispensable tool for enduring difficult times. It also helps us to develop the power to positively affect the lives of others through the goodness of our true natures.