Meditation means different things to different people. For some, it means getting in touch with a higher power, while for others it means communing with nature and the essence of existence, while for still others it means searching for meaning and inner peace within themselves. And for some of us, it is simply a way to relax, recharge our internal batteries, and keep things in perspective.
Human beings throughout the world have been meditating in one form or another for thousands of years. For many centuries it was viewed as a strange and almost totally alien practice by people in the Western world, who saw it as belonging to unfamiliar and suspect ‘heathen’ religions practiced in mysterious faraway places. In the last century, however, as the world has opened both its borders as its mind, the popularity of various forms of meditation have increased dramatically in the West and are today practiced by people in all walks of life in every nation on earth. And while many still use meditation as part of their religious or spiritual practices, others meditate on a regular basis because of its other benefits.
A Brief History of Meditation
Modern meditation techniques can trace their origins back to ancient India; artwork dating from about 5,000 BC shows people with half-closed eyes sitting in what appear to be meditative poses, and the discipline was passed orally from teachers – called gurus – to their students across the centuries. The oldest written instructions for how to meditate appear in ancient Hindu scriptures – called Vedas – that date back to about 1,500 BC and the practice became an important part of the religion particularly among the gurus and holy men.
Other forms of meditation aimed more at the common man began to show up with the advent of Buddhism in India and Taoism in central China around 500 BC. As the differing sects or ‘schools’ of these religions evolved and spread throughout Asia – particularly Japan and Korea – so did various types of meditation. The Zen school of Buddhism – in which the practice of meditation to find inner peace, tranquility and mindfulness was a central concept – started to grow in the 5th and 6th centuries AD, and developed the basis for many of the meditation techniques that have become popular in the Western world over the last century. Throughout the Middle Ages varying forms of meditation developed independently in certain branches of Judaism, Christianity and Islam – although these mostly revolved around prayer, and were significantly different from the Eastern forms.
While some of the older European pagan religions used meditation as a part of their rituals, the Eastern practice remained largely unknown in the Western world until the middle of the 19th century, and began to gain popularity – first in Europe and then in North America – in the 1890s with the introduction of yoga to the West. Initially the province of intellectuals and what were considered the more ‘off-beat’ parts of society, the popularity of both yoga and meditation started surging in the 1960s with the introduction of more secular meditation techniques – including forms of Transcendental Meditation developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the mid-60s – which concentrate on relaxation, self-improvement, and the reduction of stress.
Modern Meditation and Its Benefits
In the last decade meditation has undergone a dramatic surge in popularity. While it is impossible to estimate exactly how many people throughout the world meditate on a regular basis, estimates from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest that almost 15 percent of all Americans practice some form of meditation on a regular basis (up from just 4 percent in 2012), and that number is likely to be higher in Europe. The reasons for this include the increasing pace and stress of modern life, as well as the fact that researchers are continually finding new and significant health benefits associated with the practice.
It is important to understand that ‘meditation’ is not a specific practice or discipline – there are many different types of meditation, and there is no ‘best’ form for everyone. The type of meditation an individual chooses to practice (and the benefits they will derive from it) is largely a matter of personal choice and preference and will normally be based on an individual’s personality and what they are looking to get from the practice.
There are literally hundreds of different meditation techniques commonly used throughout the world, and many variations within the individual types themselves. In the Western world Mindfulness, Spiritual, Transcendental, Focused and Mantra meditations are the most popular and widely taught, and it is not uncommon for an individual to try several techniques before settling on the one they are most comfortable with. Most meditation techniques can be done alone or in a group setting; in conjunction with yoga, massage or other types of physical therapies; and can be learned from private instructors, at community, youth and senior centers, or even on the internet.
In the last decade or so traditional medicine has recognized the health benefits of regular meditation to the point where literally thousands of doctors routinely prescribe it to their patients for use in conjunction with other commonly prescribed medical treatments. Studies have indicated that regular meditation:
- Can help to dramatically lower stress levels which, in turn, can help to lower blood pressure and increase and improve heart and lung function.
- Help to increase the natural functions of the body’s immune system.
- Help to reduce chronic pain and insomnia, and the risks of heart and cardio-vascular diseases.
- Can aid in effectively dealing with obesity and the risks associated with diabetes.
- Help individuals combat the effects of anxiety and depression-related conditions.
More recent studies have also found that regular meditation can help increase people’s productivity and job performance in the workplace; reduce problems with coworkers, family and friends; and effectively deal with anger and violence issues.
Here are two guided morning meditation audios with scripts, one is 10 minutes and the other one is 20 minutes long.
Copyright Notice: We own the commercial rights for these meditations and scripts. You may not make recordings or reproduce these meditations, except for your personal, private use.
Guided Morning Meditation: 10 minutes
Guided Morning Meditation Script
Begin this meditation immediately upon awakening. You may practice while lying in bed or while sitting up, but the main goal is that you practice before your day begins. When you’re ready gently close your eyes.
Focus in on your breath, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Continue this cycle of breath throughout the course of the meditation. With every inhale allow your stomach to expand completely, and on every exhale let it contract. Allow each breath to be full and complete, both breathing in and exhaling out.
And as you breathe this way, you begin to feel deep appreciation for another beautiful day. Begin to become fully aware of your physical body in this moment, noticing that it is waking up. Allow yourself to send appreciation to your body, as you thank it for taking you into another day.
Today is an opportunity to live your life to your highest potential – To fulfill a greater purpose and to be fully present with yourself and the world around you.
Having this day is not something to take for granted. Today is a special day. You have many opportunities at your fingertips today. Take a deep breath in through your nose as you recognize this truth and hold your breath at the top. When you are ready, exhale with a long, audible sigh as you return to long, slow and steady inhales through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
This is a beautiful world that we live in and today is an opportunity to experience that beauty.
Let all of your awareness drop into your heart’s energy center – this is the area located in the middle of your chest and approximately two inches inwards. As you say to your heart, “good morning” – you may feel a smile come across your face as you welcome your heart to the day and imagine a soft pink orb of light in this energy center. This soft pink light in the center of your heart radiates with the energy of unconditional self-love and acceptance. Indeed it is a beautiful morning to experience self-love and acceptance. Continue to breathe into this pink orb of light, placed gently in your heart. On every in-breath allow this light to expand. And on every out-breath, it grows larger…until this soft pink orb of light encapsulates you completely.
Just breathe, as you enjoy the loving energy that is all around you.
If you haven’t already, adjust your palms so that they are facing upwards, letting your hands be open to receiving all of this love that is all around you. And in your heart affirm, “I am open to receiving love. I am opening to experiencing self-love and expectance. I am ready to take these feelings with me all throughout the day.”
As you connect with and open up to this unconditional love all around you. Feel yourself growing eager to begin this perfect day, allowing yourself to feel a sense of commitment, committing to your heart to stay connected to this unconditional loving presence. As you allow yourself to see, all that you have to do today – even better, all that you get to do today – see yourself in this orb of pink light going about your day sending appreciation and love into every aspect of your day.
Say thank you to your heart, to this loving orb of soft pink light, for sending love and appreciation out before you today – cleansing and clearing the way so that everywhere you go and everyone whose life you touch is positively impacted by this soft pink loving light and gentle presence of unconditional love.
When you’re ready, breathe in deeply through your nose and hold your breath at the top as you confirm, I welcome in the highest most loving experiences for today, and when you’re ready, exhale with a long audible sigh.
Continue to see this soft pink light around you all throughout the day everywhere you go. When you’re ready, slowly begin to stretch your arms out, perhaps allowing yourself to yawn …and when you can very slowly, bring your awareness back to the room around you, opening your eyes when you’re ready.
Meditation for Morning: 20 Minutes
Meditation Script for Morning
Welcome to this morning meditation. When you are first waking up, your brain is still functioning at a similar speed to sleeping… Let’s use this opportunity of relaxation as well as heightened mental creativity to visualize an amazing day ahead… remain in your bed if you still are, and again close your eyes…
As you drift and float from sleep to wake, I want you to relax in your bed and don’t worry about getting up right now, just let my voice flow and soothe you for the next little bit.
Keep your body in a comfy and cozy position and remain still for the time being.
If you can, think back to the dreams you were just having.
Our dreams are powerful learning tools, that help us sort through problems and alert us of things we need to work on, as well as highlight things that are going good for us, and how we can experience more fulfillment…
If you can, recall every detail of your dreams right now… allow things to rise in your mind from those dreams that could be very important messages for your waking life….
So, what were you just dreaming about?
Are you able to kind of imagine that you’re dreaming again right now?
What you are doing right now is actively dreaming, which allows you to take information from the subconscious world and bring it over to your conscious mind… Going from sleep to wake is a very natural process…
So just dream and float…
Float and dream…
Learn things you need to learn….
See things you need to see.
Now, I am going to count from 1 to 10 and with each number I say, you are going to allow your dreams to blend with a mental picture of what you want your day ahead to look like…
1….. how do you see your day playing out?
2….. and what were you just dreaming about?
3….. what do you want to make happen today?
4….. see your day as productive…
5….. remembering the essence of your dreams…
6……see your day as full of joy…
7…… see yourself making meaningful connections…
8…… see yourself motivated and accomplishing things.
9…… feel yourself smiling.
And 10…… You sleep to learn and you learn when you sleep…
I want you to take this picture you have created of this beautiful day in front of you and make it as vivid as possible…
Notice some things you are doing after completing this meditation…
See the colors brightly….
Hear the sounds that are familiar throughout your day…
Visualize yourself interacting with others in positive ways…
Witness yourself fully motivated towards your goals…
Make this visualization as detailed as you possibly can…
Allow the day to fully play out in your mind exactly how you desire it to be…
What are you doing and where are you going?
Remember, the more detailed the better…
What kinds of things do you see… notice the nature as well as the human-built world…
See the kinds of people are you talking with….
Take a really big refreshing deep breath to set this image in stone.
And one more deep and full breath for good luck.
We are going to begin a movement body scan to slowly energize your body to get started for this amazing day you have created in your mind.
So, begin to move your hips slightly from side to side, in a small rocking motion for a few moments…..and stop.
Wiggle your toes for several seconds….. and stop
Move your hips again, back and forth for a while….. and stop
Wiggle all of your fingers …… and stop
And back to the hips, imagine that you are dancing a little in your sleeping position….and stop
And move your head around, whichever way feels best, you could imagine that you are bobbing your head to a song you like…….and stop
Back to the hips, wiggle, and dance…..and stop
Make circles with your ankles…. And your wrists…
Move your shoulders around…
Take a huge breath in of fresh air……. and let it go….. take another deep breath and imagine that as you inhale, fresh, exciting energy is coming in.
Now, remember again that picture of your day ahead of you that you created a minute ago…
Vividly see yourself motivated and full of energy….
See yourself smiling and accomplishing things with ease…
People enjoy talking to you just as you enjoy talking to them.
Another nice breath in, drawing this attainable image into your wakeful life as you breathe….
And wiggle your whole body like you are dancing a little bit while laying down in your bed. You are dancing in bed before you even get up because you are excited about the day ahead of you that you’ve created.
Moving your whole body and head now, while breathing deeply that fresh, energizing oxygen, and seeing your day play out just how you want it to.
You can stop dancing now and prepare to wake up, ready to start your day!
I am going to count one more time, very rapidly, and with each number I say, you will feel more and more awake, and excited to make your dreams a reality.
3….. see that vision of yourself very clearly
6…… breathe that fresh energy
9…… moving and stretching your whole body now, waking up your muscles
And 10…..eyes open, fully awake and ready to tackle the day with a smile.