The Brain on Guided Meditations: Recognize Obstacles to get Results
Mindfulness is a widespread concept that, over the years of increasing popularity, has introduced a vast range of activities and lifestyle changes for the practitioner, with the goal of pursuing a balanced and harmonized existence. According to UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center, “Mindful awareness can be defined as paying attention to present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is.” One such activity that yields countless benefits is the listening to guided meditations, which is an audible modality for relaxation, visualization, and healthier mindsets in recent years.
As the concept of Mindfulness has risen to popularity, guided meditations of a variety of genres have been created, usually with an intention such as healing or releasing negative thought patterns. By allowing oneself to drop into a relaxed trance state, the listener is able to enter an alternate state of mind. While people go about their daily routines – working, driving, communicating with people, and other consciously aware activities, the Beta state-of-mind is activated. When a trance state is induced, Beta mode drops and allows the listener to enter the meditative trance state of Alpha, which the same state-of-mind people go into when they are daydreaming or using their imagination. People naturally enter an Alpha state throughout the day, while the deeper level of Theta waves is reached naturally only twice each day – once while waking up, and again when falling into sleep.
It is in the Alpha state-of-mind that most people experience guided meditations because it is deep enough that it allows for vivid visualizations and imagery to occur, though light enough for the individual to remember it on a conscious level; while most have a harder time recollecting the experience vividly when coming out of Theta mode. However, deeper trance levels are able to be reached through guided meditations as well.
It is a misconception that one can only produce permanent healing effects while in the deepest trance level, believing that a lighter trance level only produces relaxation. However, remarkable healing effects have been reached through the simple Alpha state. When an individual is able to stimulate the right side of their brain, where daydreaming and imagination occurs, visualization is a simple but effective tool to evoke the changes they wish to see. And while deeper trance levels can be more effective, a factor that affects the entire experience is the level of commitment to the imagery that the listener allows. The more fleshed out, detailed, and embodied the visualization is, the more effective and lasting the results will be.
Whether healing, astral projection, contacting spirit, connecting with source, relaxation, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, or other intended result, what it comes down to is the individual, their level of relaxation, and how deeply they allow themselves to ‘fall into’ the imagery in their mind’s eye (the right-brain daydreaming/imagination space in their mind). This is why many might hear others or find themselves frustrated with the practice of meditation.
It can take practice to learn to relax enough, especially for parents who tend to naturally keep ‘one ear out’/’one eye open’ or a left-brained individual whose day job involves analytical skills. As well, it can take much practice to learn to ‘let go’ and allow themselves to sink into their imaginations, something that may have been quite easy as a child, but has since become blocked upon entering adulthood. The frustration one feels alone can then become an obstacle, which then must be learned to be gently pushed aside or transmuted into a positive emotion or thought until the frustration is overcome second-naturedly.
Working towards the goal of effectively utilizing guided meditations in itself is a practice in Mindfulness and serves many purposes; it requires setting a goal, being presently aware of the conscious mind and its obstacles, and taking affirmative steps towards achieving the desired effects by cultivating patience, peace-of-mind, and self-love.