I received an email from a lovely friend today, asking about meditation for getting in touch with inner wisdom and where to start.
"...that's a broad topic."
Her question is not a new one. Many clients come to me unsure how to tap into the elusive intuition and inner wisdom. We all have it and it proves to be our most powerful guidance once we connect with it.
All meditations will lead to inner wisdom. Some just work better with people's personalities, habits and schedules.
I help clients with meditation, length and timing depending upon what stage they are at in life, their unique personality and what they need at the moment.
We are not monks in caves, we are car-pooling, clothes-washing, grocery-shopping, meal-making, working and bedtime story-telling busy people. Which is the exact reason a regular meditation practice is so important as our busy lives too often drown out the sound of our own guidance.
For those starting out, 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening is an effective place to begin.
The most important aspect is daily. So whatever you choose, pick something you can sustain every day and feel nourished by.
If you need help focusing, I always enjoy the global sadhana's offered by Spirit Voyage. The kundalini meditations provide videos to chant along with. Their current 11 day practice, sat kartar, is a kriya for opening heart centre and expanding into love.
Otherwise, I suggest starting with a simple mantra; repeating a silent "so" on the long, slow inhale and "hum" on the full, relaxed exhale. Or affirmation "I am" on the inhale and "relaxed" on the exhale. You can use any word you like for your affirmation exhale. My meditations often involve helping people identify a personal affirmation for their current circumstances. Try a few on and see which words feel yummy and right for you... "calm, at peace, in the moment, whole, intuitive".
Let your shoulders drop, unclench your jaw and feel your body relax for the full meditation, deeply surrendering to the practice of no-time, no demands, no requirements, no expectations. There is no where else to be other than wholly-present in your practice. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your mantra or simply take a long, slow, deep breath and continue.
Pranayam, or focused breath work, is also a method I enjoy sharing with clients, particularly the very busy ones.
You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day - unless you're too busy; then you should sit for an hour. - Old Zen adage
Everyone has to find their own personal process of meditation. It matters less, the meditation itself, and more that it is authentic for the individual. Sitting on the front step breathing with a tree or soaking up the sun's rays...equally beneficial... you are simply in pursuit of quieting the chatter of the mind and hearing the soft, whisper of your own inner guidance.
I work with clients to help them get comfortable with a regular practice then, once comfortable, we begin to infuse it into other aspects of their day, creating a deeper sensory experience. The more we do this, conscious awareness, the less mind-chatter we experience and the more the inner whisper becomes familiar and recognizable and we can hear it amidst the carpool, the laundry, the meals and work.
Once tapped into, we can use our inner guidance to answer questions, provide courses of action, reveal solutions and assist us in feeling deeply connected to ourselves, our global family, nature and spirit.
Clients are always welcome to work with me via phone or in person to create a meditation practice, a personal mantra or be guided through a meditation to meet their inner guide.
Inner wisdom is a funny thing. It exists in us all yet we must search it out, all the while knowing the less we seek it, the easier it is to find. Clear as mud? Meditate on it.