Practice of the Week
Guided Meditation for Relaxing into Awe
Guided Meditation for Relaxing into Awe
Category: Occasional. These are practices suggested for "every once in a while." Some of them are responses to a particular need that may arise; others are simply enriching occasional enhancements to the spiritual life. All of them are worth a try at least once. And any of them might become a regular and central part of your spiritual practice.
from Jonathan Robinson, Find Happiness Now, adapted and abridged
For this guided meditation, have a friend read to you the meditation below. (Later on, return the favor by reading it to them.) Or read the paragraph aloud into a recorder or smartphone. To experience the meditation, you'll need to close your eyes and follow the spoken words -- so you'll need either a friend or a recording of yourself.
There are a number of long pauses, so it should take about five to seven minutes for the meditation. You can make it longer if you like, adding your own words or waiting longer at the pauses -- but making it shorter will limit its effectiveness.
Read the words slowly and gently -- very slowly. When it says "pause", take about one minute of quiet before proceeding to the next words.
Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and let the guided meditation begin.
* * *As with most forms of meditation, with practice you'll become better at it. It can be challenging to realize how much tension you hold, yet you'll soon find you're able to let it all go much more quickly than at first.
Take a slow deep breath.
On the exhale, breathe out with a long, slow sighing sound.
Do this four times.
On the fourth exhale, let your jaw just drop open.
Allow your entire face to completely relax.
Focus on your jaw.
Notice any subtle tension or holding.
As you notice any holding, try to let it all go.
It might be helpful to yawn if you notice it feels tight or if you can't tell if there is any tension.
When your jaw feels relaxed, bring attention to relaxing the rest of your face.
Once again, become aware of any tightness.
As you notice it, gently allow it to completely let go.
As you let go of all the tension in your face and your being, you may notice you feel new sensations of being part of something else.
You can't effort your way into your soul.
You can only relax all resistance to being you soul.
As you let go of all tension, effort, and thoughts, you will merge more fully with the present moment.
When you completely relax your sense of self and become totally present, what remains is your pure awareness.
If you want, you can slowly open your eyes, keeping your jaw face, and entire body fully and completely relaxed.
Imagine you just arrived into this body, and you are looking out your eyes for the first time.
Behind the veils of who you think you are, there is pure awareness and love.
Allow yourself to let go and merge with your spiritual essence.
Take as much time as you need to become aware of the room you're in.
When you're ready, slowly stretch and move your body.
Stand up, and proceed with your day.
* * *
Why This Guided Meditation?
One manifestation of a higher level of being is the experience of awe. When you imagine someone being in a state of awe, how do you picture her or him? Most people report they imagine a person with their jaw hanging open, and a completely relaxed look on their face. Recently, I had the thought, "If I totally relaxed my jaw and face, I wonder if that might trigger a spiritual experience?" To my pleasant surprise, it did!
The first thing I noticed as I tried to completely relax my jaw was that it was very difficult to do. People hold a lot of tension in their face without even realizing it. By attempting to completely let go of the tightness in your jaw, you'll become aware of subtle tensions throughout your face.
In some forms of meditation, there is some precise thing to focus on -- such as a mantra or a candle flame. In this guided jaw-dropping meditation, the goal is to focus on the tension in your jaw and face. As you become aware of any tightness or holding and attempt to gently let it go, you can reach a level of subtlety where you see that even each thought creates a slight tension in your face.
People report different effects from this meditation. Some folks report that it's a powerful way to relax their entire body and mind in just a few minutes. Others say it triggers profound "mystical states." On many occasions I've had the experience of letting go of my separate sense of self, and for a moment, merging with what felt like a "warm pool of loving energy." It can be quite exhilarating! When we let go of the "tension" of being a separate "ego," it's possible to merge with pure awareness itself.
When you can completely relax your jaw and face, and open up to the present moment, you'll be left in an exquisite state of awe.
* * *