Meditation - Not Just Sit Down and Shut Up 🤫


Image by SplitShire from Pixabay

I will be the first person to tell you that I have a hard time with meditation. I always have, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of my OCD and my lack of ability to quiet my mind (for mental health reasons). So I always felt like a bad witch because meditation doesn’t come easy to me. But, imagine my surprise when I found out that meditation is not just about sitting down and being quiet. There are so many different styles of meditation and I wanted to share some with you. Maybe you need help, too.

Where does meditation come from?

If you’re like me, you like to know the history behind things and the why for things that we do. Meditation has been around for thousands of years…quite literally. The oldest documented examples of meditation are found in wall arts in the Indian subcontinent. They date to around 5,000 to 3,500 BCE! The wall art depicts people seated in a meditative posture with half-closed eyes. However, written evidence of any form of meditation was first seen in the Vedas around 1,500 BCE. [1]

By the 18th century, the study of Buddhism in the West was a topic for intellectuals. The philosopher Schopenhauer discussed it, and Voltaire asked for toleration towards Buddhists. There was also some influence from the Enlightenment through the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot (1713–1784), although he states, “I find that a meditation practitioner is often quite useless and that a contemplation practitioner is always insane”. Meditation has spread in the West since the late 19th century, accompanying increased travel and communication among cultures worldwide. Most prominent has been the transmission of Asian-derived practices to the West. In addition, interest in some Western-based meditative practices has been revived, and these have been disseminated to a limited extent to Asian countries. [1]

Spiritual Meditation :relaxed:

Spiritual Meditation is one of the most common forms of meditation in the New Age and spiritual community, and it is the one that is the most recognized, in my opinion. Spiritual Meditation is what we would typically think of when we think of meditation. You sit down, close your eyes, and be silent. You attempt to quiet your mind and focus on the silence to gain a deeper spiritual connection to either the Universe, your Gods, etc. This is the one that is difficult for me.

Mindfulness Meditation :sun_with_face:

With Mindfulness Meditation, the purpose of meditating is to acknowledge your passing thoughts, but don’t get involved. So this would look like sitting still with your eyes closed, but on the inside, your thoughts are free to flow. You’re simply practicing being mindful of the thoughts you have. This is supposed to be done without judgment or involvement.

Focused Meditation :hourglass_flowing_sand:

Focused Meditation is very common in the witchcraft community. The first example that comes to mind is candle flame meditation. With this, you use your senses - in this case, your sight - to focus on the flame of the candle. It is a good practice in keeping focus and targeting your intention. Another example of focused meditation is the idea behind prayer beads or, more commonly, the Catholic Rosary. A prayer is said while either counting the beads or a different prayer is said for each color. This is a perfect type of meditation for someone who needs to practice their focus…like me.

Movement Meditation :bike:

This one is my favorite because I don’t have to be still. The first activity that comes to mind when I think of movement meditation is yoga, but this type of meditation is not limited to any particular movement. This could be a walk in the woods, it could be a swim in a lake or pool or even your workout at the gym. Movement meditation is good for people who have trouble sitting still and are comfortable with the movements and letting their mind wander.

Guided Meditation :speaking_head:

This is a type of meditation that I have recently started incorporating into my life due to my trouble concentrating. With guided meditation, you listen to an audio recording - or someone speaking in person - and let their voice and their instructions guide your thoughts. This can be as simple as them instructing your breathing to make sure you’re breathing slowly and properly for the meditation. It could also be as complex as them guiding you on a journey on the spiral path to meet your shadow.


As part of my depth year, I have tried to incorporate meditation into my daily routine. I will not lie to you, it has been hard. I used to do it at night before bed, but I found that I would procrastinate or just forget to do it. Now I do it in the morning after I’ve been up for a few minutes. I get my coffee and meditate while my coffee cools. Then I journal about my feelings, my meditation, whatever I need to. Then I enjoy my coffee!

Meditation in your spiritual practice is good for more than mindfulness. It can help to unlock “doors” in your mind that were previously closed to you. Now, I don’t mean that if you meditate you will suddenly have the ability to fly or read minds. What I mean is that sometimes, our brain does weird things and turns off or closes parts of our brain. This could be shutting off access to certain memories, feelings, or even making us feel something that isn’t in context to the world around us - I’m looking at you, unwanted anxiety! Anyway, when you can unlock those parts of your consciousness that may have been closed to you, you can deepen your spiritual connection to the world around you.

I, like a lot of people who are in the West, had limited knowledge about the different forms of meditation around the world. I’m sure there are more variations to meditation than can fit in an entire book, and the ones I have listed here probably just scratch the surface. I don’t want anyone to feel like they are doing something wrong because they just can’t get the hang of meditation - the spiritual method above - and then they give up.

Recent studies, particularly the work of Harvard-based neuroscientist Sara Lazar, have found that mindfulness meditation may physically change numerous parts of the brain. Writing in 2011, Lazar and others reported that mindfulness-based stress reduction altered gray matter concentration within the left hippocampus, the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), and the cerebellum. These changes in the brain were detectable after participating in a mindfulness training program for just eight weeks, and could theoretically impact cognitive faculties that include, “learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.” [3]

Besides being good for your spiritual practice, it has been shown that a daily practice of meditation is actually good for the brain and your mental health. According to Psychology Today, a routine practice of meditation may help with sleep, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and brain function.

Do you have a meditation practice?


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_meditation

[2] https://chopra.com/articles/history-meditation

[3] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/balanced/201907/meditation-and-mental-health

[4] https://spells8.com/magic/guided-meditations/

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Love the guided meditations on Spells8! That is what actually hooked me on this site! I was following the daily candle meditations. Absolutely love them.

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Thanks for this great contribution and interesting idea for a post @megan!

I really struggled a lot with meditation, trying to keep focused, that’s why I love guided meditations. But I feel that the struggle is always going to be there and it’s a big part of the exercise itself. :muscle: Just like lifting weights, it’s not supposed to be easy.

Thanks!! :smiley: Many of them were created for Spells8 by Divinely Gia, a hypnotherapist I worked with. And many of them were written by myself adapting scripts I used myself for years. I also edit the videos, and the voice artist is Joy Hayward!

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Ah meditation and quieting the mind. finally I learned to focus only on my breath and little by little, my mind quiets… but not for long! Its something that must be mastered, and takes time and practice…

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That is definitely my problem! I focus on my breath and my mind will still for a moment, but then something pops in my head and my brain chases the thought lol

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Tell your brain not now and go back to your breath, doesn’t matter how many times you have to do that, sooner or later your brain will get the message and the mind wandering will stop. !0 mins is always good and you can do that several times a day.

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I’m working on it :slight_smile:

I do enjoy following guided meditations for this reason because it’s almost like as soon as my mind starts to wonder, the meditation comes back with another sentence or affirmation or something else for me to focus on.

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I understand this all too well! My mind is never quiet.

I usually listen to binaural sounds or an audio book when meditating. At least then I can learn to focus on the sounds instead of my thoughts.

I have to go back every now and then remind myself I should be listening to the noises outside my head rather than the ones inside, but I’m getting there! :joy:

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For me it’s also finding the time to meditate - I’ve been quite busy the last couple of months, so it’s been difficult to keep practicing. If I manage to find a bit of time for mediation during the day, I’m usually to wired for it (thinking about what I still have to do that day instead of focusing properly), and before going to bed at night I’m usually too tired.

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You can meditate while cooking, doing laundry, washing dishes, you don’t have to meditate at specific times, or for a specific time length.

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Yes! :raised_hands: That’s a big issue for me, too! My brain never wants to be quiet and I always get off track lol It’s part of the learning process, though - and I always have to remind myself of that.

For me, I’ve actually found that right before bed is a good time for me because it helps me calm down, quiet the noise, and get into a more relaxed state - perfect for bringing on those sleepytime vibes! If I’m meditating with a purpose, in the morning when I’m waiting for my coffee to finish brewing is when I have the best results. I’ve never been able to meditate in the middle of the day.

That’s exactly it. There’s something that Joanna Devoe had mentioned in one of her podcast episodes (I don’t remember which one, and she has hundreds so I’m honestly not going to search for it) about how she has learned to practice mindfulness as a form of meditation.

She used the example of doing the dishes - instead of letting her mind wander off while she mindlessly washes dishes, she pays very close attention to all sensations while washing the dishes; the way the water feels on her skin, the temperature, the bubbles, the motions, everything. She said it’s her gift to her future self and a simple way to practice mindfulness when doing the mundane tasks in life.

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@MeganB, thank you for this. I also was under the impression it was just sit still and focus, so this is really helpful. I use guided meditation as a baby and I enjoy that. I’m going to try movement or mindfulness now as well because like you I can’t stop my mind from racing.

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I am the same way I have mental health issues, and meditation has been recommended to me for years. I have just now decided to embrace it and have been diligently working on learning mindful meditation and spiritual meditation over the last couple of weeks.

@Francisco had recommended Headspace, and I have found it very helpful with starting to learn meditation techniques. I used it twice today! Once at home and once at the beach. It helps me to release anxiety and relax my physical body to change my mindset from negative to positive.

I have also made it a part of my daily ritual. I meditate once after my coffee and blessings, but before people in the house start calling my name or needing to go out for the first time. My house is full of good sleepers. I am not one of them yet.

This was an exciting read. Thank you!

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I just looked up headspace and they want 70$ a year …ummm NO
is this right?

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@Katt Oh no! There’s other options! There is a free trial period that I am in right now and a monthly option. They tell you when they are taking out the money a couple of days before so you can cancel if you would like to do so.

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There are also other apps like Calm and Relax Melodies, both of which have free options :smiley:

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Breathly! That one is free too & I started with that one. I had Calm & Aura, but Breathly was very easy for me to do!

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I listening to the book Physic Witch (I got it on Audible for 1 credit so can read along and listen at the same time) The practice is this, count backwards from 100 try to focus on the numbers, when something pops in your head, start all over, it is training the mind to be quiet…it takes practice but can be done. This is an awesome book for any witch. I intend to listen to it many times and have the book also.

psywitch

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I do Mindfulness Meditation anytime I’m comfortable to do and the guided meditation here on Spells8. I used to do the focused meditation when I was practicing yoga.

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I love the guided meditations too! :blush: And I also tried yoga a few times- I know many people find it to be really helpful, but I never seemed to benefit from yoga like I do from other forms of meditation. I think it was the flexibility thing for me- I can’t even touch my toes! :sweat_smile: Yoga class was always more embarrassing than relaxing for me!

This sounds really interesting- I’ll have to give it a try to help with concentration! Thanks for sharing, @roxanne! :two_hearts:

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