So you are thinking about learning to meditate and you want to start with a guided meditation? That is great!
In this article you are going to find some of the best answers to common questions about guided meditations. Whether you purchase a premium guided meditation or you listen to a free guided meditation on Youtube.
Jump to the section you need:
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- What is a guided meditation?
- What does a guided meditation feel like?
- How do you know if a guided meditation is working?
- What time of day is the best to listen to a guided meditation?
- Is falling asleep during a guided meditation a bad thing?
- Strange phenomenon you might experience during meditation
- Visual hallucinations during meditation
- Auditory hallucinations during meditation
- Out of body experience during meditation
- Premonitions during meditation
- Spontaneous arousal or orgasm during meditation
- How is a guided meditation different than normal meditation?
- What is the difference between guided meditation and hypnosis?
- VIDEO: The top 5 mistakes people make with guided meditation
- What position to sit in when you listen to a guided meditation?
- What are the best guided meditations?
- VIDEO: The best guided meditations on YouTube
- Should you pay for a guided meditation?
- FREE COURSE: How to get started with a guided meditation?
A guided meditation is the simplest, fastest, and most efficient way to teach you different forms of meditation. Because meditation takes place purely in the mind, it can be difficult to teach. It’s not learning an instrument or a new dance, because with that an instructor can see if you are performing the moves correctly or not.
HINT: Guided meditations are a great way to get started building the meditation habit. I have a free 7 day guided meditation course you can check out.
That is where guided meditation comes in. By listening to the instructions of a meditation instructor, you will be able to guide your own mind in the correct direction.
If the point of a meditation is to focus on you breath (something common in a lot of mindfulness based meditations), an instructor won’t just say “Focus on your breath” and leave it at that. Instead he will be able to relate to your experience, and let you know about stumbling blocks and how to get past them.
“Focus on your breath…. If you mind wanders that is okay, that is a normal part of meditation. When that happens you can notice the thought that pops up, and then gently bring your mind back to feeling of breathing”
What does a guided meditation feel like?
Many people expect meditation to create a trance like ‘meditative’ state. While this can happen, it’s not always the case.
When you listen to a guided meditation it’s common to experience some of the following sensations:
- A heaviness in your extremities (hands, feet)
- A burst of energy
- Heaviness in your eyes
- A sudden itch or irritation you HAVE to scratch!
- Muscle tightness
- A sense of inner peace of serenity
- Nothing special at all
I want to address a few of those things. The first one is anxiety. Yes, even though meditation is great at reducing anxiety in the long term, it can sometimes create more anxiety at first if you are naturally a nervous person.
WARNING: A small percentage of people will get very anxious or may even cry during a meditation. This isn’t bad, it’s often times just an indication that you have experiences in your past you need to work through. Meditation can help with that.
My advice is if you get anxious during your first meditation, just stick with it! Often times the anxiety is temporary and goes away pretty quickly.
The second thing that may or may not happen is a feeling of inner peace. This is why a lot of people want to meditate. But this inner peace is not a guarantee. Just be open if it happens to show up, but don’t go searching for it needlessly.
You can’t FORCE yourself into a feeling of inner peace. Even with a guided meditation.
The last and most common sensation a person feels is nothing special at all. You might not feel like you are in a ‘meditative state’. You might just feel bored, and just waiting for the meditation to end.
As long as you are following the instructions with the guided meditation and putting good effort in, that is all that’s required. Changes aren’t made in a single meditation session, they often come about slowly over the course of dozens of meditations sessions. Bit by bit. Step by step.
How do you know if a guided meditation is working?
People start meditating because they want their life to change in some way, so how do you know if the guided meditation is ‘working’ or not?
Most people notice changes in their life within a week or two of starting a daily meditation practice. However, a lot of big changes take even longer, usually around 8 weeks for different structures in the brain to change.
Yes, you read that right. By meditation you aren’t just improving your life but you are also changing your brain in a beneficial way (Link to podcast episode)! This can help with anxiety, depression, motivation, and emotional control.
Some common changes you might notice after meditating:
- Things that used to bother you, just don’t bother you as much anymore
- Feeling like you have more time
- Not feeling as rushed
- Feeling more of a sense of calm
- Not getting as angry or sad
- Leveling out the emotional roller-coaster
- Having more focus
- Sleeping better
- Making positive changes in other areas of their life
What time of day is the best to listen to a guided meditation?
The best time to listen to a guided meditation is when you are feeling alert and when you will not be disturbed. If you follow those two rules then you will get the maximum benefit of any guided meditation you listen to.
If you try and meditate when you are feeling extra tired then you might end up falling asleep. Sleeping is NOT the same as meditating. Meditation is a skill that you are learning by listening to a guided meditation.
HINT: If you have kids, try and get them involved in the meditation as well! This can help you make the time to meditate while at the same time bettering their little lives too.
Likewise you don’t want to be disturbed as that will interrupt your progress. That might mean having a spouse watch the kids or putting the pets in another room while you meditate. Taking these few minutes for yourself can really help you heal your brain and your soul.
Is falling asleep during a guided meditation a bad thing?
Falling asleep during a guided meditation is not ideal (unless it is a meditation to help you sleep like something from my deep sleep program)
Meditation is a skill and a guided meditation is trying to teach you that skill. You can think of it like you are trying to learn to play the violin. If you fall asleep while the instructor is trying to teach you the proper notes, you aren’t going to get much out of the lesson!
Meditation is similar.
You want to be paying attention as much as you can during a guided meditation. Yes, it is normal for your mind to wander occasionally (even to wander a lot!) but each time it does you need to bring your attention back to the present moment and what the guided meditation is telling you to do.
That is how you will get the most out of a guided meditation. By staying awake, staying focused, and enjoying the process.
Strange phenomenon you might experience during meditation
Because meditation sometimes creates an altered state (although not always), that creates an opportunity to experience phenomenon you might not normally encounter in your usual life.
NOTE: Although sometimes these strange events will happen, they are NOT common. Guided meditation is a safe process.
Visual hallucinations during meditation
Whether your eyes are open or closed, you can sometimes experience visual hallucinations during a guided meditation. You might see colors, shapes, or see faces in the textured paint of the wall you are looking at if you are meditating with your eyes open. If you are meditating with your eyes closed, similar shapes and colors can appear. While you shouldn’t try and make these things happen, occasionally they will.
If this happens just acknowledge it’s a function of the brain, and don’t cling to them. Instead bring your focus back to the point of the meditation.
Auditory Hallucinations during meditation
An auditory hallucination is like a visual hallucination in the way that your brain is tricking you to think something is there, when nothing is. You might hear voices, or music, or maybe a loud bang. The brain does funny things sometimes. This is all normal.
If you notice a sound that you know shouldn’t be there, don’t be distressed. It’s just your brain being weird.
HINT: If either type of hallucinations bother you, you can end them by simply stopping the meditation and getting up and splashing some cool water on your face.
Out of body experience during Meditation
It’s been claimed that monks and advanced meditators can create OBE’s, or out of body experiences while meditating. Whether these are really your soul floating out of your body or simply an advanced form of visual and auditory hallucination is highly debated.
A precursor of this could be feeling ‘floaty’, or like you are hovering few inches above your body. If you feel that and it bothers you, just simply wiggle your arms and legs and the feeling will instantly go away.
Premonitions during meditation
During a guided meditation you can stumble across a strong sense of deja-vu. You might even get flashes of things from the future, like a premonition.
Are these real? Or are they just glitches of your brain? Again, this is a highly debated topic.
I tend to think they are just products of the mind and are not real evidence of any psychic activity. I’ve had this happen a few times and never have any of my ‘premonitions’ come to pass. I simply view them as visual hallucinations and move on.
Spontaneous arousal or orgasm during meditation
The body can respond strangely when it is in a very relaxed state. Sometimes it can become spontaneously aroused or even in very rare instances, orgasm. You might have experienced something similar when you are getting a massage and your body is in a very relaxed state and blood is flowing.
NOTE: This phenomenon has been utilized in the category of ‘erotic hypnosis’ for years. It is well documented.
How is a guided meditation different than normal meditation?
You can get into a very similar state when you are being guided in meditation as when you are meditating solo. You can also get similar benefits. However most people find meditating without guidance to be more difficult than using a guided meditation.
The difference is best explained with an analogy.
A guided meditation is trying to teach you a skill. Sort of like putting training wheels on your bicycle when you are learning to make sure you don’t fall over all the time and hurt yourself.
Eventually it will be time to take off those training wheels. You could continue to ride a bicycle your entire life with training wheels still on, but if you did that you wouldn’t get to take advantage of the freedom, speed, and enjoyment that a bicycle can really provide.
The same thing with meditation. You could listen to guided meditations every time you meditate but you would be holding yourself back. You get the most benefit from meditation by listening to them without guidance.
That being said even though I’m a seasoned meditator I still listen to guided meditations occasionally. Guided meditations can be a great way to break up a meditation practice and learn different forms of meditation.
What is the difference between guided meditation and hypnosis?
If you listen to a guided meditation and a hypnosis mp3 you might think they sound very similar. In fact, depending on who created them, they could be almost identical!
So what is the REAL difference between a guided meditation mp3 and a hypnosis mp3?
The difference is going to be in the language used and some of the more advanced aspects of the sound file. For example, in my guided meditations I have for sale in my store I use regular language and either have no music, or some peaceful music in the background.
I am simply instructing you how to meditate in a variety of different ways.
This is in stark contrast to my hypnosis sessions I call “Brain Boosts”
In a brain boost mp3 you will have specific hypnotic language laid out in a way to help create a positive change. Language patterns are the highways of the brain and by using the correct roads you can help get you to your destination much faster than usual.
This means you will achieve goals faster. Experience more emotional growth. Create better habits because of the specific language I use.
Plus many of my brain boosts are layered with binaural beats. These are specific sound frequencies designed to trigger your brain into different brainwave states (alpha, theta, delta, and gamma). These are the shortcut to a powerful state of deep hypnosis.
The top 5 mistakes people make with guided meditation
I made a video on the top mistakes that people make with guided meditations:
1. Using a guided meditation as a crutch and listening too much
2. Listening to a guided meditation from an unqualified instructor
3. Falling asleep during a guided meditation
4. Becoming ‘addicted’ to guided meditations
5. Only listening to free youtube guided meditations
What position to sit in when you listen to a guided meditation?
If you already have a regular meditation practice you should sit in the position you normally are in when you listen to a guided meditation. This might be cross legged, in Burmese position, or lotus position.
If you don’t have a regular practice I recommend finding a comfortable place to sit. Do not lie down if you can avoid it (although if you are reclined that is fine). The most important thing is to be in a position that makes you relaxed, but not sleepy.
Place your hands on your lap, your thighs, or any position that is comfortable.
What are the best guided meditations?
The best guided meditations are the ones you will actually use! That is one reason that sometimes a paid meditation is better than what you can find on YouTube (we tend to value what we pay for and make sure to actually use it)
There are a few different types of meditations, but I think beginners should look for a mindfulness based guided meditation at first that way they can get familiar with the process. Mindfulness is a great meditation structure to build a foundation on.
Eventually you can experiment with other types of meditation like a loving kindness meditation, transcendental meditation, or even guided meditations for specific problems (like getting over a relationship).
The best guided meditations on YouTube
This first video is what is included in my free 7 day guided meditation course.
Here is a great video by my friend Joelle
Another guided meditation with soothing background sounds.
There are lots of free guided meditations on YouTube so is there any reason why you should pay for them?
Yes, a big reason! They become even more effective when you pay for them.
HINT: By paying for a meditation you are signaling to the brain that it has more value, which in turn makes it more effective.
It’s not magic, it’s all psychology.
Which would you value more: A meal you got for free or one at your favorite fancy restaurant in town? Most likely the restaurant!
That’s not just because the chefs are world class and preparing amazing food. It’s also because human beings value what they pay for. It is the fastest way we can determine value of an unknown object.
If you see two similar cars but you find out one costs $10,000 and the other one costs $100,000, which one are you going to assume has better quality? Of course the more expensive one!
Yes you can get a lot of good value out of a cheaper car but you know that the more expensive car will pay attention to the details. It will have the heated seats, the back up cameras, the autopilot features, and it will be incredibly safe and fun.
It’s the same thing with a premium guided meditation that you pay for.
You might get a similar product on youtube, but you never know what kind of quality you are getting and what sort of certifications that youtuber has.
When you pay for a guided meditation you value it more.
It makes you more likely to follow through and use that guided meditation to benefit your life. It also means your more likely to pay closer attention to the meditation too, making it more effective. This is called the placebo effect, but what it really means is your mind is changing your physical reactions because of a belief you have. That is powerful!
How to get started with a guided meditation?
You can get started by joining my 7 day meditation challenge. It gives you all the instruction you need to get started with meditation. Sign up below!