Welcome to Part 4 of the 5 Part mini-training series, "The Art of Transformation: Using Meditation to Calm your Mind and Change your Life". Here are the previous parts if you missed them- they're foundational pieces to this journey.
We've made it to the last step in the 4 part process! Before we dive in, let's recap each step in the transformation through meditation process, since each builds on the previous one.
- STEP 1 was using "concentration meditation" to calm and focus your mind, so you have the mental stability to do the deeper work.
- STEP 2 was using "mindfulness meditation" and the "noting" technique to start acknowledging and compassionately being with (vs. judging and running away from) any uncomfortable emotions and experiences in your life, in preparation to start uncovering their causes.
- STEP 3 was first, being willing to take responsibility for your uncomfortable experiences and undesirable circumstances. And second, getting curious and using the practices of "reflection", "journaling", "self-inquiry", and "spiritual community" to understand how you've been living that's been creating and feeding your suffering and blocking your happiness.
Now, in Step 4 "Transform", we'll talk about using all the deep insights you've gathered thus far, to actually begin to create change in your life!
Let's back up for a moment and discuss the two most important aspects of transforming undesirable circumstances and creating your ideal ones.
- Creating/ Manifesting
- Releasing/ Clearing
In order to create your ideal circumstances in any aspect of your life, you must first know what you want. In the last couple articles we've spent a lot of time looking at what we don't want- or our obstacles to achieving our ideal life circumstances. But of equal importance, is knowing very clearly what we do want.
If you feel stuck knowing what you want, journaling on it is very helpful. Just take a moment to calm and ground yourself, and ask "What do I want?" Then free write for 10-20 minutes, without judging or censoring. And know, what you want will constantly evolve over time.
The clearer we can see, feel, smell, taste, and touch what we want, the easier it will be to create it.
The second part of the this "transform" step is learning how to release or let go of the things that are no longer serving us. The truth is, at some point we adopted these things to keep ourselves feeling safe, but eventually they became blocks to our growth and getting what we want. Once we see them as blocks, they are ripe to be released. (ie. think of those blocks you began uncovering in the last two stages; the thoughts, actions, or deep seated beliefs that keep you stuck from manifesting what you want in life.)
The best meditation technique to add to your tool-kit at this stage of "transform" is visualization.
The Power of Visualization
"The fundamental process of creative visualization is simply this- to imagine as clearly and realistically as possible what you want to happen, as if it has already happened or is already happening, thus creating an inner experience of what it would be like to have your desire come true."
-Shakti Gawain (author and visualization teacher)
Visualization is an extremely powerful tool that will enhance your ability to both manifest and release things in your life. And in order to keep up with the natural cycles in life, and ultimately create our ideal circumstances, we must constantly be doing both.
There are many different meditations and energy work that can be done for releasing and manifesting purposes. Here are two simple yet powerful meditations that use visualization, as well as the other meditation tools we've learned thus far. Once you start practicing these or others regularly, you'll start to experience the magic that is possible through meditation!
This can be a short simple practice or a complex ritual. The details are up to you, but the intention remains the same- releasing what no longer serves you. Here's a meditation I do:
- Make a list of the top things that you feel are blocking you from flow and progress in your life right now (ie. thought or emotion patterns, behaviors, beliefs, etc.). If you need help, the tools from the last two articles will help you see these blocks.
- Set your timer for 10-20 minutes.
- Sit comfortably and take a moment to ground and calm your mind.
- Visualize yourself sitting in the woods in front of gorgeous, giant bonfire. Just sit here for a few moments soaking in the warmth and power of the flames.
- When you're ready, release each block one by one by visualizing it flowing from you into the fire and saying something like, "I release [block]".
- As the block flows from you, allow yourself to feel what it's like to live without it. Sit in that feeling for a few moments.
- When you're ready, move on to the next block until you've gone through each one.
- You can also add a statement like, "I release everything that no longer serves my highest and best".
- When you're ready, open your eyes and thank yourself for taking time for this act of self-love.
**Note: This meditation can also be done by writing your blocks down and throwing them into a real fire, if you'd like. Fire and the act of burning blocks that no longer serve us, is an extremely powerful way to release things. (whether it's real fire or imagined fire).
- Write down or think of something you'd like to bring into your life.
- Set your timer for 10-20 minutes.
- Sit comfortably and take a moment to ground and calm your mind.
- When you're ready visualize yourself with that thing you want. It can be a anything you desire to be, do, or have.
- What do you feel? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear?
- You can imagine an ideal day of yourself living in your desired state. Or just imagine yourself sitting there as if you have your desired state already. However feels easiest for you to conjure those feelings is fine. But embodying that ideal state is key.
- When you're ready, open your eyes and thank yourself for the meditation.
- Here's a guided practice to try >> 10 minute guided Manifestation Meditation
These releasing and manifesting meditations are powerful tools to spark change, but it's also important to maintain that vibration of what you want, off the cushion (in your daily life) as well.
Here are a couple tools I love to use to remind me of what I want to create, and help me program the vibration of having it into my being.
Vision boards are a fun way to harness the power of visualization on a daily basis. These work in two ways. First, creating it is a potent manifesting visualization itself. Like the meditation above, the key is to focus on how you will feel when you have what you want. And in the vision boarding exercise, you do this through finding images and words that help you cultivate those feelings. Once you create it, you hang it somewhere visible and then it becomes a daily reminder to tap back into those feelings.
Here's a helpful resource if you'd like to play with vision boards. I like doing these one to two times a year. No need to overthink this, just get creative and choose things that conjure feelings of what you'd like to manifest. Then look at it daily to remind you.
"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
-William James (philosopher and psychologist)
An affirmation is a strong powerful statement that something is already so. Once you know what you want to create, using these statements on a daily basis are super helpful. Say them in bed in the morning before you get up. Keep them written by your desk, on your fridge, on the bathroom mirror, or anywhere else you'll see them throughout the day. The point is to use these statements to maintain the vibration of you as already having what you want. Affirmations often organically come up in my journaling exercises. I then put them all around my house and work space, until I feel drawn to new ones.
- Here are some beautiful affirmations by Louise hay, the queen of affirmations. Try some of hers, or use these as templates to create your own. Just remember to keep them in the present tense, as if they are happening now.
Change takes time and effort, and it's very easy to fall back into old thinking and habits even after you've had an empowering meditation experience.
Tools like vision boards and affirmations help keep you on track as you change your mental and behavior patterns from ones that support the old you, to ones that support the new and improved you.
But at the end of the day, our actions create our circumstances, so in order for transformation to occur you must start doing things differently.
The Power of Doing Something Different
So in addition to using the above mindset tools, make sure you are also consistently taking actions that support the new and improved you (not the old you). Even if you're not completely confident of what action to take, just try something different than the one that's been keeping you stuck in undesirable circumstances.
And remember, there are no mistakes, only experience.
"After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life."
-Sophia Loren (actress)
Take Action >> Choose one of the above tools and do it. No need to overthink it, just choose the one you feel most drawn to, and give it 10-20 minutes.
I like to do at least one releasing and one manifesting ritual monthly. A great time to utilize nature's energies is during the full moon (releasing) and the new moon (manifesting). Sticking to this monthly moon cycle is also helpful to remind me to do my rituals consistently. I also like to do a vision board twice a year (on my birthday which coincides with the new year, and six months later). But whenever you feel called to do them (whether its weekly, monthly, etc.) is perfect! Listen to your inner wise woman.
In the next article, we'll talk about the key element to a successful meditation practice. You won't want to miss it!
I'd love to hear which above practice you choose and what your aha's or insights are. Post them below or shoot me an email!