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Meditation in Janesville, Wisconsin

My Personal Experience with Meditation

by Arline Rowden, Reiki Master Teacher © 1999

In this article, I wish to share my personal experience with meditation as a meditator, guided meditation facilitator and teacher. It isn't intended to cover all the various forms of meditation or to be a comprehensive discussion of meditation. The following is what I might share with friends, clients and students when they want to know about my experience with meditation.

My first exposure to the idea of meditation was in 1976 when someone shared an inspirational reading at a meeting. It was from a book that had a different reading for each day of the year. She said that she would take some quiet time by herself every day and read and then reflect on the reading for that day. She said that's how she meditated. So I bought the same book and started following the same practice.

I enjoyed focusing my mind on the positive thoughts for each day. I did feel inspired and more hopeful about life. I shared with one of my sisters about this positive change in my life. She sent me a copy of The Daily Word, a monthly booklet, published by the Unity Church of Christianity in Unity Village, Missouri. It had an inspirational reading for each day of the month. I loved it and added it to my daily meditation reading list.

After finding a Unity Church, I started attending services there on a regular basis. During each church service, the minister facilitated a guided meditation. They would lower the lights, play soft music and the minister would share inspirational thoughts (after suggesting that we breathe deeply and slowly and relax our bodies) as we closed our eyes and focused inward. I enjoyed this process even more than doing the meditation readings for myself.

Through Unity I was introduced to the idea of meditating in the silence. The idea was to just sit, relax and focus on your breathing and still your mind. Since I had so much mind chatter, the idea of a still mind really appealed to me. So I began "trying" to meditate in the silence. As my body relaxed, the silence eluded me and my mind chatter increased to a roar. It was very frustrating. I wondered why this process wasn't working for me.

Then I bought a guided meditation tape and allowed the facilitator's voice to guide me into a relaxed state. For about a year, I would listen to and experience this same meditation most mornings and would usually fall asleep to it at night. It was wonderful to not have my mind chatter keep me from falling asleep at night. I also seemed to feel more rested in the morning when I used the tape. After this repeated use, I was able to focus my mind as I choose, most of the time during meditation, rather than allowing my mind chatter to distract me.

One of the reasons I choose to meditate was to help me to deal with the stress that I was experiencing at work. As a Cost and Budget Analyst for OMC Evinrude, I worked a lot of overtime at various times of the year. There were a lot of deadlines to meet, etc.

After I had been meditating for a while, I noticed one day at work that I had taken a deep breath in and when I exhaled I felt my body relax as it did when I used my meditation tape. This was a very exciting break through for me. My body knew to relax even with one deep breath.

Meditation helped me to be more aware of myself moment to moment. Then I could notice during the day when stress was accumulating. I could take a deep breath and relax my body from time to time during the day. When I arrived home after work, I could do a short meditation and shift my focus away from work and to my personal life. I wasn't constantly thinking about work anymore when I was away from it.

I had suppressed my emotions for a lot of years before I began to meditate. It wasn't unusual for me to not have a clue about how I felt in various situations. So meditating helped me to open up to my feelings again. Knowing how I felt helped me in making better choices in my life.

During meditation, I often gained some insight into situations in my life. At times it seemed that I could access an inner wisdom as I meditated. Life began to have more meaning to me.

There have been times in my life since the 70's that I have let go of meditation for a while. I always returned to it though because of an inner knowing that it improved my primary relationship with myself.

In 1985, I began to facilitate meditations for others. I had taken a support group facilitation course that included guidelines for meditation. At first, I would write out meditations and then read them for others. Eventually, I would just close my eyes and begin to meditate and draw on my years of meditation experience to give me a meditation for others.

Facilitating meditations for others was a very joyful experience for me. It was great to see the relaxed faces of others as they returned from the meditation. I enjoyed hearing them share their experiences. Teaching others to meditate was a natural progression of the process for me.

I recorded the meditations in the classes so my students could listen to them between classes. Meeting in a group to meditate and to share experiences and having a meditation tape to listen to at home seemed to really help my students. I was just sharing what worked for me so others could benefit from my experience.

In 1987, when I took my first Reiki class, I began the practice of running my Reiki energy whenever I would meditate. It really enhanced my meditation experience and I was receiving a healing while I meditated. When I took the Awakening Your Light Body Course in 91/92 I began to use that energy system with my Reiki and meditation. They all blend together beautifully.

Actually, my meditation and Reiki practice were a very good preparation for the Awakening Your Light Body Course. This advanced energy system is first experienced in meditation and it can accelerate your growth. Meditation and Reiki had helped me clear a lot of issues and they made it easier to grasp the Light Body energies.

So in closing, I would encourage you to pursue meditation if you feel drawn to it. It is personally a very important part of my life and is something that I love deeply. I also love sharing meditation with others.

(Published in New Avenues Magazine in 1999.)