Introduction to Meditation

What is Meditation?

Meditation is any practice that helps us focus the mind, relax the body and connect to our heart. We use meditation practices to heal, build mana (energy or life force), cultivate kindness, and increase awareness.

Many people think of meditation as sitting quietly and not moving. Many people think they can’t meditate. Yet meditation is easier to achieve than you might think.

Here is the simple and complete definition of meditation.

Meditation is a practice of awareness.

Meditation is a process of awareness. Yes, meditation is quite simple, and thousands of meditation practices exist. Some practices are simple, and some can take many years to master.

What varies from technique to technique, practice to practice is:

  1. How do you open or expand your awareness.
  2. What are you using your awareness for?

Many meditation techniques change the way the mind thinks or the state of mind to fine-tune and deepen awareness. Awareness is also a process of connection.

To achieve awareness, certain conditions usually must be met. For example: If you are too busy, then it isn’t easy to be aware. So the first step is to slow down, to pause a bit. Once in pause, it’s possible to be in a place of stillness. In stillness, you can then connect out far. It isn’t required to connect out once in stillness; it’s one option for many.

Ironically many people in the west meditate not to be aware but rather as a method to find peace or quietness. Since one step to becoming aware is to pause, if you are too busy running around, going into a meditation session to pause is a gift indeed. Many Westerners misunderstand meditation, thinking it’s all about inner peace rather than awareness.

Discover meditation can be many things!

Meditation and Awareness

We teach meditation techniques over the Phone & Skype around the world.
We also arrange direct personal sessions & retreats in Hilo Hawaii. All sessions are by appointment only.

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Meditation Styles

Let’s go over the most common styles (or approaches) of practicing meditation.

Sitting Meditation

When imagining someone meditating, we often visualize a person sitting upright with their legs crossed in a lotus position. This is a classic sitting meditation practice.

One example of a sitting meditation is called Vipassanā. This Buddhist practice starts with “mindfulness of breathing” where the person meditating focuses the mind on the breath. A Vipassana retreat is typically held over four or ten-day lengths of time.

Then, the practice shifts to focusing the mind on any sensations in the body. The mind scans the outside of the body to start noticing sensation while continuing to scan the body. Through this practice, the invitation is to realize the impermanence of everything – breath, thoughts, body sensations, and the self. The ultimate goal is freedom.

Sitting meditation is wonderful because you can do it anywhere you can sit. I love sitting meditation as a way to achieve mental clarity rather quickly. It is the fastest way I’ve found to release mental chatter and utilize my mind for making clear decisions without worry, questioning, or the back and forth “unknowing” of a cluttered mind.


Active Meditation

Ecstatic DanceActive meditations involve the motion of the body and attention to that motion. By focusing the mind on the motion and shapes of the body, the mind realizes patterns and receives insights that often feed a fuller life.

Examples may include yoga, ecstatic dance, and walking meditation. Bradford Keeney describes the Shaking Medicine of the Bushmen of Botswana, Africa in his book Shaking Medicine. He says, “We enter the healing and transformative experiences of the shaking body. Here we find ourselves, maybe for the first time, in the kindergarten of ecstatic wisdom. We experiment with giving up control.”

This meditation can be integrated into daily life as any motion, such as eating or walking, can become an active meditation. By focusing our attention on our motion, we often experience increased energy in the body, clear thoughts guiding us, and balanced emotions flowing from the heart.

Active meditations help me ground, center, flow with life, open, release, and express. Generally, they help me be more present in my physical body and express emotions more fluidly (rather than allowing them to get stuck or be repressed). By aligning my thoughts with the body and heart, I experience more full and active moments in life where I think, feel, and move in a connected, graceful way.

Active meditation is especially powerful during emotional moments of life and midlife crisis. This is because active meditation is working your muscles where emotions get stored in life. This allows for emotional growth at times of crisis. For this reason, many people experiencing an emotional crisis will stop moving in an attempt to avoid emotions. Generally speaking, movement and using your awareness to work through the change is better than not moving.

More on Movement Meditation


Lucid Meditation

Lucid meditations focus the attention on the travels of our consciousness. In western cultures, it is often viewed that consciousness is inseparable from the physical body. However, shamanic cultures experience consciousness as being able to travel both in and outside of the body.

Examples of lucid meditation include visualization, dreaming, and shamanic journeying. A common visualization is to imagine a place in nature that you love and feel at peace in. We can visit this place for restoration, power, and relaxation. Similarly, dreams can be experienced as the consciousness traveling while the body and mind sleep. It is common to set an intention for guidance or a healing dream right before going to bed. Shamanic journeys are typically made while our body and mind are physically awake. Drumming, rattling, and hallucinogenic plants are often used to inspire the consciousness to travel.

Practicing lucid meditation may be for various purposes such as relaxation, gaining information, and healing. The places we travel to are often beyond the imagination. By being willing to allow the consciousness to travel, we may find ourselves journeying to the heart of our body, venturing into the future, and meeting our future life partner. Whatever the course, we will find ourselves on the path of our destiny.

As one participant stated:

Julie is an absolutely amazing teacher. I’ve been working with her for over a year. In that year, she’s taught me movement meditation and I’d previously been unable to meditate in any way. She’s also helped me develop spiritually and find my path. (Isabella, 2013-2014)

Diving into Meditation

As the subtle tides of our world shift, this becomes a good time to practice awareness and meditation, to flow with life, rather than get caught in a riptide against one’s nature. As the world slowly is being burned by the modern consumer culture, it’s also creating a time where people want to reconnect with the living world around us. As people get more aware of their lives again, it also means people are getting more curious about reconnecting with spirit.

Our inner spirit always contains a map that reflects the larger universe. So pay close attention and look inward to inner spirit. Looking outwards means to miss what is transitioning now, within your heart. Take time to look inward, and you can also connect with a surety of self with the larger world.

Without awareness, you cannot sense and work with spirit. Without a practice of awareness, it isn’t possible to be a shaman.

Attend an Online Exploration of Taoism!

Explore your essence and gain insights from Taoism for a rich and kind life. We will go over teachings & techniques that are used to improve your life. You will get access to

  • 1 hr Introduction Taoism video (to watch at your own pace)
  • 2 hour online Taoism class to ask questions and learn more about Taoism

1st Friday Each Month

– OR-

Meditation Class

Meditation IntroductionThis 90-minute video class will introduce you to meditation. We will go over the practical aspects of setting up your practice.

Casey will teach you how to use the Dragon Fire Meditation technique. He will also start you off by learning the morning meditation practice. Dragon Fire will serve you for a lifetime as you continue to expand and explore other meditation practices. Morning Meditation will give you a framework to incorporate additional meditation techniques into your life.

The class also includes six guided meditations and a further article about working with awareness.

Attend an Online Exploration of Taoism!

Explore your essence and gain insights from Taoism for a rich and kind life. We will go over teachings & techniques that are used to improve your life. You will get access to

  • 1 hr Introduction Taoism video (to watch at your own pace)
  • 2 hour online Taoism class to ask questions and learn more about Taoism

1st Friday Each Month

– OR-

Soul Retrieval

Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self

Grace

Tibetan Singing Bowl Set ~ Bronze Mantra Design ~ Promotes Peace, Grace and Mindfulness

Dreaming Soul
Dreaming the Soul Back Home: Shamanic Dreaming for Healing and Becoming Whole
Spiritual Healing

Walking in Light: The Everyday Empowerment of a Shamanic Life

NEW MOON VISIONING

When: Monthly on the New Moon via Zoom!

Meditation Questions and Comments

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I truly enjoyed this read, as all others on your site.
Was glad to read the details on Lucid Meditation and think of how we’ve practiced it throughout the different shamanic courses I’ve attended with you.
Interested in the exploration of taoism 6 week course and many others.
Very grateful to have found you since last year!

Aloha Damiana! Thank you so much, Mahalo Nui, We’re grateful to have crossed paths with you as well.

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