There are many approaches of meditation you can follow depending on the experience you want and the outcome you seek. Meditation practices can be formal and structured with strict protocols or mysticism beliefs. Meditation can also be casual, relaxed and free flowing. Either way, or whatever way in between, the end result that we seek is release and peace. We also gain; awareness, an increase to our sensitivity, warm fussy feelings, improve strength and a sense of peace through connection to Self.

Meditation comes in many styles, approaches, and practices. It is not limited to sitting cross legged starring at an object or chanting ‘ohm’. The approach may also depend on what avenue you are most comfortable utilizing; the Mind, Body, Feelings/ Emotions, and Spirit as a way to connect to Self. Regardless, the pathway, know that all avenues will be affected and the desired outcome of peace, balance and calmness can still be achieved.

The key objective of Meditation whatever form it takes, is to connect to your Self. That process helps you to better understand life, to fully heartedly feel, to learn life lesson, to gain meaning and to grow. Meditation truly is the vehicle that allows the heart desires to move towards Self. The Whole set of Self; inner self, outer self, higher self, the real self, the perceived self, the spiritual self, the energetic self and even the etheric self.

‘Yoga’, in Sanskrit means ‘To connect to the Divine self’. Yoga postures utilize the body as a pathway to connection into the Self (s). Many forms of exercise that focus your mind towards a body movement can help you to achieve this connection to the spirit within. Running can be a wonderful release, and having a ‘runners high’ is in essence a meditative state of pure bliss where mind, body, feelings, and spirit unite in harmony. The happy feel good hormones released make the whole body tingle with joy and happiness for the perfect moment. Try walking or hiking as other activities that can allow you to get ‘into the zone’ and achieve a meditative connection and experience a state of bliss and oneness with Self.

Dancing in all its many genres is another way to release stress, let go, free the self and feel ease flow through the body. The ‘Sufi’ perform a Dervish dance of spinning in circles, and twirling until they can be free of the bodily earthly sensation and to be able to feel the divine energy around and within them. Try dancing. Pick your favourite music and all the sound waves to move you physically and emotionally. Close your eyes and just feel the beat inside your belly and inside your heart and allow yourself to be in sync with its energy. This too can be Meditative.

Meditation practices through the avenue of the mind help to increase focus and concentration. Or the focus is to quiet the mind from busy chatter, scattered thinking, or from the endless repetitive thoughts that can spin you out of control. Aiming to empty the mind of all thoughts swirling, in order to be in total stillness is a common goal of many meditation practices. This focus is to allow no distractions from the outside world or sensations inside us to separate you from your connection to self and your state of calmness. The aim to hold an empty mind for more than a few seconds or even a few minutes is a challenge for many of us and the gurus sitting on the mountain tops.

A good starting point to empty the mind is to remove the yukky stuff in our thoughts that keep us stuck and dis-connected from our self. Begin by paying attention to what creates fear in our minds, heart and body, and release it. Eliminate the language that Self criticizes, insults, judges, oppresses or limits your beliefs about who you are. Empty the mind of all doubt, or the belief that you are not capable or that you are not worthy enough. Release what does not feel good and replace it with positive words and motivating statements that support you to feel better. Try to ‘delete’ a negative thought as it arises. Erase it and record a new positive uplifting one.

In many cases listening to the chatter, thoughts, ideas, perceptions, or belief’s in our mind can also be the Meditation focal to connect to Self. This form of mediation helps to build awareness about what programming we have downloaded into our minds, and gives us the opportunity to shift our thinking from negative thoughts to more positive thinking. ‘I can’t’, becomes ‘I think I can’, to ‘I can’ and eventually to ‘I am’. Reframing words, thoughts and entire belief statements is a most powerful meditation practice of mindfulness. Focusing on one word or set of words or statements can easily be built into a meditation practice. Example: ‘Peace’, ‘Love & Light’ or ‘I am _____’.

Adding focus and intention to your words and making them into short statements can turn them into affirmations. As a meditation practice affirmations would be repeated numerous times, thus building momentum and charging the words with energy. Speaking your affirmation out loud allows you to add breath to it, giving it more life. When you hear your own affirmation out loud the energy charge builds further and vibrates its energy throughout your body, deep into your soul or inner self.

Prayers are often a series of affirmations or poems. Prayers are a common form of meditation and set of practices by many. Reciting verses, using positive words and repeating prayers help you to clarify your intention, focus your mind and to feel the intensified vibration throughout your body. Try saying your prayer out loud and see how it resonates through you. Repeating the prayer continuously for 2 minutes, or 20 minutes or even 2 hours will raise its vibration power even further. Prayers beads are often used in Meditation to help count out how often the prayer is said and thus charged. Counting up to 33 times or 108 times is significant repetition and a must in many practices. By focusing on a series of positive statements each repetition builds energy to intensify the power of the prayer.

Adding some rhythm to a prayer can turn them into chants. A sing-song beat adds sounds to your words giving it movement, depth and creativity. Try singing your favourite song out loud and notice how you feel. The vibration of the words and sound make resonate throughout your body, impacting your cells, your mind, and go right into your heart. Sing it out!

Regardless which approach or what avenue you practice as access to Self, it does not matter, when trying to achieve the end result of release, peace and balance. The important part would be to start a Meditation practice. Try it. Be aware of what you are experiencing and how it moves through your body, how it alters mind and expands your imagination to change your experiences.

These suggestions are some ways we can connect to our Self through Meditation utilizing the avenues of Body and Mind. There are still many more approaches to help us access the Self through our feelings, actions, Spirit and environment, as they all play a big part in the Art of Meditation. Whatever method you try and follow know that you affect one or all of the elements. No matter how small the practice, the amount of time given to it, or degree of complexity, you can and will have success with it. Just try it. Build your own practice.