Opening to Meditation: A Gentle, Guided Approach

Opening to Meditation: A Gentle, Guided Approach

by Diana Lang

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Overview

Breathe, Be Still, and Listen

Diana Lang’s books, audio programs, webinars, and workshops have allowed thousands to access the physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of meditation. Drawing on her wide experience in studying spiritual teachings from around the world, Lang has put together a gentle, guided approach to meditation that is very easy to implement.

In Opening to Meditation, she demonstrates that meditating is as simple as breathing. There is no mystery to it. Her instruction goes to the core, avoiding the analytical theory, fixed rules, and intellectual razzmatazz that often intimidate would-be practitioners. Instead, she shows us how to reconnect with our foundational essence of soul and self, where peace and centeredness are always and everywhere available.

Includes downloadable guided-meditation program

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608683468
Publisher: New World Library
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 1,241,191
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Diana Lang is a “teacher’s teacher” of meditation and yoga with over thirty-five years of teaching experience, as well as a spiritual counselor and radio personality. She lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

Opening to Meditation

A Gentle, Guided Approach


By Diana Lang, Marc Allen

New World Library

Copyright © 2015 Diana Lang
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60868-347-5



CHAPTER 1

WHAT IS MEDITATION?

If the wisest part of you could speak with you, what would it say?


Meditation is a state of consciousness. It is a growing thing that, when nurtured and cared for, grows strong and constant, like a big old oak tree. You can count on it.

Every time you meditate, it is as if you are building a mountain, one layer at a time. Meditation is like strata; once a layer is set down, it becomes a permanent part of your landscape. It is cumulative. When you meditate again, you add another layer to your mountain. You keep getting stronger and stronger. Even if there's a gap of many years in your meditation practice, this stratification doesn't go away. It's right where you left it. You just pick up where you left off. Usually, it will have grown on its own some, too.

Meditation is a discipline of mind blended with spirit that teaches concentration and focus. It brings clarity to every area of your life. It broadens your perspective, opens your mind to new ideas, and helps you feel free.

Sometimes we associate it with prayer, and of course, it is this too. Meditation is an elegant mental discipline that increases our spiritual connection. In the oldest recorded teachings, thousands of years old, it is said that meditation is the settling of the mind into stillness. This is true, and yet to meditate is not to silence the mind, or to not think, or to be thought-less. It is to be full of mind. Mindful. Full of mind, without attachment, without judgment.

This growing knowing is deep within you and always available to you. It is right there, always. It is a conscious breath away. We are never separate from our knowing. It is an infinite continuum of everlasting love and appreciation, ever available, ever knowing, ever loving. All we have to do is open to it. It's right there. If ever we become disconnected, it is only because we have disconnected ourselves. And that's all right. All you have to do is choose again. The moment we choose again, we are reconnected, instantly and always. And one of the easiest ways to connect is through meditation.

Very likely in your own life, you have been in a meditational state and not even known it. Meditation is a quality of mindfulness, a heightening of awareness, an acute perception, and a more complete usage of all your sensory awareness.

If you've ever taken a walk and, as you strolled, noticed a birdcall, and a little shift of wind, and the rhythm of your footfall balanced to your breath — then you were in a meditation.

If you gaze at the sunset and time seems to stop, this is a meditation. If you are ever moved by the sound of a singer's voice and your heart thrills, or you feel the expansion in your body as a dancer leaps, and seems to hover in midair, in that moment you are meditating — and in that moment you remember who you are.

Whenever you are fully present and every part of you is awake, then the sparkle in a loved one's eye, or a touch, or a prayer becomes a meditation.

If the wisest part of you could speak with you, what would it say? It is not concerned with the details of something, or even the outcome of a plan. It would say to you that you are good, that you are worthy, that you are loved beyond anything you can imagine. It would say, Live big. Manifest your dreams. Risk loving again and again — and again and again. And it would say, in a thousand ways a moment, All truly is well.

CHAPTER 2

MEDITATION IS EASY


Meditation is as simple as breathing.


Meditation is easy. You can do it right now, right where you are. It's a simple practice of awareness that takes just a few minutes every day. It is not mysterious or esoteric. It is your natural birthright as a human being. It is as simple as breathing, and one of the most powerful centering techniques there is. You will discover that it's easier than you ever thought and deeply fulfilling as well.

Meditation is an age-old practice that quiets the mind and allows our inner spirit to shine through our life more and more. The effects of meditation unfold over time. It is a practice of awareness that increases our focus, our consciousness, and our soul-knowing.

Meditation creates a foundation that lets you know yourself deeply — your true self, the part of you that is eternal. It allows for the full potential of your soul to be expressed in your life.

Meditation helps you to become self-realized — to realize who you really are in your deepest essence. In meditation, you arrive at a state of awareness where you consciously recognize the link between your personality and your soul. Meditation aligns these two seemingly separate parts, so they become one and act as one. This is called congruency — a conscious bridge between the self and the soul.

The path to self-realization is a choice. It is the ongoing decision to live your life as truthfully and lovingly as possible. Every time you sit to meditate, you are choosing to live an awakened life.

Meditation reveals a beauty beyond words. By turning within, we discover a world of knowledge and the bounty of our rich inner knowing. We discover that we are more than what we seem; we are better — far greater — than what we have believed ourselves to be.

At our core, we discover we are simply and absolutely the radiance of pure love. Allowing this love to shine more brightly throughout our life is an inevitable and direct consequence of our meditation practice. We are the directors of our own growth; it is always we who choose how receptive we are to our inner knowing. This inner knowing is always available to us. It does not waver or vary. The flow of our soul is constant. All we have to do is open to it.

CHAPTER 3

YOU ALREADY HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED


Trust yourself.


One of the purposes of this book is to show you that you need nothing outside your self to take your next spiritual step. You already have everything you need.

Your next step is the one that's right in front of you, the one you can take right now. If you let your inner knowing guide you, you can't go wrong. Your next step almost always feels simple, natural, even ordinary. We sometimes expect great changes to happen in our lives instantly, in some dramatic fashion, with a bang, but that rarely happens. More often it is simply a matter of putting one foot in front of the other until, inevitably, some momentous event occurs; it looks like a miracle from the outside, but your personal experience of it most likely feels normal and natural. We're always looking for some breathtaking, heart- stopping spiritual event to know we've arrived, when in fact it is most often as ordinary as exhaling.

All it takes is an understanding of a few basic truths: We are far greater beings than we think we are. We have a vast and eternal spirit in addition to these physical bodies. Where we are at this moment, how we are, and who we are, are perfect. There is no secret recipe; there is no magic formula. It is all as it should be, a perfect and gentle unfolding of your soul. If it feels difficult, it is only because you are out of touch with your true self; you are out of the flow.

When we're out of the flow, we're out of sync with our soul. This creates a feeling of separation that in the moment feels real and true. When we feel separate, we are suffering from the painful illusion that we are unworthy in some way. This is a fallacy perpetuated by our smaller self, or by what is often called the ego. It can throw us off course and confuse our sense of direction.

Meditation is a direct route to inner harmony, balance, and peace. There are many methods that can take you where you want to go, but meditation is by far the quickest and most precise. Its effects are cumulative and lasting.

When this life is over, you won't take your possessions, your degrees, or your deeds with you, but you will take the consciousness you have built up from your meditation practice. Through your meditation, your consciousness changes and evolves. You become aware of who you really are. The consciousness you build in this lifetime is your ever-increasing legacy.

This consciousness is who you are.

CHAPTER 4

YOU ARE GOOD


What if your goodness were a given?


Through the process of meditation you discover your true goodness. It may take a while, and you may have to wade through doubts and fears at first, but at some moment you'll discover — there at the core of you, perfectly in place — your authentic, worthy, beautiful self.

Anything that says otherwise is the ego's doubt; and if there's a devil, this is it. It causes us to confuse ourselves and forget who we really are. When we doubt, we empower fear. Doubt is at the heart of any fear-based decision — the decision to not trust, the decision to not be open, the decision to not love. Doubt is the stuff of our insecurity. It is at the core of any act that is less than our best.

Meditation helps you sift through all this doubt and fear, and you feel your way home to your true self, to the knowing that you are naturally and inherently good. There are no exceptions. You are not the one exception.

What if you knew that?

What if it weren't even a question?

What if it were a given in your life?

Feel how much this would change how you express yourself in the world.

You are good — not in the sense of being righteous, of being superior to someone else, but in the deeper sense of it all: you are truly, heartfully good.

This is the truth. You are good beyond your wildest imagination. You are good in a way that is immeasurable. You are as worthy as your greatest hero or anyone else you have ever thought of as admirable, inspired, or blessed.

You are that.

Meditation is a journey that unifies the mind and the heart. Meditation uncovers the layers of belief, limitation, and doubt to quietly reveal the pure and simple heart that is always there.

I like to do things in the most direct way I can: as the crow flies, fast and true. Meditation is the most direct route home I know. It is a process, a discipline, an art, and a practice that will teach you to trust yourself, to come home within yourself, to know who you are, to be who you are, authentic and free and unlimited. Meditation will give you nothing new, but it will give you yourself.

CHAPTER 5

RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE

Just be present.


The answers you are looking for can be found right where you are. Your point of power is in this present moment. It is so simple, yet it is true. All you need to do is know where you are in this moment in order to gain your orientation and sureness of footing. If you don't know where you actually are, all the good or even profound direction in the world could lead you far from your intended destination. If you don't know where you're standing, your aim will be far from the mark.

Meditation helps you know where you are in time and space. It grounds you in the world so that you can move forward with fluidity and grace. Like a big red arrow on a map at the mall, it lets you know that you are here. When you understand where you actually are, the universe opens up with a thousand choices, each one unique and perfect in its own right, making it easy to know what your next step is.

All you have to do is open your heart to the light and energy that flows through us in every moment. That flow is always present; it is constant and perfect, always available to you. Imagine a stream of pure love pouring from the universe straight into you. Imagine that same pure love flowing and dancing around and through every single thing on this planet and beyond this planet, every rock, every blade of grass, every deer in the forest, every star in the sky. Everything is connected to this flow.

And you are too.

The only reason we don't feel it is because we think that somehow we are separate from it. But we are it, and it is us. Feel it right now, in this very moment — let yourself open to the flow of love that is coursing through every single thing on this planet, through every single atom of every single one of us.

Meditation gives us an experience of this, so we feel it and know it deeply, beyond words. Meditation opens your mind and heart.

The opening of your heart is the most precious gift you can give the world. It affects everyone, and in this way meditation is also service: it supports the whole of humanity and all of life. As you become more aware, more conscious, you blaze the trail for the rest of us to follow, and our paths become much easier because of the steps you have taken. Know this, in your unfolding, in your deepening: that your inner journey creates an easier way for all of us.

By meditating we open into love. We enter a place that is sacred. By knowing where we are, we create an opening, a window to expanded consciousness. In that opening, we can feel and merge with the creative force of the universe. This cosmic creativity is simply love. We may call it God, or nature, or luck, or spirit, or universal energy, or a higher power, or something else. Whatever you call it, it is still love. Pure love. Love that intends, love that makes, love that builds — not in an emotional way, but in a laserlike, conscious, and precise way.

When we meditate, we begin to recognize our connection with this creative force, and we begin to know that we are part of this love, that we are the same as this love. We are infinite and eternal.

When we meditate, we become one with our infinite self. In our growing awareness of this higher self, we become much more than our personal self. We begin to recognize the magnitude, the beauty, and the infinity of who we really are.

CHAPTER 6

BY HEART


To know something by heart is to truly know.


When we know something deeply, we feel it in every cell of our body. We know it literally by heart. We don't need to be reminded of it or shown it again — we simply know it. It's like riding a bike: once you've learned how, it becomes part of your reflex patterning. With a meditation practice, you begin to know yourself by heart. You learn about yourself inside and out — what you think, what you feel, who you are. A greater awareness of who you are reveals itself to you. The more that you allow your eternal spirit, your real self, to shine through, the more authentic and original your life becomes. Meditation helps you know your truest self, the part of you that never dies.

It doesn't matter if everyone you know thinks a certain thing is right — this doesn't mean it's right or true for you. As you learn to trust more and more in your sense of knowing, you become more confident of it. We all have a unique contribution to make, and only you can express yours in your specific way. No one else can really tell you what your contribution is; it's up to you to discover it within yourself.

Meditation helps you remember what you know. It takes you home.

Home is truly where the heart is. It is where love is. Love is an art, a great and powerful practice. It is something to use, to work, to be. It is a verb, an action. Every time we choose love we are affirming life. We so often make distinctions, such as "I can love this, but not that." We draw lines. But love is consistent. It is constant and all-embracing. It is a state of "being in love" with everything! Deepening and broadening our practice of love is one of the greatest gifts of meditation. When you begin to know yourself by heart, you learn to truly love.

It doesn't matter what you think about love. It only matters that you love.

CHAPTER 7

COMING HOME


As you walk along your path, meditation guides you home.


Everything is connected. Nature constantly reflects this truth to us. Physics and other sciences prove it over and over again. But you already know this for yourself when you remember your newborn child's eyes or watch the stars in the sky or feel your heart beat or hold your mother's hand or watch a hummingbird — love is all around us, and miracles abound in every moment.

Meditation acts like an accelerator in your life. Every area of your life will be touched by your meditation practice. Things will begin to change, to realign, to come into a new and better rhythm. You will notice this right away. It will make you aware of what your next step is in life, at just the right time.

Things that you've been holding on to or suppressing will become more and more apparent to you as your meditation practice evolves. And as though a fog is lifting, you will begin to see the truth of where you are standing at this moment.

As you walk along your path, many things will come your way, easily and effortlessly. Various teachings and teachers and religions and books and experiences and ideas will present themselves to you in perfect order, in perfect timing — and all the roads will take you home.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Opening to Meditation by Diana Lang, Marc Allen. Copyright © 2015 Diana Lang. Excerpted by permission of New World Library.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Preface to the Revised Edition,
Introduction,
Part I. The Art of Meditation,
1. What Is Meditation?,
2. Meditation Is Easy,
3. You Already Have Everything You Need,
4. You Are Good,
5. Right Where You Are,
6. By Heart,
7. Coming Home,
Part II. The Practice of Meditation,
8. How to Practice,
9. Creating Sacred Space,
10. Sitting,
11. Breathing,
12. Intention,
13. Attention,
14. Being by Yourself,
15. Stillness,
16. Common Questions,
Part III. Meditations,
17. How to Use the Meditations,
18. Centering Meditation,
19. Opening Meditation,
20. Deepening Meditation,
Conclusion: It's Simple,
Acknowledgments,
About the Author,

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