We meditate to learn and understand things on a deeper level than we can by mere thought. Have you every tried for days to figure out the answer to a problem with your mind in a whirl? That is because our conscious minds are not nearly as efficient at solving some problems as our subconscious mind is. Meditation is the process of clearing away conscious thought so that the subconscious can work on our problems.
This clearing the conscious mind is often misinterpreted as clearing the mind and is the biggest stumbling block to those trying to learn to meditate. It is not possible to entirely clear your mind. If we were able to do that we would probably be brain dead! Instead, we merely clear the conscious thoughts away by an easy process of relaxation which allows the subconscious to take over. By focusing on a specific object or question our every day thoughts fade away and the subconscious begins working on the problem you have presented to it.
Pick a safe and quiet place in which to meditate. You will want to pick a place and time where you will not be disturbed. It is very frustrating to be disturbed just as you are receiving some very important message or insight. Some people feel more comfortable if they cast a circle before meditating but this is not necessary unless you believe it is necessary for you. Also be sure you will have enough uninterrupted time. Fifteen minutes is a minimum, but a half hour to an hour is much better.
Choose an object or a question on which to meditate. Objects are the easiest when you are just learning. Pick something from your altar, a piece of fruit, another food item, something you have found outside, or anything else that calls to you. The idea behind meditating on an object is to find all the layers of symbology hidden within the object. In Wicca we learn by paying attention and studying everything around us. Meditating on an object will reveal meanings and uses that mere thought never will.
If you have a question which you have been unable to answer try meditating on that. Visualize any place, object, or action which is contained within the question, and ask the question in your mind as thought you are speaking to the gods, the universe, the elements or all of them together. You may receive an answer to your question right away in the form of a vision or you may hear words, or the answer may come to you later in the day or the next day.
Wear comfortable clothing that won't be a distraction. Dim the lights or light a candle. If you like, choose a type of incense you will burn each time you meditate. A long-burning stick or cone is more practical when meditating than powdered or granular incense which must be constantly added to a burning coal. The important thing is to use the same type each time - at least until you get proficient meditation.
Choose a time of day or evening when you are not too tired. Since its easy to fall asleep while meditating we recommend that it be done in a sitting position. Be sure you are comfortable - but not so comfortable that you fall asleep. Keep your back as straight as possible. If this means leaning against a wall or cushion that is ok.
Begin by centering and grounding. Centering is making your spine straight, and grounding making a conscious effort to relax and allow your stress to drain away while you make a connection with the Earth. Do not worry about making your mind blank - just relax. If you have difficulty with this part you may find a book or tape on self-hypnosis helpful, but you do not need a particularly deep state of relaxation to begin meditation. You can count your breaths for a while to help yourself relax. You might want to try counting slowly from one to ten feeling your relaxation get deeper with each number.
Take as much time as you can to meditate. If you can meditate just a little while each day you will quickly find it becoming easier and easier. Begin each meditation session by recalling how you began the last one and how relaxed you felt. This will help you relax more quickly each time.
Hold the question, object, (or whatever you have chosen as the purpose of your meditation) in your mind's eye. See it clearly in front of you or held in your hands. Turn it around. Do not try to see or understand anything. Do not force words to come to your mind. If you have relaxed your conscious mind then your subconscious should step in at this time and begin to show you the reality of the object or subject of your meditation. You may receive this information as a series of pictures of a movie unfolding in your mind, and/or you may hear words spoken in your mind as the nature of the object is explained, symbolism is revealed or questions are answered.
When you are finished meditating, but before you come back to total consciousness tell yourself that you will remember everything of significance that you learned through the meditation. Then count slowly up from one to ten feeling yourself become more alert and aware with each number. When you reach ten open your eyes, take a deep breath and rub your hands together, touch your face, or feel the floor to ground yourself back in consciousness. If you are interrupted suddenly from meditation you might feel dizzy and disoriented, so, if you can, close your eyes again and bring yourself back to consciousness gradually and you will feel just fine.
Be sure to write the results of your meditation in your journal.
Q. I always fall asleep when I try to meditate, what am I doing wrong?
A. You probably aren't getting enough sleep at night. Try getting more sleep or try practicing your mediation in the morning just after you wake up.
Q. How do I find time to meditate when my kids/spouse/roommates/parents/dogs/etc. are always demanding my attention?
A. That can be a tough one, but if you can find time to take a bath meditate there. Combine it with a nice ritual bath (candles, incense, bath oil) and it can be as good as a weekend vacation.
Q. I will be doing fine and then a dog will bark, or a police car will go by with the siren screaming...how do I tune these out?
A. If you are not naturally tuning out all outside noises try this before meditating: Tell yourself that each noise you here will be a signal to go deeper into trance and that each noise will only help you relax and not interrupt you. If you do this each time you will soon find that noises do not bother you.
Q. I know I had a great revelation while meditating, but now I can't remember it! What can I do?
A. Meditation occurs in the subconscious mind. Sometimes that is where the messages and thoughts will stay. If you had valuable revelations or answers to questions those experiences stay with you even if you can't consciously remember them. Your mediation will be positively affecting you regardless of whether you can recall all of the details. Many times the answers will come to you 2 to 24 hours following the meditation.