Why Catholic Guided Meditation? An Open Heart Brings Faith
Jesus, Mary, Saint Francis, and Saint Michael the Archangel are real. We receive their blessings in our prayers and in church service, and we come to know them more deeply through study and contemplation. Guided meditation offers another dimension to our experience, providing the chance to explore our relationship further.
Simply put, Guided Meditation is story telling combined with relaxation. The words and music help us relax, and invite our imagination to explore. But why do we need this?
|Left Brain||Right Brain|
|• Analysis||• Feeling|
|• The Intellect||• The Spiritual Heart|
|• Limited Resources||• Unlimited Resources|
The human brain includes the left side, which specializes in logic and analysis, and the right side, which specializes in creativity and imagination. The left side helps us to solve problems, but only by putting together pieces of information we already know. The right side allows us to grasp new ideas, appreciate beauty, and experience love. It’s closely connected with all matters of the heart, including spirituality.
In Western culture, human beings have been raised to place the analytic, left brain in charge of our lives. The analytic brain says, for example, “Saint Francis died 800 years ago, and dead people are dead. Believing otherwise is crazy.” Well, based solely on the experience of the left brain, that’s entirely true. But fortunately, we have more to work with than our intellect!
Mystics easily experience the presence of Francis and other spiritual figures as being alive and well, and do this not through the intellect, but through the heart. We all can do this, but because of all our conditioning, most of us need a little help getting started. Guided meditation provides a bit of leverage for the process.
Guided meditation coaxes the left brain to relax and take a back seat for a short, often entertaining inner journey. The colorful imagery stimulates the imagination, and encourages us to explore parts of our feelings we don’t usually allow to come to the fore. These are often feelings we experience as a matter of course, but don’t necessarily identify. For example, that lofty sense of peace one experiences in church, or the serenity that comes over one looking at a beautiful landscape. If we begin to focus on those feelings more intentionally, they can lead us into deeper states of spirituality, where a dimension opens up for us that’s not normally accessible under the auspices of our intellect.
If we relax and allow our heart to lead the way, the experience of Francis can become real and immediate. It begins in the imagination, with inklings, perhaps a sense of warmth. As we continue to open into the experience, we can begin to tap into a deeper experience of Francis, and even receive his love. Over time, repeating the exercise, the picture fills in, and our relationship deepens, more and more becoming a real fellowship.
All of this happens by relaxing, listening to a story, and imagining. It’s not complicated, it’s just a matter of allowing the heart to lead. Guided meditation isn't magic. It's simply a tool to help us access our hearts, and a gift we can all enjoy.