Advice Column for Meditation | Meditation techniques to provide solutions for the challenges of daily living and to nurture mindful living

Meditation Advice Column for Spiritual Growth

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Meditation Advice Columnist for Spiritual Growth

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Dear KRS,
When I meditate
I see swirls of color - usually a lavender color appears and swirls around. I even see waves of energy moving around. After I see darkness, outlines of what looks like the silhouettes of people then light and visions. When I open my eyes and see the room, sometimes I feel very weird. What is happening?
Meditation Visions

Dear Visions,
It’s not uncommon for people, especially new meditators, to see images when they close their eyes. The solution is simple – meditate with your eyes open, looking down toward the floor.  Try that technique for several days or even weeks. Then gradually try closing your eyes for brief periods, perhaps one minute at a time or even less. You should gradually acclimate to being able to keep your eyes closed for longer periods without seeing images.  If you continue to see images, no problem and no cause for alarm.  You can meditate (successfully) with your eyes open while sitting, slow walking or while stretching or doing yoga and get very nice results.


Dear KRS
How can I
increase my mental strength so that petty, inconsequential things do not have a stressful effect on me? Can you suggest some techniques? I am aware that this is a tough problem and there cannot be one single answer, but there must be ways by which a person can rise above the trivial things that bother him and thwarts his progress in life in general.
- Wants Mental Strength

Dear Wants Mental Strength -
One of the most powerful techniques for gaining inner strength is meditation. In fact, that’s why I call my meditation audios “Inner Master Series” – it’s about conquering your inner world. There are many techniques that I use in this series and in my seminars, but here is a powerful one that you may find helpful:

When you feel stressed, for example by a driver who cuts you off in traffic, name the area of your body that is reacting to that situation. It may be your chest, your pinky finger or your whole body, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is identifying the area clearly.

Then, try to allow that sensation to “be there” as you focus your attention on every detail of it. How big is it? How deep is it? What does the sensation feel like – is it sharp, dull, tingly, etc? Try to relax and surrender into the sensation as you observe it, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel at first. It will eventually break up, but more importantly, it will teach you how to work with stress – and grow from it – instead of running from it and reacting in destructive ways. It takes practice, but this is a good way to start. Good luck.


Dear KRS,
I am a 21
-year-old female college student. I have taken a yoga class and am currently taking a stress management class. In both of these classes, on occasion the instructor has invited the class to meditate or otherwise enter a deeper state. No one else but me seems to have a problem engaging in this activity, but as soon as the instructor invites us to close our eyes, I start to cry and feel terrible. I don’t experience any frightening or sad images when I close my eyes, it’s just that a lump forms in my throat and the tears start coming. 

Today we had a guest lecture by a hypnosis expert, who demonstrated a simple hypnosis technique on a classmate and then taught us a simple method of self-hypnosis....except for me. While the rest of the class was moving toward relaxation, I found myself inexplicably tense and in tears and I had to leave the room. I was trying to follow her instructions but for some reason they had an effect opposite to the one intended. After class I had to go back to my room and I cried for about an hour, feeling terrible. 

Can you give me any advice or insight? I’d really like to someday be able to meditate and relax myself without all this strange emotional pain. 
Crying Meditation

Dear Crying Meditation,
Congratulations in your quest toward inner growth and in having the courage to resolve your meditation dilemma rather than pushing it away. Please recognize that this is as important a process for you as learning to relax. 

Every obstacle presents itself to us as an opportunity for growth. In facing this you may well be digging deeper than anyone else in the class who is gliding through effortlessly. Here are a few suggestions to help you make use of this wonderful challenge:

1) Ease into it, little by little. If your experience is worse when you close your eyes, keep your eyes open. In fact, at first you might want to actually look around the room a bit and keep yourself partially distracted from the experience, listening to it "in the background" of your mind. Even then, feel free to come and go from the classroom as you like. (You might want to explain your process to the instructor and stay in the back of the class so you don't disrupt the class as you leave).

2) You might want to try other instructors or start with audios so that you can play just a very few minutes of it at a time in the privacy of your own room. (I have guided meditation audios that you can test for free on my site). Again, listen to just a bit at a time. I use a technique called mindfulness that actually works with the discomfort of the emotions. In meditation sensations and feelings arise that have been buried for a long time, so that when they appear they can sometimes just sort of pour out. It can seem a bit strange and even scary because it is so different. But relaxing around the discomfort can be very transformative work and very exciting work.

3) Write about it. Going to a still place can alarm some people because there is something they don't want to "see" or remember, such as abuse. I'm not suggesting this is the case, but merely trying to present you with as much information as possible. You might try writing about your experience and see what comes out of that pen. For example, what emotion is there at that moment when the tears come? Describe (write about) those feelings.


Dear KRS,
you control blood pressure with meditation?
Meditation for High Blood Pressure?

Dear Meditation for Blood Pressure,
I am so heartened that people are taking increasing responsibility for their own health and well-being. Congratulations for considering a non-drug alternative. After all, on the "surface" it would certainly seem easier to just pop a pill, right? But we are slowly learning that easy answers often just build more layers that we have to unravel and repair later.

YES, meditation has proven very effective in lowering blood pressure. As blood pressure goes down medication (if you are on it) can be reduced and often eliminated under doctor's supervision, of course. And while it takes a bit longer than swallowing a pill, the benefits go beyond lowering your blood pressure. Benefits include: peace of mind, more energy, better sleep, improved job performance, improved mental and physical health and much more. You may end up being grateful that your high blood pressure led you to meditation! Gifts come in strange packages.

There are many good guided meditation audios out there. Libraries carry many audios and can order others on request. It's a good place to try different ones until you find the one(s) you like. If you like, I can send you information on my meditation audios.


Dear Krs,
I am very interested in meditation.  Can you give me some tips on how to get started? Thank You.

New Meditator

Dear New Meditator,
There are many meditation techniques.  Experiment and find the one(s) that suit your personality and practice daily, if possible.  A wonderfully effective and simple meditation:

Choose one of two places to focus:1)the
diaphragm (just above your navel) or 2)just above your lip (where the air enters and exits your nose).  Then simply follow the movement of your breath coming and going.  Don't try to control it - let it do its own thing.   Your mind will want to wander but just keep bringing your attention back to your focal point.  To help maintain your focus, count your breaths up to 5 and back to 1 (one count includes an inhalation and an exhalation.  For example:  Inhale ONE, exhale ONE.   Inhale TWO, exhale TWO, etc.).  It's preferable beginners have guidance in the form of a teacher or audios (my series "Inner Master Series" is well suited to beginners.) 

Your meditation practice will be well rewarded in more ways than one.  When your internal world is balanced you'll find that all aspects of your external world will run more smoothly.


Dear KRS,
At the age of 41 I have recently re-entered the work world after devoting the last 6 years to my two children and husband. The job routine is coming back to me but I still get quite nervous and find I often talk too and occasionally even get out of breath, especially in high pressure situations. Help!
Re-entering the Work Force

Dear  Re-entering the Work Force,
Assuring yourself that you will be back in the groove very shortly will help dissipate your stress. In the meantime, you have this wonderful opportunity to practice a new and very simple skill that will help quell the stressful waters. When nervous, we tend to breathe shallowly, in our upper chests, thus not maximizing oxygen intake. Interestingly, studies show that when a group of  studies show that when a group of calm people purposely breathe shallowly for a short period they soon feel stressed. It is a vicious cycle. Stress induces shallow breathing; shallow breathing induces more stress and so on. You can restore an even, stress reducing breathing pattern
with The Complete Breath.

The Complete Breath

The Complete Breath is a great on-the-spot yoga exercise that takes only seconds and can be easily incorporated into your work day. Do it in your car, in the elevator, at your desk or during meetings. Once you get in the habit and feel the results you will become "hooked" on this wonderful opportunity to not only relieve stress but to visit "home base", your true self, and get centered for the challenges ahead.

1. Exhale completely to the slow count of 8, like letting all the air out of a balloon. Contract the diaphragm muscles (just below the ribcage). "Push In" to get all the air out.

2.  Inhale slowly and deeply to the slow count of 12, filling your lungs "from bottom to top," that is from the bottom of your rib cage area to the upper lobes of your lungs, which extend almost up to your shoulders. Keep the neck relaxed and the shoulders lowered.

HOLD this breath for a slow count of 8 or as long as you can. (Your lungs need to stretch just like your muscles do!)

3.  Exhale slowly and evenly to the count of 8, from top to bottom. Now, let a natural rhythm resume, originating from the diaphragm. If you like, place your hand over the diaphragm area and feel the slow expansion and contraction of this area. Notice how calming it is. Continue this for as long as you can.


Dear KRS,
I recently attended one of your meditation retreats. It was my first retreat and I think it was very productive. I hoped you could perhaps comment on what I think was a positive development in my meditation.

During the sitting, an interesting thing happened. Being later in the day I had plenty of uncomfortable physical sensations to work with. While applying awareness to one such sensation, it happened that I no longer felt any pain, as such. I could still feel the sensation but it was no longer painful. I found this so interesting that I continued to meditate during the break and indeed found that I could get to this point with other uncomfortable sensations. Am I on the right track or would be better for me to go in another direction? Thanks again, the retreat was far and away the best meditation experience I have had.      
Working With Pain

Dear Working With Pain,
You did excellent work for your first (or any) retreat. Most people spend their whole life running from unpleasantness and pain, never learning how to change their experience of it, how to transform it. They divert themselves from pain with food, relationships, shopping, talking on the phone and everything else but being with the pain in a skillful way. Imagine life without the central theme of constantly seeking pleasure and avoiding any form of unpleasantness, whether physical or emotional. Imagine being fully equipped to handle any form of unpleasantness or pain. It makes you realize how much needless time and energy is spent trying to shove unpleasantness under the carpet.

The mindfulness technique you were applying - vipassana - is about being present with body sensations. By "diving right into the middle of your pain" with awareness and allowingness, you broke up your knot of aversion rooted in the middle of the pain, thus transforming not only your physical pain but purifying consciousness as well.



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