Guided Meditation Products
Guided meditation is just that, a meditation experience guided by a meditation teacher or recorded script. Guided meditation can be focused on traditional meditation goals, such as a LovingKindness meditation, on spiritual goals, such as the meditation offered by the Unity Church, or on practical goals.
There are many types of guided meditation, derived from nearly every meditation tradition. A few common categories include Eastern meditations, spiritual meditations, and self-improvement meditations.
Eastern Guided Meditations
Many guided meditation products are designed to help meditation beginners gain experience in the meditation state. These products range from Zen guided meditation, Mindfulness meditations, LovingKindness (Metta) meditation and others. Products may offer these meditations with or without music, and with or without verbal instruction.
An example of this type of meditation is the Metta Meditation of the Insight (Vipassana) Meditation tradition. In this guided meditation, the listener is instructed to visualize a progressively larger group of living things, beginning with oneself and ending with the universe, while emanating love and kindness toward all. To each of these groups the LovingKindness phrase is sent (in English translation):
May I be filled with lovingkindness
May I be safe from harm
May I be well
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be happy
May my parents be filled with lovingkindness
May my parents be safe from harm
May my parents be well
An example of a non-verbal guided meditation would be the products offered by Kelly Howell of Brainsync. Several of Howell's meditation products employ brainwave entrainment through sounds and binaural beats, accompanied by meditation music.
Spiritual Guided Meditations
Spiritual and religious guided meditations tend to be verbal in nature, centered around specific spiritual goals or lessons. Such guided meditations are available for Buddhist meditation, Christian meditation, Jewish meditation, tarot meditation, pagan meditation and many other traditions.
Christian guided meditation, for example, may lead the listener through scenes from the Bible, the experience of suffering, the presence of a saint or Jesus and other scenes designed to bring the meditator closer to the Christian experience. These guided meditations may also employ Gregorian chants, Psalms or other chants to achieve a meditative state.
Self-Improvement and Guided Meditation
This represents perhaps the largest field for guided meditation products. Recorded CD's and MP3's are available with a wide variety of goals, including freedom from anxiety, stress relief, pain management, more restful sleep, increased self-confidence and more.
Most of these employ music and vocal instructions. The listener may be led to visualize a peaceful place, and given the opportunity to interact with objects there from which lessons or ideas may be learned. These products have some, but not all the same benefits as traditional meditation. With repeated listening, they can gently encourage change, while also helping to create greater peace and peace of mind in the listeners. However, the goal of these sessions is more focused on external needs than internal insight.