Pros and Cons of Using Guided Meditation CDs

Guided meditation CDs are very popular today. There are a myriad of different guided meditation CDs available—some focusing on general meditation (enlightenment, relaxation) and others very targeted to specific goals (weight loss, financial stability). You can even get a wide variety of guided meditation MP3s from, iTunes and Are guided meditation CDs effective? What pros and cons are there to using them?


Guided meditation is when someone else talks you through a meditation session. They may begin by telling you how to sit, how to breathe, and what to focus on. As the session progresses, the guide may walk you through certain images, give you mantras to repeat, and so on. At the end, the guide will show you slowly out of the meditation and have you re-open your eyes. While you can participate in a guided meditation in person with a meditation coach or group, what is most common today seems to be the use of pre-recorded guided meditations.

Some meditation traditionalists feel that guided meditation fails to teach the meditator mental discipline and concentration power. There is no doubt that self-directed meditation does genuinely teach one how to meditate while a guided meditation merely provides the experience of meditation. What is the difference and why does it matter? Like anything else, if you have the ability to reach that deep meditative state on your own, that merely means you have a deeper understanding, awareness, and respect for it. Because meditation is an activity so closely related to mental discipline, it is a particularly valuable skill to have. Research shows that experienced meditators develop better behaviors and healthier feelings than non-meditators—this is because they have actually changed their brain structures through the process of repetitive meditation. None of these benefits have been observed in those who practice only guided meditations.

If the choice is, however, something or nothing, a guided meditation is definitely better than nothing! The truth is that we live in a fast-paced world in which many people seek out meditation solely for relaxation and inner-peace. Not everyone is interested in training their brain or the proper Eastern tradition of meditation—it's just that simple. There are a million different reasons to meditate and types of people doing it. For example, those who are meditating to relieve symptoms of their ADHD may find that guided meditations are the only thing that works for them—period. Those who are too busy and spread thin with a variety of commitments may appreciate that meditation is one of the few things they don't have to “work at” but can just sit down and enjoy. Guided CDs can bring many master teachers right into your home or work. You may never be able to attend a class by Ekhart Tolle but you can listen to his ideas and teachings any day of the week. The possibilities are limitless.  

Regardless of your situation, it never hurts to have a few guided meditation CDs handy. You never know when you might want or need a little assistance from such a source to get into your meditation routine.

~ Jillian Avey,

photo courtesy of Axel Kramer

Meditation Techniques for Stress Relief #3

Have you ever felt stressed and just don't know what to do about it? Maybe you don't have the time to exercise more or the money for that spa visit. Meditation can help relieve some of that stress in just a few minutes a day. 

This is the third in a series of stress relief techniques through meditation. Please come back – or better yet, subscribe – to learn more through the weeks.

Raisin Stress Relief Technique #3 – Focus on an Object 

Focusing on an object is also a popular meditation for stress relief. A popular one, for example, is to place a raisin in your mouth and observe all of the sensations as it dissolves. You don't chew it, you just explore through your 5 senses the object. The raisin passes through many stages before it disappears, challenging many of your senses. This technique, like the the previous ones discussed here, relieves you of any burden of having to face a meditation session without any sort of “agenda” or mantra, which should take the edge off any anticipation you feel. You can focus on an object you hold in your hand with your eyes closed, an object you look at with your eyes open, or an object in your mind's eye. 

~ Jillian Avey,


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Meditation Techniques for Stress Relief #2

What do Americans need more than stress relief? With our busy days, it seems we are always working harder to just keep up. Meditation can help relieve some of that stress in just a few minutes a day. 

This is the second in a series of stress relief techniques through meditation. Please come back – or better yet, subscribe – to learn more through the weeks.

Petalsinpool2 Stress Relief Technique #2 – Guided Meditation

Guided meditations, like imagery meditations mentioned in Stress Relief Technique #1, are great for stress relief because any anticipation or anxiety you feel going into the session is often eased knowing that you yourself will not be responsible for directing the meditation. Less mental discipline is required. Guided meditations can be done in person with a meditation group, coach, minister, etc. Today, many guided meditations are done by listening to CDs that can be purchased in a variety of places. Your meditation guide will tell you how to breathe, where to focus your energies, and where to go behind your closed eyes. All you have to do is sit up straight, breathe, and listen! It doesn't get any easier.

 ~ Jillian Avey,


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Meditation Techniques for Stress Relief

Meditation is a great tool for stress relief. There are as many different ways to meditate as there are people meditating it seems. Which techniques are most effective for stress management? It would be easy to say that any meditation technique is appropriate to reduce stress; however, some techniques are more geared towards stress relief than others. People meditate for many different reasons. Some meditate in order to boost a certain personality trait they wish to strengthen, some desire to heal physical ailments, some seek athletic or financial success, some are reaching for a deeper spiritual connection. Each different motivation can be best served through the technique most conducive to that goal.

This is the first of a series of stress relief techniques through meditation. Please come back – or better yet subscribe – to learn more through the weeks.

Beach Stress Relief Technique #1 – Imagery

Imagery meditations involve using strong, specific images in your mind to help you tap into your relaxation. You might see yourself walking through a beautiful garden oasis. You might see yourself walking along a deserted beach at sunset. You might see yourself sitting on top of a mountain. Imagery meditations are particularly effective for stress relief because you don't have to have much of a meditation strategy or agenda. Often people get stressed out just thinking about having to do a meditation. They feel anxiety about how they are going to sit still for 20 whole minutes or how they are ever going to get their racing minds to be still. With imagery meditations, you give your mind something to do (creating and seeing the images), so it can be “less work” if that's how you choose to see it. The soothing, peaceful images also help create a relaxed, serene feeling.

 ~ Jillian Avey,