Guided vs Unguided Practice of Mindfulness Meditation

In the blog category “Executive Mindfulness Coaching”, I will list some questions I have received from my clients. I will list their answers and will elaborate on them so that they are helpful to other practitioners of mindfulness meditation as well.

I was asked a question about the usage of guided vs. unguided mindfulness meditations and if it was better to use guided meditations every time.

I would like to clarify the distinctions between guided and unguided meditations. When we are starting to learn mindfulness meditation, it is very helpful to do guided meditations as they act like training wheels for our practice. There are a variety of guided meditations available from different teachers that we can use. We should try them out and see which ones work better for us. Some of them have a lot of guidance and others have minimal guidance.

Once we get some degree of practice, then we should try doing some unguided meditations. These are practices where we set aside some time (say 15 minutes) for this practice. We start out by creating an intention of staying alert and aware for the practice. We cultivate an attitude of patience, gentleness and kindness towards ourselves. Then we begin the practice by focusing on our chosen object of meditation for the allotted time.

It is helpful to do these structured but unguided meditations from time to time because we can gauge our comfort level and ability to stay focused with the practice. The ultimate goal of mindfulness meditation is not to be mindful when we are doing our practice with our eyes closed most of the time. Rather; it is to cultivate clear, stable and non-judgmental awareness when we are engaged with the world with our eyes wide open. As we become more adept with this practice, it will help us bring calm and clarity in our lives thereby allowing us to live our lives with ease.

Only we can judge for ourselves if we are comfortable doing mindfulness meditation on our own without any guidance. During our unguided practice, if we find our minds wandering from thoughts to thoughts and are unable to anchor ourselves, then we should stop and try a guided practice.

As part of my mindfulness coaching sessions, I introduce my clients to many different “portals” that are available to us for our practice. I introduce them to a variety of techniques that focus on different aspects of mindfulness practice. You can click on the “Contact Us” menu option to start the engagement process and to see how I can help you.

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