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  The Meditation Experience  

The Meditation Experience
Volume I

These nature meditations, a series of inner journeys for peace, insight and healing, will open your heart, expand your senses, and awaken your mind to the wellspring of wisdom within you.
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In his book, Yoga Nidra, Swami Satyananda Saraswati tells a story with a lesson for us all. While on a world tour, this Hindu yogi visited a detention camp to teach meditation. Upon hearing his instruction, "Please close your eyes. Don't move your body," the 600 prisoners yelled and hooted at the holy man until he gave up and returned to his hotel.

The next day, Swami Satyananda phoned the detention camp to say that he would not come again, but the man in charge begged him to return, saying that the prisoners had been calm since the day before. Indeed, when the swami arrived, the detainees asked for the same yoga nidra meditation, wanting to relax from top to bottom, outside to inside, in every part of their being.

By the seventh day, the prisoners were completely transformed by yoga nidra, which put them in touch with their own insights and higher consciousness. Neither sermons nor admonitions brought about this dramatic change in the prisoners. The secret of the transformation was the release of tension, relaxation, and peace of mind.

"When a man is under tension," the swami explains, "his behavior is influenced, and when he relaxes, he becomes natural." Swamiji goes on to say that when people know the truth of who they are, they know how to behave.

Perhaps you, too, agree with Swami Satyananda that when we are hungry and unfulfilled, we become tense, confused, angry, separate, judgmental and contentious. People who feel empty and small lose touch with the higher mind and spiral down into the prison of the lower self, consuming only what it knows and craves. By contrast, in the relaxed, higher perspectives of meditation, we see as from a distance, and the self-serving ego shrinks and loses power. We become who we really are, rising up to merge with universal awareness, or pure consciousness.

What keeps us from pure consciousness, when it is as close as the movement of breath through the body?

Only what we eat and think, as Edgar Cayce succinctly put it. Recently, my four-year-old granddaughter set the parameters on that, by observing that "Food has full in it, but ice cream and candy don't have any full."

As we move into the cycle of a new year, which sets the pattern for everything to come, consider filling yourself with what you really need. Begin by asking your deeper self some soul-searching questions like: What do I hunger for? What do I "eat" - in food, work, and relationships - that makes me ill? What makes me feel healthy and vibrantly alive? What makes my heart hurt? What makes me feel light and free?

Swami S., Cayce, and my little granddaughter, Natalie Grace, all know how to fill the cup of the spirit. "Relax and go deeper within to a peaceful place where you feel "full," they would say. In the radiant light of peace, ask for the guidance of your soul and patiently wait until a vision, voice, or sense of inner knowing floats up into conscious awareness.

While I derive insight and guidance daily in meditation, it becomes a sacred ritual on the eve of the new year. Sitting in my candlelit meditation room, I listen to my deeper self and write down everything that comes, dialoguing in turn with my heart, mind, body and soul to hear what each needs and how to get it. The spiritual intentions of these aspects integrate with each other, creating coherence and reverberating through my energy field into the outer world, where they reconfigure the subatomic particles of external reality.

I watch this occur in the next stage of the ritual, while spreading my Tarot cards, I Ching and Runes across a beloved table. Each of these symbol systems, organized by my crystallized hopes and intentions, is always in perfect agreement, just as my life will be in the coming year to support what I need most.

What do you dwell on, Cayce might ask, and what do you want to become?

In this joyous holiday season and bright new year, I wish for you peace, relaxation and the inner light of meditation. What a grand adventure in consciousness lies within and all around us! As the great yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, said, all we need to do is "Steer the ship of concentration calmly to the shores of blessedness."

On that shore, we fill with radiant light until we are "full," and the whole world is more radiant and beautiful. It is only a matter of time until, in our collected light, we see that everyone is good, holy and deserving of love, compassion and understanding. When this happens, families and nations will declare peace, and everyone will be free.

This day grows closer every time we go within and listen to the still, small voice of the soul.

Back To The Top

In honor of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, a holy man and prolific author with a special interest in the science of consciousness, this article says more about yoga nidra. Meaning "psychic" or "sleepless" sleep, it is a meditation state that borders sleep and wakefulness.

Like other alpha-theta meditation states, yoga nidra contacts the subconscious and higher consciousness and, for the insomniac, is an excellent prelude to deep, restful all-night sleep. Usually guided by a narrator, the practice consists of a sankalpa, or resolve; the "rotation" of consciousness through 76 body parts; the recollection of opposing images; a visualization; repetition of the sankalpa; and awareness of unity with the supreme Self.

Swami Satyananda uses many beautiful visualizations, including the one below, offered to you now as a gift that gives with each reopening.

Begin this meditation by sitting in a comfortable position, closing your eyes, and relaxing your body and mind until you feel quiet, calm and still. You can read these instructions into a recorder or have someone read them to you. If you are a seasoned meditator, you can simply note the stages and conduct yourself through them.

Inner Love Visualization

Relax your body and become aware of your heart, right in the middle of your chest. Make sure your mouth remains closed and imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart. You should breathe deeply and be completely aware of each incoming and outgoing breath.

Imagine that the air you are breathing is a golden is like mist.and you are taking this golden mist into your body through the heart and spreading it about inside.

Fill your body with this golden mist. Feel that every time you breathe in you are cleaning out your whole body with this mist and it is giving you many good qualities. It gives you all forms of goodness, love, honesty, cooperation, understanding, peace and happiness. As you breathe out, all the things you don't want or don't like about yourself pass out from your body: unhappiness, disobedience, anger, meanness, cruelty, dislikes.all these things are carried away by the golden mist.

Become aware of your heartbeat. Listen to the steady sound of your heart. Imagine that in your heart the golden mist has formed into a very small golden egg. The golden egg breaks open and there in your heart, sitting on a beautiful flower, is a tiny little being, the size of your thumb. This little being is surrounded by a cloud of bright light. It is sitting very still and silently and looking at you and sending you love and happiness. Let yourself be filled by its love.

This beautiful little being is sending you so much love, and the more it gives, the brighter its light becomes. It is giving you so much love that you cannot kept it all in, you must send it out to all other people. Think of your parents and your brothers and send this love out to them. Think of all the sick, unhappy and lonely people in the world and send them this love. Think of all the people you do not like, send out this love to them. Remember your friends and send them this love. The more love you send out the more the little being in your heart fills you with love. Now become aware of the room in which you are sitting. Fill this room with the love that is within you.

Editor's note: When you are ready, take a few deep, sharp breaths and return to ordinary awareness, feeling alert, refreshed, relaxed and renewed by the light within you and all things.

Recently I was flying in a private airplane, looking down on a patchwork quilt of red, gold and orange trees stitched over the Pennsylvania mountains, when I suddenly heard my inner jukebox playing "From A Distance," Bette Midler's song about world peace. "God (within) is watching us from a distance," she sings in the refrain, and indeed, as winter calls us indoors to the warm firelight of the higher self, we too can soar upward to see ourselves clearly.

This season brings a rich opportunity to contemplate our lives and spiritual practices. When nature cycles into the lower, slower vibrations of red, orange and yellow, the core of all things surge with creative power. The calm of the earth enables us to settle into ourselves, tap into these restorative energies, and co-create with the wisdom of the heart.

In the vast expanse of the mind, we find clear paths through the forest, consider ourselves with dispassion, and meet the light of Universe Awareness.

While the outer eye sees winter as stark and empty, the inner eye sees more: "The blossoming of the inner self is a majestic event without peer," said one of my meditative writings. "See it in self, see it in all the world."

Here are some effortless ways to rise in consciousness.


Center your awareness on the back of your tongue. Relaxing the tongue reduces mind-chatter, which relaxes the body. To deepen your relaxation, progressively relax the muscles of your body from head to toe, but from the inside, as taught by Swami Satyananda Saraswati's Bihar School of Yoga. Do the relaxation from the back to the front of your head, from the left side to the right side, feeling the sensations in your head, and moving your awareness down the center of your body to relax the spine, muscles and nerves, all of which will make your chakras spin faster. This vibrational surge will invigorate your energy system and sharpen your intuition.

Breathe and sing.

Slow your rate of breathing and breathe deeper. This disables the fight-or-flight stress impulse in the sympathetic nervous system and enables the relaxed parasympathetic system to take over and reset the body to harmonic functioning. If you are experiencing pain in anywhere in your body, breathe light into your feet, draw it up and focus it where needed, breathing in and out to relax and release the tension. To bring the whole body and chakras into harmony, lovingly sing, from lower to upper chakras, these vowel sounds: uhhhh, ooooo (as in to), ohhhhh (as in go), ahhhh, iiiii (as in high), aaaaa (in play), and eeeee (in wheeee), finishing with mmmm to vibrate your skull. Bring the last notes of mmm down and start again at uhhhh for a few more upward cycles.


If you are new to the practice of meditation, visit The Sanctuary page of for useful techniques in addition to those above. If you need more guidance, listen to samples of the six meditations on my new CD set, "The Meditation Experience," available on the Books & CDs page of No matter what your practice, be sure to create a landmark embodying what it looks, sounds and feels like to relax into inner peace; this landmark will enable you to relax in just a few moments time. It will also speed your entry into silent meditation

Open your heart

Take five and sit in a quiet place. Close your eyes and center your awareness in your heart. When you feel the connection, ask your heart what it needs. If it is feeling hurt or betrayed, ask why. Find out what needs to happen for your heart to be peaceful and fulfilled. Satisfy your heart's needs, and check back with it later on to make sure it feels "full." Do this every time you feel unsettled, and happiness will always be yours. When your heart is full, let the melodious, ringing bells of your heart sing the world into loving peace.

Get creative!

Engaging in creative work to get your creative juices flowing will serve you almost as well as meditation. Creative endeavor brings us into practically the same brainwaves as the meditative state, although not with the same deep, restorative rest. Pay attention to your insights while creating, and send gratitude to your heart and the Creative Forces. Gratitude will expand your intuitive connection and increase your creative powers. Your pleasure and joy will benefit everyone.

Check your compass

Do an inner check-up to make sure you are living in accord with your ideals, beliefs and desires. If you do not have a guiding aspiration, or ideal, to live by, go quietly within to seek one. With this inner guidance, create a sankalpa - a statement of immense importance to you - and place it in an "I am" statement, such as "I resolve to stop smoking" or "I am more aware" or "I am Divine Light." Repeat your resolve during the day and use it as a mantra to still your mind during meditation. Since the sankalpa, or positive affirmation, embeds itself in all levels of your being, it is extremely powerful and gets excellent results. Use it wisely. Where attention goes, energy flows.

If your ideals are peace and harmony, and your career and home life are anything but this, work toward being peaceful and harmonious inwardly. As above, so below. But also: as within, so without. Soon, your ideal will begin to guide your life choices and decisions. Eventually, you will create only peace and harmony inwardly and in the outer world.

Enlighten yourself!

Extend the length of your meditation practice and, when the currents of energy flowing within you begin to pulse with radiant light, send it out to others. This will help recalibrate your brainwaves and create the light-body of the enlightened master. As consciousness guru Anna Wise puts it, "Enlightenment doesn't come in a box." It's a process attained through meditation practice and self-mastery. These are yours for the taking.

Let there be light in the valleys and mountains, forest and meadows, oceans and seas across this planet and beyond! However you celebrate this holiday season and 2008, may these seven paths lead you to infinite Light.

Gifts of Wisdom

It is with great pleasure that I announce the release of my two-CD set, "The Meditation Experience," a labor of love created over the past several months to help listeners attain deep meditation states for spiritual connection and self-transcendence. You are invited to sample these, located on the Books & CDs page of, and download a meditation or purchase a CD as a holiday gift to yourself or someone else.

Volume I, a series of nature meditations for peace, insight and healing, consists of "The Lake of Inner Peace," "The Inner Temple," and "The Healing Garden." Recorded, mixed and mastered at Red Rock Recording in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, the first two compositions on Volume I are expertly orchestrated by soundscapes composer Gina Balducci, who uses light/color and musical waveforms including Schumann and Pythagorean Resonance to evoke the optimal frequencies of meditation and higher awareness. The third piece on Volume I features my lap harp, or zither, and some singing to usher the listener into a healing place within

Volumes I and II incorporate the brainwave biofeedback meditation techniques of world authority Anna Wise. These meditation structures, developed with the use of an EEG biofeedback device that measures people's brainwave patterns, are guaranteed to expand you into the Awakened Mind, a symphonic brainwave form characterized by peak states of clarity, creativity, insight, intuition, and spiritual awareness.

Volume II consists of two soundscapes by Gina Balducci, "Creativity & Insight," and "The Light of Transformation," along with a third piece, "Gifts in the Redwoods," which features my harp and singing voice. These light-filled meditations take the listener into the subconscious core self to discover inner gifts, access creative awareness, do inner transformation work, and tap into intuitive guidance on any question, issue or challenge.

While listening to these meditations, the listener is asked to create a "landmark" (a word, phrase, image, symbol, concept or body sensation) representing the feeling of the state attained during meditation. Upon recall of the landmark, the brain recreates the associated state of consciousness, since it can't tell the difference between a real event and an imagined one.

Each of these scientifically structured insight meditations is geared to self-discovery, healing and transformation. The meditations can be revisited for insights that will deepen and rise as the mind expands. Each inner journey paves the way to the subconscious core self, until it can be accessed instantly for constant self-guidance and conscious evolution.

All of the meditations-in their structure, voicing and musical waveforms-usher listeners into the 4.5-8 hertz frequencies of the subconscious mind's theta brainwaves, oscillating in natural resonance with the personal unconscious and Universal Light.

I hope you will enjoy these meditations and will anticipate, as I do, the addition of several other mind-expanding visualizations in the months ahead. I will let you know when these downloadable meditations are available.

As always, the books and CDs produced by Heart 'n Soul Publications come with a full, money-back satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked! I invite your feedback on this work and hope you enjoy and benefit greatly from these meditations.

12 Birds of Peace

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is joyful for some people and stressful for others. If you begin to feel pressured by a need to give just the right gift or the perfect holiday meal, perhaps these commonsensical birds will re-mind you to peaceful balance.

So often we forget that the real gift of the season is each and every one of us--which means you!

1. Fly like an eagle to the heights of inspiration and soar into the Spirit of the holidays. Winging along the currents of joy inspires an effortless flow of creative ideas. From the eagle's higher perspective, with our hearts as big as the world, we see the divine right solution to any question or challenge. Don't let the ducks of trivia peck at your feet. Soar like the eagle that you are!

2. While gathering gifts, duck the holiday rush by floating on the waters of your creativity. Why not give your loved ones a basket of goodies filled with valued photographs, a card written from the heart, a jar of homemade jam, movie tickets, a life-changing book from your library? Creative fun makes this gift sing. You could also duck crowded malls (unless you like them!) by ordering children's gifts from catalogues. Let your (webbed) fingers do the walking by searching online for creative toys that will make a difference in the lives of the children you love.

3. Laugh like a cuckoo bird. My grandson, at age 3, said, "Granny! I love to laugh. Let's laugh!" and we laughed crazily at absolutely nothing, which, of course, was funny in itself. We had a rollicking good time and felt great afterward. You will, too.

4. Aware that anger and hurt distort our perceptual abilities, goose yourself when the going gets rough, especially during gatherings of friends and family. This is the Buddhist art of "stopping." Simply notice what upset you and later on, when you are calm, determine how to address or remedy the problem. A stitch in time...uh, makes a good feather bed.

5. Be like the great blue heron and fish in the deep waters of meditation for the food of life-comfort and companionship-when you feel hungry, angry, lonely or tired (warning signals to HALT). Catching moods before they become attitudes will help you tolerate the pace and avoid Scroogeness.

6. Jonathan Livingston Seagull pointed out that every negative thought becomes an energetic chain around our necks and part of who we are. To break the chain, join a happy flock of seagulls at a church, temple, mosque or spiritual study group with a clear focus on the "reason for the season." AA and NA groups also celebrate the holidays with personal and spiritual clarity.

7. The bright red cardinal cheers everyone with his color and verve. Be a light unto the world and you will attract light to yourself as well.

8. Love the little chickadees running and shrieking with holiday abandon. This is easier to appreciate if you sit on Santa's lap and pull his/her beard. Empathy opens to love for these little birds, who are typically small, busy and cute.

9. Shy away like a tender sparrow from family gossip. Your quick, bright optimism will shift the conversation to happier themes and teach your children well.

10. The four-and-twenty blackbirds sang when the pie was opened-not when the cook put them in! Sweets and overeating are customary, but too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Be in your body, with every bite, and put down your fork when it's time to do so. Eat healthy and well!

11. When people are clucking like chickens about the state of the world, don't embroil yourself in barnyard pecking. Walk between the positive and negative worlds of duality by being the rooster crowing at the dawn of awakening on our planet. It is as real as you make it.

12. The dove of peace is only a meditation away, especially as the year comes to a close. Remember to spend quiet time reviewing 2007 and setting your intentions for 2008, in order to materialize what you want and need to feel happy, whole and free (which, technically, you already are). May you soar on golden wings of light through this and every year!

From a distance, the world looks blue and green
And the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance, there is harmony,
And it echoes through the land.
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
It’s the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough
And no one is in need.
There are no guns, no bombs, no diseases,
No hungry mouths to feed.

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace,
They’re the songs of every man.

God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watch us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.

From a distance you look like my friend,
Even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend,
What all this fighting is for.

From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land,
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves,
It’s the heart of every man.

God is watching us, God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.


~Lyrics and music by Julie Gold


The Still, Small Voice

The mission of this newsletter is to bring you the inner peace needed to access the voice of your soul. With this guidance we are lifted into our highest and best, and the Earth becomes a more humane and enlightened place.

Judith Pennington, editor

  Letters to the Editor  

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presence to learn about peace. Thanks for your words."

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