Guidance Church

7225 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90043 Office (323) 778-0773 Fax (323) 778-9618

Prayer and Meditation: Spiritual Practices and Ministries

Prayer and Meditation are the most integral part of one’s spiritual practice. Experience the power of Affirmative Prayer and Treatment through by requesting prayer or having a formal session with one of our Prayer Practitioners. Guidance also has three Meditation Services each week and has provided a number of online resources to help you experience transformation and bliss everyday.

 

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Guidance Meditation Ministry

 

Join Us for Meditation Services

Meditation Services are held on Sunday mornings, Monday evenings and Wednesday afternoons (Midweek).

 

Sunday Morning Meditation is held just before worship service. This is a large group meditation and anchors the congregation before worship begins.

 

Our Midweek Meditation Service is a gathering of insight and peace. Held from 11:00am until 12:00 pm, the first 25 minutes are reserved for Meditation followed by discussion and speaking the Word.

 

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Our Philosophy and the Importance of Meditation

We believe that meditation provides us with an opportunity to contemplate the Divine. When we center ourselves and become still, we remove our focus from worldly affairs and create an open channel between ourselves and God. Creating this space takes love, devotion and practice, but the reward, bliss, is priceless. Within the silence, our mind communes with The One Mind allowing the flow of continuous communion. As we meditate, we convey our recognition of God within and the certainty of our Oneness with the Whole. We experience the immediate availability of God and Its wisdom.

 

"Such communion with God brings harmony into our lives and affairs; establishes the Law of Health and Prosperity, and makes us a light to all who cross our pathway."

Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

 

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Learn How to Meditate

What is Meditation?

Meditation aims to restore our internal balance through internal focus. It is a continued, unbroken awareness of the mind in its most raw state. When we meditate we overcome distractions and attachments. We focus our energy into an expanded awareness of the All. This is bliss.

 

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What is Contemplation?

Shakespeare wrote, "That which you contemplate you become." Contemplate means to know within the self. This sums up the importance of Contemplation as a spiritual practice. We must be aware of everything we ingest, read, watch, listen to and even touch. All that we take into our consciousness is a contemplation of sorts. God centered living requires us to choose our activities wisely because our actions inform who we are. When we meditate our focus is on unity and unbroken awareness. When we contemplate, we think deeply about a particular subject and use this focus as a vehicle for understanding. Reading the Word in spiritual texts, listening to music or taking a hike in nature are all acts of contemplation. You can also set your clock for a periodic interval throughout the day and ask yourself a question like "How am I feeling?", "Where is my joy?", or "What needs to be seen?" Or you could speak a word into this moment like "Peace".

 

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Basics of Meditation

There are more ways to meditate than can be described within the confines of our web site. There are some common threads that run through almost every type of meditation practice however. Here’s a few basics:

 

Quieting of the Mind − Many people use the words “silence”, “stillness”, “peace of mind”, and “calm” to describe the meditative state. This makes perfect sense because a part of the objective is to silence your thinking mind. This is an excellent chance to put away all of the action and thoughts from daily stress. Those new to meditating may notice that your thoughts wander to the “to do” list or squabbles at work. Gently remind yourself of your intention and return your focus to the quiet.

 

Being in the Now − You ever hear the expression, “You can’t be two places at once”? When you meditate the intent is to truly be in the now moment instead of the past or future. Ekhart Toole has a wonderful book called The Power of Now, which delves into the subject of truly being present-minded.

 

Meditative State − Swami Vivekananda describes the meditation state as “the highest state in which the mind exists.” Meditation creates an altered sense of consciousness. Studies have shown that meditation increases brain waves in the area of the brain connected to happiness. It also shows that meditation can reduce stress, increase healing and have other positive effects. More importantly, those who meditate seem to conduct their lives in a more peaceful manner and have an expanded sense of awareness.

 

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Different Styles of Meditation

There are many styles of meditation. All religions seem to have a preferred form. We believe that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Any form of meditation that achieves communion with God will bring harmony and light to our lives.

 

Affirmations − An affirmation is a continuous realization of the divine Presence as the pivotal element in experiencing the kind of life you desire. When you consistently envelop yourself in a spiritual atmosphere, you align your inner being with right action. Fulfillment, joy, peace, and abundance are available to you when you consciously embrace these ideas, constructively directing your thoughts. The Daily Affirmations help you to do this. Some examples of affirmations are:

 

Today, I glow from expressing and experiencing love all around me, and I glisten with happiness.

 

Today, when I see a spiritual stop sign, I stop the vehicle of negativity and resume with thoughts and words I really want to take form.

 

Devote at least 15 minutes, preferably when you are alone and in a quiet place, to each day's Affirmation. Read the affirmation for content, simply being aware of the idea it expresses. Then study it more deeply, allowing your thinking to be challenged, stimulated, or enhanced. Finally, close your eyes, meditate deeply on its meaning, and let it become a part of you.

 

Visioning − Visioning is an intuitive process for opening your consciousness to receive Spirit's vision for your. You can cultivate it as part of your spiritual practice. Spirit’s life vision for you is one of wholeness, joy, prosperity creativity and generosity of heart. You can apply visioning to every aspect of your life be it — spiritual, professional, relational, communal and financial. To enhance you understanding and application of visioning consider taking the Science of Mind Visioning course [Link to Bookstore/Education page/Visioning course].

 

Affirmative Prayer and Treatment − To pray with knowingness is another form of meditation. In Religious Science, we start from the premise that we are one with God and Spiritual Mind Treatment reminds us of our wholeness, oneness and completeness. Our Prayer Treatments include the following affirmative steps: The prayer states their Recognition of God/Spirit; Declares their Union/Connection with It; Affirms all areas were there is worry or self doubt (For instance affirming abundance when lack is perceived); stating their gratitude for God/Spirit and this awareness; and Releasing the Prayer into the Law knowing that it is heard and acted upon. Learn How to perform Spiritual Mind Treatments by reading step-by-step instructions in the FAQ’s or taking the Science of Mind Course, Spiritual Practices. [Link to Education and Book Store page, description of Spiritual Practices course]

 

Yogi or Breathing Meditation (Pranayamas) − If you are an action oriented person, following your breathe may help you achieve the meditative state. The Art of Living is one of many meditative breathing philosophies. You can find many books and videos on this subject. This practice began in India. Basically you create an expanded sense of awareness by following your breathe as you "breathe in" and "breathe out". Yogi Meditation leads to physical and mental relaxation and improves health, while also alleviating several forms of illness.

 

Guided Visualization − Typically led by a facilitator reading a script to music or performed with a recording, guided meditation takes the mind on a journey toward discovery and transformation. The voice of the guide is soothing and opens the conscious and subconscious minds to suggestion. In many ways, this practice is similar to hypnosis and has been used to help people overcome fears.

 

Moving Meditation (Qigong) − There are many forms of moving mediation from Ti Chi, to Qigong and Yoga. Even running, swimming or practicing tantric sex can become moving meditation if done with mindfulness. Moving meditations are practiced for relaxation, health, flexibility, strength, and balance benefits. One releases tension through the toning of the muscles, development of balance, and increasing flexibility. The result is the harmony of mind and body. The mind is stilled just as in sitting meditation, but the body moves to actively circulate the Qi energy throughout the body.

 

Zen Meditation (Zazen)− In this practice one sits in several possible meditation positions [link to meditative position copy below.] and uses meditation to help achieve a better connection with reality’s true nature.

 

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Meditative Positions /Physical Postures

There are as many different physical postures for meditation as there are different spiritual traditions and teachers. We’re going to cover a few from to help you get started. But first, let’s acquaint you with a few posture basics.

 

Posture Basics − Many meditative traditions recommend that the spine be kept straight to encourage the circulation of spiritual energy or life force while others are more informal preferring the use of kriyas (spontaneous yogic postures) or repetitive physical movements like swaying. Most practices require that your eyes are closed. However, there are instances where the eyes are half-closed or half open and looking slightly downward. In the Brahma Kumaris tradition, the eyes are kept fully open. In terms of focus and glaze, there are various paths as well. Some practitioners look through their third eye, while Eastern Orthodoxy and Chinese qigong traditions utilize navel gazing. Focusing attention on the breath as done in Orthodox Christianity, Sufism, and Indic traditions may heighten your meditation practice. The object is to experiment until you find a posture that’s conducive to the desired unbroken communication with God.

 

lotus position

Full Lotus Posture − In this posture the legs are crossed Indian style on the floor or yoga mat. The back is straight but not rigid. Shoulders are pulled down from the ears. Gently pull the right or left leg (choose one) slightly upward and toward your torso. The other leg remains in the cross legged position with the foot tucked underneath the thigh. Place your hands on your knees, face palms upward and touch your thumbs to your forefinger creating a circle. Close your eyes and breathe through your nostrils.

 

half lotus position

Half Lotus Posture − Sit on your meditation cushion or folded blanket. Pull one leg in toward your groin. Then bring the other leg in, and place the top of the foot in the crease at the inner portion of your leg. The bottom of your foot will be toward the ceiling.

 

Cross Legged − Some practitioners simply sit with their legs cross-legged which is easier than the full- or half-lotus postures.

 

Seated Chair or Stool Postures − In the New Thought Spiritual Movement many meditators sit on the sitting bone on the outer third of the chair. Preferably don’t lean on the back of the chair. In this way, genital energy and chi flow in the back are not obstructed. Sit upright with your feet parallel and flat-footed. Relax hands on top of your knees or rest them on your stomach. In Orthodox Christianity meditators sit on a stool. Either of these alternatives are an excellent choice for seniors, the infirmed or large groups.

 

standing tree position

Standing Posture − Sometimes referred to as Tree Standing, this pose is used by martial artists and healers because it strengthens internal energy and rooting. Distribute your weight equally between both legs and then bend one leg at the knee and place that foot on your thigh. Stand still for at least one hour. Bend your arms at the elbow and bring your hands to midchest in prayer position or place them over your heart. If standing on one foot is too strenuous, you can modify the position and stand on both feet.

 

lying down position

Lying Down − Some claim that having the proper seated meditation creates a deeper meditation experience. But if the other poses are difficult for you, try reclining on the floor with a rolled blanket beneath your knees a pillow under your head.

 

Walking Meditation − Walk in mindfulness is a wonderful meditative tradition. Some practitioners will pace in a circle or figure eight within a confined space while others walk outdoors. There are traditions that recommend barefoot walking for connecting to the Earth, but chose what is appropriate for you.

 

Sufi

Dancing/Swaying Postures − There are a wide variety of traditions that use movement in meditation. Some have practitioner kneel and sway forward and backward while others have more aggressive movements as practiced by Sufi dancers. You can create your own movements too as long as the activity is done with mindfulness and helps you achieve the spiritual communion that you seek. Physical expression may enhance the natural flow of energy already moving with and thereby enhance your practice.

 

Mudra / Hand Postures − A common hand posture used in meditation is with the right hand resting on top of the left with the thumbs touching. Another is connecting the pointer finger and thumb in a circle while the other three fingers are raised. You can research different hand postures and determine if these are beneficial to you.
hand postures

 

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Stages of Meditation

A successful meditation practice requires self mastery. As you devote yourself to the practice, your awareness and internal focus grows. In the beginning stages, simply keeping your attention on the silence may be challenging. Be gentle with yourself, start with a goal of 10 or 15 minutes and as your thoughts drift to the daily grind bring them back to focus. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll actually be able to concentrate for longer periods. Note that your concentration may become interrupted by impressions, ideas or thought patterns. When you can focus your attention on an object and your concentration remains unbroken for a block of time, you’re meditating. Finally, you’ll reach the stage when you are in such a deep place that you’re no longer observing and you’re experiencing the deepest state of consciousness.

 

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Meditation Resources

As we suggest additional resources that my be beneficial, remember that you are your greatest resource. Right now, you have everything you need to begin your meditation practice. But if you want to crack up a few books or read some tapes, we’ve listed a few below. Also Guidance offers Practical Mysticism, [Link to spiritual practice description on Education page] a Science of Mind course which focuses on meditative practices and mystics from different spiritual traditions.

 

Journey of Awakening by Ram Dass [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

Meditation in the Silence by E.V. Ingraham − The fundamental purpose of the silence is to bring you into an understanding relationship with God. Let this booklet help you learn the principles and practices of the silence. [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

Heart of Meditation: Pathways to a Deeper Experience by Sally Kempton (aka Swami Durgananda) − This guide to the inner being gives keys to unlock practices like mantra repetition and witness-awareness and teaches how to troubleshoot your own meditation practice. [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda − This classic introduces countless readers to the science and philosophy of yoga meditation. [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

The Play of Consciousness by Swami Muktanada − tells the story of his journey to self-realization under the guidance of Bhagawan Nityananda. [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

I Come as A Brother by Bartholomew − Bartholomew doesn't want to show you how to rearrange your mental furniture but to show you that you misidentify yourself with that furniture. [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

Man’s Eternal Quest: Collected Talks and Essays on Realizing God in Daily Life by Paramhansa Yogananda − Original and thought-provoking talks on health and healing, karma and reincarnation, the universality of yoga, and more are included in this collection of works on the topic of realizing God in daily life. [Link to book store page. Listed under featured books.]

 

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Learn More about Meditation [link to FAQ’s] and Our Community

We invite you to learn about our community here at Guidance Church and the larger Spiritual Living family [link to FAQ’s/]. Science of Mind Magazine [link to PDF on Bookstore Page] is available at the Guiding Light Bookstore [link to Education and Bookstore page] and provides lots of information about our community and the spiritual practice of meditation.

 

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What is Spiritual Practice?

Spiritual Practice takes place when one’s spiritual devotion includes introspection, and the development of an individual's inner life through practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation. At Guidance, we believe that it is essential to build a Spiritual Practice. There are several tools that can be used to help transform you thinking thereby enhancing your life and our world.

  • Read the Word-Chose the spiritual texts that speak to you
  • Journal to be mindful of your thinking
  • Set God-centered goals and plans
  • Practice Contemplation
  • Pray Affirmatively
  • Meditate
  • Practice Visualization

UPCOMING EVENTS

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