Meditation means different things to different people. The most mainstream form of meditation nowadays is mindfulness, but there are plenty of other forms, including awareness, mantra, contemplative, relaxing, gong, visualization and so on.
The New Age movement has revitalized old shamanistic methods that are meant to enable communication with the deepest inner self, the divine, or the spirit world. Most of these methods require that you enter a trance, either guided or self-induced, to give this connection the opportunity to express itself without being restricted by the conscious mind. Some people believe that channeling is a valid tool for healing, revealing a higher self, and communicating with spirits in other dimensions and channeling their messages.
What’s the scientific backing?
The Prophets who convey the will of God, the Ouija board that creates bridges with the occult, Joan of Arc, the Oracle of Delphi, the famed Brazilian healer John of God, Edgar Cayce and countless shamans and seers who quietly go about their business all bear witness to the power of channeling. But what does Science have to say about it? Very little – “psychic powers” are difficult to quantify. Most scientists believe that the phenomenon actually expresses unexplored corners of the channeler’s own psyche.
An example of channeling meditation
One of the most famous cases of channeling in the West gave rise to a series of books called the Seth Material. Seth, an “old soul” channeled by the late American writer and spirit medium Jane Roberts, spoke through Roberts and the sessions were recorded and transcribed. Over the years, Seth gave teachings on the self, the nature of reality, and self-actualization. He also gave specific meditation instructions that purportedly give the practitioner direct access to the revelations he shares.
Channeling meditation and mindfulness
The goals of channeling and mindfulness may seem similar at first glance, but in fact they are quite different. Channeling is about setting a goal – communion, knowledge, healing, etc. – and looking for answers in another dimension of reality or the psyche.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, is about discovering the rich fullness of the here and now by training the mind in a very grounded way. People who do mindfulness and awareness practice generally find that the present moment is a source of well-being in and of itself. Mindful practitioners develop qualities such as patience, resilience, composure and open-heartedness that inspire them to continue and contribute to the happiness of those around them. There are also positive effects on the health. But ultimately, the goal of mindfulness and awareness meditation is a journey that leads to deeper understanding of how the mind works and how to work with the mind.