Meditation and Visualization with Rachel Lyn
Rachel Lyn, founder of House of Heartland, is a healing arts practitioner, specifically working with meditation, breathwork, bodywork, and energy healing, among other modalities. While her background is in journalism, it’s her studies of spirituality that brought her to where she is today, running a high vibration apothecary and guiding others in the process of healing. Today, she’ll be talking to us all about meditation and visualization … where to begin, the many benefits, etc. Her message is beautifully channeled, so let’s dig in.
What made you decide to go into the world of holistic healing & spirituality? My own healing journey. It’s beautiful to me that most people who find their path into the professional side of the healing arts began with questions about their own mind, body, and spirit. And perhaps even questions about how layers of self connect to the larger consciousness and beyond.
Throughout my life, I found myself asking questions about my own intensities, fear, and thought processing. Always being so curious about how the mind works as well as how my environment made me feel. The correlation between my emotions and external space became an important area of study. Being told throughout my life that I was “too sensitive” (which I think many have experienced), I wanted to learn more about why this was what others felt the need to tell me, and more importantly, how it affected me as well as how I truly felt about myself without outside influence of self image or understanding.
In college, I began studying at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota while in school for my Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication. The CSPH is a place that gave me an opening into the world of alternative and comprehensive health, energy healing, and mindfulness practices. My interest only grew. Once I graduated, I immediately did a 200 hour yoga teacher training. At the time, my intention was to extend my own knowledge without the actual draw to want to teach. One teacher told me that “you’ll step onto the mat [to teach] when you’re ready.” Although I haven’t yet taught a traditional yoga class, this training led me to deeper questioning within my practice, both personally and professionally, which eventually led me to begin teaching meditation by way of ashram living (Vedic / TM style meditation and breathwork) and a variety of bodywork and energy healing modalities.
We all have valuable information to share in guiding others along the path of healing. Naturally, it can take some time to find that voice. But once you find it, an important part of teaching is allowing your voice to change and grow along with you. Knowing that not knowing what you may not yet know or will know at another time is perfect and in alignment with the present moment. That you are, in fact, exactly where you need to be. Meditation, healing, and self-care assist as the scaffolding of life’s vibrational variations. And working on the foundation of the unique self is always an opening to deepening one’s practice.
“Knowing that not knowing what you may not yet know or will know at another time is perfect and in alignment with the present moment.”
Can you explain what meditation is? Meditation allows a deeper connection to oneself by way of observing and bringing awareness and attention to breath, sensations in the body, and how we experience the world around us. It allows us to connect to the space between our own energy and the experience with that of our surroundings. It widens connections within and opens to the understanding of what is outside and greater than ourselves. It guides us to better understand how our mind works and as a result, can help us to change our thought patterns for a more holistic and fulfilling life.
What is meditation like from the point of view of the person who is practicing? Meditation is a deep practice. And it brings you to a new space every time, so every session is different. At times, it can bring forward tough thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, these thoughts and emotions of the present experience (and sometimes experiences) have been living in our cells — mind and body — for years (or even lifetimes). Meditation can also bring forward a euphoric effect as we release fear and move into a deeper relaxation and restoration of the nervous system. A stillness of the mind is what I’ve found over time. It changes constantly, though, which is why it is a practice and not a product.
What happens to our body when we are in meditation? Our body can shift through a variety of physical expressions of emotion in meditation. Sometimes we tighten up, bring awareness back to breath to release and so on. Meditation is truly a practice of bringing awareness of mind into the body. In general, the intention of meditation is to bring forth a feeling of relaxation. But there are many forms of meditation and depending on the breathwork, it can activate and energize or calm.
The intention of practice will be different for everyone. With the example of silent meditation, the body will begin to repair the nervous system. When utilizing other modalities of meditation like guided breathwork or visualization, the body can begin to clear pathways of the mind that may not be serving for you. Like clearing away the clutter that gets in the way of smooth thought processing. We all have thought patterns that can be re-wired or repaired to uplift us and lower stress. Breathwork is a lovely meditation as it brings fresh oxygen and nutrients deeper into the body. Results are immediate and cumulative. Meditation is an expansive practice and our body can feel the difference after one session.
“Meditation allows a deeper connection to oneself by way of observing and bringing awareness and attention to breath, sensations in the body, and how we experience the world around us.”
What is the simplest form of meditation we can try right here, right now? We can simply sit in a comfortable seated or reclined position and bring awareness to follow each inhale as it enters the body and each exhale as it releases. Taking a moment at the end of each inhale and exhale to feel the transition from one to the other. By doing so we are honoring ourselves by taking a moment of wellness.
How can visualization weave into meditation and why is it helpful? Guided visualization is a wonderful way to help the mind of both the practitioner and the participant become attuned to the meditation session. At the beginning of learning meditation, or sometimes just depending on the day if we feel very scattered, the words serve as a guide to follow into a state of mindfulness and can be very pleasant — like painting a picture in the mind’s eye. We are each so unique, the mind naturally brings images forward with a few simple prompts.
Guided visualization beautifully leads us into a place of creativity, relaxation, and attunement with the present moment. This can be done by following an online podcast or recording of a seasoned practitioner, which are readily available in today’s technological age, and I’ve listed a few sources below in the reference section to get you started with trusted professionals. Attending a weekly meditation class is a nice intro as well, as a way to develop a connection in the community and begin to explore the array of meditation options available. Over time, you become your own healer and begin to naturally and intuitively be able to lie down or sit and create your own visualizations from the experiences explored.
“We each have such a beautiful and unique nature and there is no one right or wrong way to activate our innate healing abilities.”
What sort of health challenges are these practices effective for and why? Everyone. Anyone. Meditation, with its many forms, creates a platform for anyone to find a type of practice that works for them. Sometimes, this is taking a walk with their attention to breath and nature, while other times, it is sitting or lying quietly in a comfortable position with a breathwork that is unique to them. Even if starting at one minute a day, I strongly believe in meditation, along with active mindfulness practices such as conscious cooking, creativity, and more. We each have such a beautiful and unique nature and there is no one right or wrong way to activate our innate healing abilities.
Are there any universal tips you can share as far as meditation is concerned? Trust the process. Whatever comes forward, breath into and release it without attachment to the thought or emotion, whether it be perceived as pleasant or unpleasant. When we begin to wonder why or allow our analytical mind to explore the reasoning or explanation, we are pulling connection to what may no longer be serving us, or trying to grasp something that we do not yet need to know. This is less than ideal, since we are then controlling the narrative instead of allowing the magic that is all around us to unfold. With release, we don’t have to know why. It’s happening, so feel it energetically instead of thinking about it analytically.
One example of this is attaching to a dream when we are in that beautiful space between awake and asleep. Where we have access to multiple dimensions of thought without the analytical and strategic mind activated. It is a quantum space, which holds a lot of information without the bounds of gravity or physics. When we release the desire to attach or question the specifics of emotions or thought, the messages that are truly here to guide us can come forward. Sometimes, questions are answered as an “a-ha” moment. Other times, it’s like a puzzle we didn’t know we were putting together, where all of a sudden, information or imagery we’ve been — knowingly or unknowingly — seeking is present and apparent.
“With release, we don’t have to know why. It’s happening, so feel it energetically instead of thinking about it analytically.”
What would you say to someone who is skeptical about meditation and its effectiveness on overall health and well-being? I love skepticism. I fought meditation for many years, as I thought it was so hard. But I was really just fighting what I was scared to find within myself. Personal transformation is not meant to be easy, but it is fruitful.
During my time spent at an ashram, while practicing and studying in Vedic (or Transcendental) meditation, outside of other meditative practices, I began to see it from a new view. At first, I really put pressure on myself to “get it right” and I think these high standards are common. But meditation can assist with softening the edges of the ego and over time, I realized that even if I only got a few moments, that was exactly what was needed. A practice that is always changing, just like life.
In general, we all need a little more relaxation and restoration to the nervous system. For those who are more intellectually minded, there is much research on the effects of meditation. And for those who are more heart centered, there is much writing on the benefits of meditation by way of practitioners of many lineages, faiths, etc. I’ve listed a few resources below and always encourage clients to find their own answers that speak to them.
Thich Nat Han, any of his books. Titles are easy to navigate for what intention you may be looking for in meditation and contemplative practices (i.e. anger, compassion, communication, creating a meditation guide for your home practice)
Poetry by Mary Oliver, for those who find nature calming and curious.
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom by Rick Hanson, PH.D.
Teacher & Speaker, Tara Brach.