You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, May 15, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

Use a guided meditation to take a vacation from stress

By Susan Scott Morales, MSW


Photo by Flickr user Ethereal9

For me a guided meditation or centering technique is like a poetic journey that my mind agrees to take. By simply choosing to use a guided meditation, there’s a subtle letting go, like receiving a massage.

The mind can stop working, can stop trying so hard. It’s like taking a mini vacation. We are transported to "receiving mode."

Recently one of my students remarked that she tried a centering technique, but ended up thinking so much about the content that she couldn’t meditate. I suggested that the content must have provoked her somehow; that instead of feeling as if she’d failed, to try something different.

In the same way you wouldn’t continue going to a masseuse that you didn’t like, if a particular meditation technique doesn’t work, go to another one.

The purpose of a guided meditation is to engage the mind in the present moment through meditation instructions and imagery. With audio or video recordings, just focusing on the sound of the person’s voice or their physical presence can be relaxing.

The content of a centering technique can offer new ways of thinking about yourself or experiencing yourself in the present more fully, i.e. becoming more self-aware. After listening to a guided meditation even once, you may find that it’s a technique you want to use on your own. That was true for me when I was guided to imagine a cave in the place between my inhalation and exhalation. The image has such a strong pull in quieting my mind that I use it often.

As with any meditation, it’s helpful to be in an environment free of distractions.

In this column, I’ve posted many guided meditations that are available on my index. Choose one for your next mini vacation from stress.

Susan Scott Morales is a meditation teacher, psychotherapist, published poet, novelist, and community contributor to Tweet her @susanscottmoral, reach her at or visit her website: or fan page:


Linda Chapman

Mon, May 16, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

I have to smile... in the middle of this column is an invitation to answer the question, "Where is the best place for happy hour." Alas, 'meditation' was not one of the options!!

Katherine Willson

Sun, May 15, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

Susan - when I click the "index" link, I get a "page not found" message. Is there another way to locate your guided meditations? Looking forward to hearing them! :-)