It’s a day like any other day, and yet it feels so full of promise and excitement, a day when unlimited possibilities open up and all the dreams you’ve ever had seem achievable. It’s January 1st. You can feel the energy of this new beginning pulsing through your body and you set all kinds of intentions for how you’ll change your life this year. And then something happens.... the daily routine starts again, and often the expanded plans you had drift away as you do the same old things the same old way, and get the same old results.

On the conscious level, you WANT to change your behavior and experiences, but the unconscious programming keeps pulling you back into the old comfort zone and behaviors. Until you change the old programming, the life changes you desire will only be temporary. Have you ever gone back and read some of your journaling from a few years back and been astonished at how you’re still dealing with the same issues? That’s usually because you are trying to control the issue from the outside (behavioral change) rather than the inside. So despite your best intentions, the old patterns slip back.

If I told you that with just ONE change in your daily routine this year, you could possibly achieve all the other changes you want much more easily, would you be interested? That one change is taking time daily to connect with Source, God, Goddess, All There Is. Are you willing to spend 10 – 20 minutes a day to really change your life? Time in meditation, connecting with your Source of peace and joy, automatically begins to shift your outer world. In that place of all possibilities, your body and mind relax and the limiting beliefs begin to dissolve.

My own experience with meditation began some years ago, when I desperately needed changes in my life. Because I was so motivated, I meditated twice a day for 20 minutes. Within two weeks, my physical and emotional pains had significantly decreased and the outer world seemed totally different! I went to work with a song in my heart instead of dread. And the changes kept happening. After a time I began to notice that things I was thinking about were happening. There was an internship I wanted, but didn’t apply for, and it was offered to me anyway. Habits like drinking and smoking were easily falling away. People told me how happy I looked and asked what I was doing. At the time it seemed miraculous. Now I know I was discovering how life is supposed to be.

Learning to let your mind get quiet takes practice, just like any other skill. Here are some guidelines for you:
1. Use a quiet place in your home. If you have the room, create a sacred space that you use just for meditation. You could have a small altar with a candle, incense, and spiritual figures that are meaningful to you.
2. Turn off the phone and make this a special time for you, a time that energizes the rest of your life.
3. Meditate before eating a meal (or wait for an hour.) Mornings before work and evenings before dinner are excellent times for meditation.
4. Sit comfortably, whether it’s in a chair, on your bed, or on a pillow on the floor.
5. You can meditate silently or use gentle music- discover what assists you best in going to the centered place of your spiritual connection.
6. Begin by closing your eyes and breathing consciously- more deeply that usual, but with a gentle rhythm.
7. Let your body relax- let your shoulders, back and neck relax (where most people carry their tension.) If your favorite tension spot is elsewhere in your body, consciously let it relax.
8. Let your mind empty. You can imagine a blank screen if that helps.
9. To focus your mind, use a short phrase like “I am …. relaxed,” or “calm and serene,” thinking “I am” on the inbreath and the rest of the phrase on the outbreath.
10. If you find your mind wandering (and it will!) gently bring it back to your focus on the breathing and the simple phrase.
11. Start with 10 minutes a day and increase to 20 as your schedule allows.
12. Enjoy the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual changes you experience!

After you’ve meditated for a while and feel you can go to that centered place fairly easily, begin thinking your affirmations toward the end of the meditation. When you are in that deeply connected state, your affirmations are much more powerful because they aren’t encountering the usual resistance from your conscious mind. Take a few minutes to think them gently and then let them go.

As we start 2008, let your focus be on the inner aspects of your being rather than forcing behavior change. Take time to connect with the infinite intelligence and energy of the Universe and get ready for your life to flow!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Crane has practiced meditation for 30 years. She considers meditation to be the foundation for life changes and has recorded several meditation CDs. One of the initial chapters in her book, Ordering from the Cosmic Ktichen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations is about the power of meditation.