I have always loved crystals. I love to be surrounded by them, I love to hold them in my hands and place them on Chakra points during meditation, and I especially love to wear them. When I was young and broke, I remember saving my change in a jar until I had enough money to buy a piece of raw amethyst from a little shop in Woodstock, NY! It cost all of $5.00, but that was a lot of money back in the 70's when I was working full time and putting myself through college. I still have that piece of amethyst in my library, along with dozens of other beautiful crystals and stones. I love the peaceful feeling that comes from being surrounded by amethyst, quartz, aventurine, and lapis lazuli--especially when I'm writing.

After years of being attracted to the energy and beauty of crystals and stones, I began studying them in the early 1980's. I attended a lot of workshops over the years to become familiar with the Spiritual and healing properties of the many wonderful and powerful crystals and stones that are to help us. Those workshops were great, but I think I learned the most from Katrina Raphaell's trilogy: "Crystal Enlightenment," "Crystal Healing," and "The Crystalline Transmission." They are now my beloved and much referred to "encyclopedias" for everything crystals!

When I first started working with crystals, I found myself drawn initially to amethyst and clear quartz -I think that's because those crystals really pack a vibrational punch when it comes to opening up the 6th and 7th Chakras, which helps one open up to Spirit. Back in the 80's, opening that channel and communicating with Spirit was a priority for me, and I'm sure that working with quartz and amethyst helps me to be a clearer channel today as I continue to "take dictation" from my Guide Group through automatic writing for my books.

Once I started working with them, it didn't take long for me to realize that holding or wearing crystals/stones greatly enhanced my meditation experience-and thanks to the workshops I attended I think I know why:

(1) The energy(ies) of the crystals/stones merge with our electromagnetic field, helping to increase our overall vibrational level.
(2) The color vibrations of the crystals/stones increase the light force and healing energies around the body.

It's been my experience that meditating with crystals/stones has also helped me to achieve a better balance of energy within my body-I feel better after meditating and working with my crystals and stones. This is because we can choose specific crystals/stones to achieve specific goals-it just takes a little research on line or reading books to find out the properties of each stone. I found it very easy to incorporate crystals and stones into my daily meditation practice, and here are some tips for those of you who want to give it a try:

· Choose the crystals/stones you want to work with;
· Hold the crystals/stones, wear them, or place them around you where you
can see them;
· Meditate as usual.

I must be a creature of habit, because I've used basically the same crystal meditation for over 20 years! I started this practice to help me wake up my higher consciousness centers and attain a greater state of awareness during meditation. If you'd like to try it, you only need one crystal-a clear quartz point (not a round flat stone), and you get to lie down-which is very relaxing after a hard day at work! I originally learned this simple, yet oh-so-powerful meditation in "Crystal Enlightenment" by Katrina Raphael:

· Lie face up;
· Place the terminated point of the clear quartz at the top of your head;
· Meditate as usual (try to work up to at least 15 - 20 minutes).

Simple, right? But wait until you give it a try! It's a very power meditation, and to help ground the experience and bring it into physical reality (which makes it easier to remember your experience so you can record it in your meditation journal), try adding two more crystals to your meditation: place an amethyst crystal on your brow (6th/Third Eye Chakra) and a citrine crystal on your navel (3rd/Solar Plexus Chakra). The amethyst and citrine should be light and on the flatter side so they don't distract you or roll off during meditation. Meditate for 15-20 minutes (or longer if you have time).

About that meditation journal--through the years, I've kept a meditation journal where I record what and how I felt as I worked with different crystals and stones-I highly recommend keeping one because it will help you remember which crystals work best for different purposes. To help get you started, here's a little bit from my workshop notes and personal experiences regarding the three crystals used in the meditation outlined above:

Quartz (Clear) [Seventh/Crown Chakra]: Radiates the Divine white light and allows the user to work with that light. It's a receiver, amplifier, conductor and generator of energy. It helps open psychic centers, thus enabling one to meditate more deeply. It is particularly helpful when used during meditation or when working to contact or align with Spirit or one's higher self. [Note: This is the first crystal that I ever picked up and held in my hand.]

Amethyst (Purple) [Sixth/Third Eye Chakra]: One of the best stones for meditation and it works especially well when placed over the third eye (between your eyebrows). It's a calming stone--it works in the emotional, Spiritual, and physical planes to provide calm, balance, patience, and peace. Emotionally, amethyst can help heal personal losses and grief. Amethyst promotes peacefulness, happiness, and contentment. It also brings emotional stability and inner strength. [Note: Amethyst has always been my favorite crystal-I love the color and I love the overall energy and how it helps open up the Third Eye.]

Citrine (Yellow) [Third/Solar Plexus Chakra]: Citrine is great for dissipating negative energy, and can be used to clear negative energies from the body and the environment. It enhances mental clarity, confidence and willpower while helping to relieve depression, self-doubt, and anger. Citrine is a happy stone and is also thought to promote success, prosperity, and abundance! [Note: The positive energies of citrine led me to keep some on my desk at work-I'm not shy about holding them in my hand after an unpleasant meeting!]

The best way to learn about crystals and stones is start reading about them and working with them. To find the crystals and stones that are right for you, hold them in your hand with your fist closed. If it's the right one for you, you'll feel a vibration in your hand. Try adding them to your meditation practice and feel the difference!

Author's Bio: 

With her book, "Windows of Opportunity," Sherri Cortland is now officially out of the "New Age Closet" and announcing to the world that not only does she believe in such things as reincarnation, Karma, and life after death, but she channels information about these subjects (and more!) from her guides on the other side of the veil.

Dr. Cortland has been in the business world since she was 15 years old, starting with McDonalds during high school, and working her way up the corporate ladder from secretary to Director of Specialty Sales. While working full-time, she took college classes at night and earned traditional degrees in English and Communications. After years of dealing with the same health complaints, she wanted to find out what was causing them instead of continually just treating the symptoms, which led her to study herbology and naturopathy. She has studied Herbology with Rosemary Gladstar and earned her ND degree from the Clayton College of Natural Health.

Sherri has always had an unquenchable thirst for all things metaphysical and as a child, she frequently raided her Mother's bookshelf for any and all books about reincarnation, Karma, numerology, and "life after death." A friend introduced her to Shirley Maclaine's "Out on a Limb" when it first came out, and that was it, she was off on her own personal search for the truth! Sherri also attended psychic development classes during the 1980's, and it was during one of those classes that she first began to channel through automatic writing.
In 2003, her Guide Group began dictating information for her book, “Windows of Opportunity,” from Ozark Mountain Publishing, which hit the street in October 2009. "Windows" is available at SherriCortland.com, Ozarkmt.com, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and was just reviewed and accepted by Barnes & Noble to be stocked on their store shelves.

Sherri is currently working on her second book, “Raising Your Vibrations for the New Age.”