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Guided Meditation with Michael Tomlinson
In a previous article, we looked at The Many Paths to Meditation. Recently, Hills, Views & Valleys was fortunate to speak with singer/songwriter Michael Tomlinson about his experiences with meditation, and how his practice has benefited his life, and the lives of others, in so many important ways.
HVV: Have you always meditated?
MT: While I had meditated off and on throughout my adult life, it was very uneven and inconsistent. I always valued it, but it’s in the staying with it that meditation begins to truly serve and reveal to you the gifts you already have, which you are not using.
Six years ago, I began to use guided meditations. I was so very drawn to them once I began. I felt like that had been a missing link for me. To find the right message and tone, and a voice you trust and feel peace with, your growth can be exponential. These were very long meditations for a beginner; an hour and fifteen minutes. I did them nearly every day for months. Suddenly, instead of worrying about what I had to give up, to make my appointment with meditation, I found myself not wanting to do anything else MORE than that. It was completely because of what was happening to my life and how much more at home I felt. It’s difficult to express, but I felt safer in my life. I hadn’t even known that I didn’t feel safe. But I started to see how very much I had needed that quiet place inside, and maybe even more so, how much I needed to feel that the Universe itself was a loving place.
HVV: Your music is filled with reverence for nature and, in listening to the meditation you sent to me, it is as though the words you wrote long ago were waiting to serve you, for a higher purpose, even more than in your beautiful songs.
MT: There has always been a soulful thread through my music. Even in the years when my music was all over the radio, and I was headlining the Universal and Greek Theaters in LA, it was not unusual for me to mention breathing in order to release fear and pain. I look back on it now, and I’m a little surprised at what I was singing. But somehow, that soulful content in my music became a part of me as a human being. And so when I began to steadily meditate, it also became more of my focus.
HVV: One of your patrons wrote that you have made it “impossible to fail” at meditation, and after listening to just a 10 minute guide, I felt that was true. I was quite surprised at how much I was moved, and I did not want it to end. Is that the goal?
MT: I found that if I really truly want to help people to meditate, I must be willing to humbly meet them where they are. Not where I wish they were. So I let people breathe as they will, reminding them that all breath is a miracle. They sit or lie as they wish. I just ask them to put on headphones or ear buds because being immersed in a beautiful recording of wind and music and voice, can be so compelling that you find you are there because you love it, and not only because you are disciplined.
All of my meditations use nature as the setting. Ocean surf, or wind through the trees, blowing leaves and rain. I do this because there is nothing in our lives more soothing, calming, healing, uplifting than the sounds of nature.
HVV: Thank you for taking time to illustrate the benefits of this particularly unique method of meditation. It is something that many of us want to do, and many don’t know where to start. I think you have created something that is always needed, always beneficial, and can always be relied upon to embark upon a path of personal growth.
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