What you need to know about Meditative Reading + 7 self-guided meditation scripts for you

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Gemma Clarke

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Meditative Reading

There are a few rare times when a book is so captivating that you indulge in a binge-reading session to satisfy your hunger for words and stories. Maybe you are even transported into the life of the character and it takes a moment or two to snap back to reality once the pages close.

But what about when you distractedly read the newspaper or browse a post on social media… how much of that time is fully spent connecting with the words and the story?

With a balance of both types of reading in your life, consider this; how often do you truly read something in complete presence?

Meditative reading is a form of reading that is designed to make you drop into the moment and experience reading as a form of mindfulness meditation. If you are a regular reader, then you need to try this.

Here are a few tips on how to invite more mindful reading into your life, and we have also included 7 self-guided meditation scripts for you to practice your new reading technique. Enjoy!

What is Meditative Reading?

It is a type of reading where the mind, body, and soul are immersed in what is happening. It is a mindfulness meditation practice that involves reading a text and really inviting the words into your body.

This type of exercise can be done in a few different ways. You can choose a book of your choice and apply mindfulness practices to your reading of it. Or, alternatively, you can choose to read meditative books that guide you into a deep state of relaxation as you read. A good example of this are the books from Thich Nhat Hanh.

By paying attention to the words and to your breathing, you will find a natural rhythm that brings a certain quality or effect to you. It can help you to consciously release tension, calm your heart rate, and silence your busy mind.

How can reading be a mindfulness meditation practice?

Anything can be an act of mindfulness. Whether you are walking down the street, buying your weekly groceries, or on the phone with a friend, you can implement the principles of mindfulness into every aspect of your day.

Mindfulness practices are designed to bring you into the present moment and to make you start paying attention to the world around you. With breathing exercises, focus, and a good text, reading can become a mindfulness meditation in action too.

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Start with deep breaths and arrive in the present moment

Every exercise that you will read today begins with a few deep breaths. This is because you can use your breath as the ultimate tool to focus on the present.

Your breath is a tool that can switch you immediately from ‘fight or flight mode’ (the stress response of the nervous system), and take you into ‘rest and digest mode’ (the relaxation response of the nervous system). Being able to distinguish between these two states is important for developing a healthy nervous system and mental state.

Breathwork Meditation is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the benefits of the breath.

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How to use the following self-guided meditation scripts

The following scripts are designed for you to read to yourself in a meditative way. Here are some tips to help:

  • Read slowly, take a small pause between each word, and take deep breaths in between each sentence. Really soak up every word and absorb its meaning into your body.
  • Savor the words, one word at a time. After one paragraph or one page, take a small break to reflect on some of your favorite words from the text or the way certain words made you feel.
  • Be mindful as you read and notice what is happening in your body and mind. What feelings are arising, how is your breath flowing, how does your physical body feel?
  • Read in print if you can, to give your eyes a rest from the digital world.
  • Read aloud some parts to yourself and imagine that someone else’s soothing voice is reading to you.
  • Find a natural rhythm of reading that feels comfortable and relaxing. You may find yourself slowing down as you read, dropping into a relaxed state.
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Self-Guided Meditation Scripts

1. Meditation for Relaxation

Take a deep breath. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Consciously let go of the tension that you have been holding in your shoulders. Feel them soften. Unclench your jaw. Take a breath in through the mouth. On your out-breath let out a deep sigh, ahhhh.

Gently turn the edges of your mouth up into a smile. You can relax here.

Make yourself as comfortable as possible. This could mean lying down or sitting with your hips propped up on a pillow. Allow yourself to feel grounded into the Earth beneath you. Grow your spine tall and allow the spine to be straight.

Allow a sensation of relaxation to wash over your entire body. Imagine that the muscles melt away from the bones. Soften your skin like it is a gentle cloud, suspended effortlessly and lightly in the sky. Take a few deep breaths, letting go of all the other things and focusing completely on the here and now. With every inhale, invite in a sense of expansion. With every breath out, let go of any tension. Let your body be in a state of complete relaxation. Keep noticing the softness of your breath and the wonderful light feeling in your body.

Say to yourself; I am so relaxed. I am so relaxed.

2. Meditation for Present Moment Awareness

This mindful way of meditating will allow you to fully recognize what is happening in the present moment.

Begin softly, relax your mind, soften your brain, and ask yourself:

What is happening around me?

What do I feel in my body right now?

What do I feel outside of my body?

With my eyes open what can I see around me?

What can I smell around me?

What can I hear around me?

How am I breathing?

Do I feel any stress?

Can I practice being more mindful of what is happening here and now?

These questions that awaken the 5 senses bring attention directly to the moment to allow you to focus on your breathing and feel the feelings of calm and mindfulness that are present in the body.

The more you can practice meditating on the moment, the more you can notice your emotions and identify your true feelings. No matter where you are in this world, you always have the opportunity to be present within yourself. Be mindful of the moment. Find the inner peace that lives within you. Awaken it from its sleep, and become an active example of presence in this world.

Finish with a gentle smile.

3. Meditation as a Reminder to take a Deep Breath!

Just for these next few moments practice focusing completely on your breath. Allow all other things to fall away. You do not need to think about what has happened this morning or what is yet to come. You are allowed to immerse yourself here in the present moment. For the duration of this exercise, stay sitting with your eyes open gently. Breathe softly and notice your emotions. What is your true nature?

As you take a deep breath in, recognize what this does to your body. Notice that it expands your lungs and expands your belly. As you exhale notice what this does to your body. Bring attention to the relaxation that fills your body when you sit here, focused on your breath. For the next few moments allow yourself to meditate and focus fully on the way you breathe.

Notice every little sensation as you breathe.

Feel the sensations of your breath and most importantly feel the flow of the constant energy that moves in and out of your body with each inhale and exhale. See if you can slow down your breath becoming slower and slower, more mindful, and deeper as you invite this nourishing breath into every cell of your body.

As you slow your breath, you also slow your heart rate. Be mindful of the effect of this exercise on your brain and body. Soothing and relaxing, meditating on the nature of the breath.

The more you slow your breath the more space you create for relaxation to enter your body. Feel how wonderful it is to have an expansive breath. To be aware of the moment. To feel so calm as you breathe.

Remember, the most important part of your day is to simply breathe.

4. Loving Kindness Meditation

This mindfulness meditation practice will focus on the heart center and the giving and receiving of love. Tune in now and notice what your heart is feeling today.

Connect with your heart and think of one person that cares deeply about you, and whom you care deeply about too. Bring an image of that person to your mind. It could be a friend, family member, or loved one. If no one comes to mind, you might even think about a teacher or mentor that you appreciate. Whoever it is, see an image of them in your mind now. And imagine them standing in front of you as you speak these words to them.

May you be happy and free. May you love and be loved. May you be safe and healthy in this world. May you breathe easy, and find joy in your heart.

Take a deep breath now as you imagine them receiving these words from you. Notice how it feels in your heart space to give these words to them.

Now, as you sit here, imagine that they speak these words back to you. They are still standing in front of you, but this time you are the one receiving the words.

May you be happy and free. May you love and be loved. May you be safe and healthy in this world. May you breathe easy, and find joy in your heart.

Take a deep breath in as you accept these words. Even if it feels difficult to accept these words, know that the wishes have been received and are working their way into your body already. Notice what these calm and loving words do to your heart. With mindfulness, notice how they affect your body.

Now, I invite you to think of a person that you are having a difficult time with at the moment. Perhaps this is a friend or family member, a colleague, or an acquaintance. Maybe you don’t even know this person but they are still causing trouble in your mind. Bring an image of them to your mind now. See them standing in front of you. Picture them receiving the words as you say to them:

May you be happy and free. May you love and be loved. May you be safe and healthy in this world. May you breathe easy, and find joy in your heart.

Take a deep, calm breath. How does it feel to send this person your kind words? Notice what arises when you speak these words to them. This may be challenging for you, but every time you open your heart, you practice the act of loving-kindness.

Now, as this person still stands there in front of you, this person who has been difficult for you lately is now sending you kind words too. They say to you…

May you be happy and free. May you love and be loved. May you be safe and healthy in this world. May you breathe easy, and find joy in your heart.

Accept these words. Notice if it is difficult or easy to accept these words. Breathing calmly, invite the words into your heart with gratitude. Practice opening your heart to allow these words in and feel the true nature of the heart space as it unconditionally loves and accepts this kindness.

As you feel into your body now, it it time to deepen your breathing. As you sit here, notice a version of yourself is standing in front of you.

Imagine that you are there now. Breathe deeply. Notice how it feels to be opposite yourself. Here, in this image, you are the healthiest version of yourself. Here you are standing proud and tall. You have a smile on your face. This is the best version of yourself and you notice how good it feels to be so calm, to not hold any stress. To simply be you in full awareness of the potential that you have.

Now, speak these words to yourself:

May I be happy and free. May I love and be loved. May I be safe and healthy in this world. May I breathe easy, and find joy in my heart.

Notice how wonderful this is to say to yourself. Practice receiving these kind words. Invite the emotions in to your life. Feel the wonderful sense of calm and self-compassion that exists in this meditation practice.

Take your deepest breath now, breathing this pure energy into your heart space. Notice if anything in your heart has shifted or changed since the beginning of this meditation. Can you fully accept these beautiful wishes for yourself? One last time, repeat to yourself:

May I be happy and free. May I love and be loved. May I be safe and healthy in this world. May I breathe easy, and find joy in my heart.

Place both of your hands over your heart center now. Feel the beating of your heart, feel the rise and fall of your breath. Feel the gratitude, the love, and the kindness that you have cultivated today.

Allow this guided meditation to create a sense of self-love, self-compassion and calm sensations in your mind, body, and soul.

5. Meditation for Increased Energy

Begin sitting in a comfortable position for this short meditation. Notice the emotions that you are feeling. Notice what is happening in this moment.

To increase your energy today you are going to use a breathing technique that focuses on inviting in mindfulness and letting go of stress. You are going to awaken a feeling of energy and awareness in your body. Notice how this will change with every breath.

Start to breathe deeply. Inhale, invite in self-compassion. Exhale, let go of anything you no longer need.

Inhale, invite in loving kindness. Exhale, and let go of stress.

Inhale, invite in calm feelings. Exhale, and let go of any anxiety.

Inhale, invite in pure awareness of the present moment. Exhale, and let go of any negative emotions.

Inhale, invite in peace and mindfulness. Exhale, and let go of fear and stress.

Inhale, invite in gratitude and a deep breath. Exhale, and let go of comparison.

Inhale, invite in a warm smile. Exhale, and let go of tension.

For the final breath, breathe in whatever you need right now. And breathe out whatever you want to let go of.

Notice the difference in your body, noticing how your body can change and feel more energized, simply by using the breath.

Sit here for a few more moments, in stillness and mindfulness, considering how you can invite this breathing practice into your everyday life.

6. Meditation for Anxiety

In moments of anxiety, you can come back to yourself by slowing your heart rate and using the following breathing exercise to change the sensations in your body.

As you are sitting here, begin to be mindful of what anxiety does to your body. What emotions are activated when you are feeling anxious? What happens when you try and meditate on you stress or anxiety?

Sit with this feeling and these sensations.

In 10 simple deep breaths you are going to release the anxiety that you feel within and you will come back to yourself with more positive and relaxed feelings.

Simply breathe in for the count of five.

And let out your breath for the count of five.

Repeat this. Breathe in for the count of five.

And exhale, breathe out for the count of five.

Focus on the feelings that are present and notice how the way you breathe is affecting your body.

For the next few deep breaths stay present with this breathing exercise.

Try to silence the anxiety as you awaken the sense of peacefulness that resides within you.

On your tenth breath, let out a really long exhale. Slowing your breath, slowing down your mind and coming back to the present moment.

Sit for a few moments in simple awareness, breathing naturally once again.

Keep a sense of mindfulness and awareness of the feelings of your breath and the sensations that are present within you.

7. Meditation for Gratitude

Start this guided meditation with a soft smile. Find the natural rhythm of your breath.

Place both hands over your heart center. Feel the beating of your heart. Notice the energy that lives in this center. Your heart is alive with the sensations of love, joy and compassion. Keep your eyes open in a gentle way as you meditate upon the beauty of the heart.

Now, lets begin a gratitude practice. Allow this feeling of love to expand into a practice of gratitude and giving thanks, like a prayer of love for your life.

Bring to mind three things that have already happened today that you are grateful for.

Now, bring to mind three things ahead of you today that you are grateful for.

Think of three things right now in this very present moment that you are grateful for.

As you sit here, following your in breath and out breath, noticing the feeling and sensations that gratitude brings to you.

Gratitude fills up your heart with a beautiful expansive energy that can be shared with others. Think of three people in your life that you are grateful for.

Why are you grateful for them? What joy do they bring to your life? Have you told them that you are grateful for them?

Imagine that the wonderful energy in your heart is being sent out to these people, and you are embracing them in a beautiful bubble of golden energy.

This golden energy is filled with gratitude and connects your hearts.

Finish with silence and surrender

After each meditation, tune into what changed in your body or mind. How did a simple smile, or a prayer of gratitude change your way of meditating? Did it bring you more joy, or more presence while you were meditating?

The point of these guided meditations is to give you something to focus on while you read. To invite you to begin to relax with every word, to consciously melt away your stress and to focus on the way your body is breathing. The combinations of these meditations will take you to a new point in your life where you read fully and presently in the moment. You will find a point of bliss, of calm and you will want to return there for every meditation that you do.

Take the last few moments after reading the meditations to sit in silence, and to continue breathing in a natural way that feels good for you.

Frequently Asked Quetions

What is meditative reading?

The act of applying the principles of mindfulness to your reading practice. For example, meditating on each word, breathing deeply and staying focused on the feelings the text evokes.

How can I start meditative reading?

Begin with the guided meditation scripts above! Use these meditations as an introduction to mindfulness and meditation and notice the effects they have on your body.

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About Gemma Clarke

Gemma Clarke is a certified and experienced yoga & meditation instructor. She has been practicing meditation since 2014 and teaching since 2018. Gemma specializes in yoga and mindfulness for emotional wellbeing, and she has taught in Thailand, Cambodia, and the UK. Gemma is passionate about sharing her expertise and experience with meditation to inspire others to live more mindfully, becoming happier, healthier, and calmer. Follow me: Instagram | LinkedIn

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