Meditation Prompts- What Are They And How To Use Them
Mental programming: sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? We hear about this kind of thing from cult experts and survivors or even people with abusive pasts. Like so many things, however, mental programming isn’t inherently bad. It’s all about context.
Before Meditation Prompts, What’s Mind Over Matter?
For instance, therapeutic schools of thought like Cognitivative Behavioral Therapy teach us how to reframe our thinking to create beneficial change in our lives. People who practice things like the power of positive thinking or even the more controversial law of attraction are all engaging in some form of mental programming.
The difference between these self-focused practices and abusive mental programming is largely contextual. You should be skeptical about any person, theory, or practice that alters your thinking. Use your intuition and self-awareness to guide you away from harmful changes that don’t suit you. Instead, gravitate toward positive, nurturing change.
How Do I Check In With Myself To Ensure I’m Healthy?
We like to ask ourselves, ‘is this moving me closer to my core values and who I truly am?’ You should also pay attention to how you’re feeling whenever you’re making deliberate life changes.
Whenever we leave our comfort zone we’ll naturally feel some discomfort. However, it’s up to you to determine if the discomfort is really a signal that you’re moving out of alignment with yourself. A few warning signs to look out for are prologued confusion, intense emotional distress, concerned feedback from loved ones you trust, and dramatic mood swings.
Finally, remember to honor yourself and go slowly with behavior modification. If you’re unsure or feeling bad about your new modification practices, check-in with a therapist for an educated and unbiased opinion.
Meditation Prompt Time: What Are They?
Now that we’ve gotten those important cautions out of the way, what are meditation prompts? Prompts are simply thoughts, ideas, or statements that become the basis for meditation. By the way, you can use these prompts outside of meditation as well. We love to journal on these prompts just as much as we use them in meditation.
Almost anything can be a meditation prompt. You might find a profound statement in a book you’re reading and jot it down to work on later. Sometimes your own mind supplies meditation prompts during the course of your day. In fact, try using any extreme, knee jerk reaction you have as a prompt to meditate on later. This can reveal interesting insight!
Quotations floating around on social media or from spiritual thought-leaders also make great prompts.
You’re using these statements to train your mind in some way. They’re also tools for self-discovery. That’s why they’re kind of like mental programming, but in a way that helps you make some positive change in your life or way of thinking.
How To Do The Work
When we deal with prompts as a tool, we find it helpful to create a new term: workspace. In this context, your workspace is either the meditation surrounding your prompt, your journaling session about the prompt, a conscious conversation with yourself about the prompt, or even an affirmation session where you repeat the prompt.
These are all ‘workspaces’ to us because they go beyond the blank-space mindful meditation practices that many people use to relax. They’re a little more active and purposeful.
We also like this term because it’s flexible, playful, and open. Anything can happen in your workspace. You don’t have to reach a conclusion. It isn’t a finite. goal-oriented time period with a distinct beginning and end. You might choose to bring a prompt into workspace several times or even regularly.
Workspacing a prompt is similar no matter which method of ‘work’ you choose to apply to it. Just read or recite the prompt at the beginning of your practice and let the rest of your session focus on or revolve around that prompt.
To make your meditation a workspace, read or recite your prompt. Whether you do this once or several times is completely up to you.
Begin your meditation by sitting quietly and following your usual meditation practices. For many people, this involves breath work and body awareness.
As thoughts float into your awareness in the meditative workspace, gently guide them back to the prompt in some way. This could mean reciting the prompt again, as you best remember it. Alternately, you can connect with the feelings the prompt spurs within you. Follow any threads of thought gently, without focusing too strongly on any single thought.
Remember to simply observe these thoughts and try not to attach yourself to them. Likewise, avoid judging yourself during and after this exercise.
When your meditation is done, you can add a quick journaling session to jot down any profound breakthroughs you had, or anything that came up that you’d like to work on more later.
Many people love the process of free-association writing. Writing is just mechanical enough to create a meditative space where thoughts can flow freely. That’s why it’s a great workspace practice.
As mentioned above, you can journal after meditating. Doing this means writing down some of your takeaways from meditation as well as any thoughts that come to mind while you’re writing and reflecting on your session.
Prompted journaling on its own could involve writing out the prompt and then simply writing about whatever comes to mind. Another way to get started is to write out the prompt and then ask yourself a series of questions about it.
By the way, if you aren’t familiar with Socratic Questioning and using that as a critical thinking and self-discovery tool, we highly recommend it! It’s an awesome journaling tactic.
Remember to occasionally review your journal because it’s revealing to see where you’ve been, where you’ve grown, and what you’d still like to work on further.
Conscious Conversation Workspace
We all talk to ourselves, right? If not, just skip this section. 😀
If you’re a big self-talker, go all-in with your prompt! You can even shoot a video of yourself doing this if you like. It’s a lot like journaling.
Work in some Socratic Questioning during your conversation. Talk about whatever comes to mind, including how you feel about the prompt. Are there ways you can use the emotions it provokes to make beneficial changes in your life? What do you like or dislike about the prompt?
If you have a friend who loves this kind of thing, hold a small salon where you actually discuss the prompt. You can have a surprising amount of fun with this with the right group of people. It’s a great time to bust out the CBD too, by the way. We love the idea of swapping out game night with a prompt sesh.
The last workspace we want to touch on is about affirmations. If your prompt speaks to you in a profound way, why not use it as an affirmation?
It’s easy to use affirmations. You can slip them into the beginning or end of a meditation or do them on their own. It simply involves repeating a statement (in this case, your prompt) a few times in a row. People usually do this daily or twice a day.
What else are you doing when you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, right? Another great affirmation opportunity comes during your skincare routine or shower.
Some affirmations lend themselves really well to grounding, which means you can bust them out anytime you experience a certain trigger during your day. If you’ve ever seen anyone repeat something like, ‘calm, peaceful, tranquil, relaxed’ whenever they start to get angry, you’ll understand what a grounding affirmation is.
So that’s the basic brain-dump we have to share about using prompts. If you’re looking for some prompts to use, the internet is your friend. Try searching for spiritual quotations or following mindful or lifestyle influencers on social media.
We even share a few on our Instagram page!
When you find a good one, why not pay it forward? In fact, if you’d like to see us suggest prompts more regularly in a newsletter or on our IG page, let us know.