Life is full of uncertainty and provides many moments for us to enter into states of concern, stress and even panic.
With the COVID-19 coronavirus sweeping through the world and throwing us all into a state of uncertainty, these are undoubtedly tricky times for many, and tragic times for too many.
Ironically, what’s pushing us physically apart also has the opportunity to unite us in a different way.
And the many challenges of such a time also provide an opportunity to examine and work on our inner selves. On our personal growth.
How we act out and behave during a crisis can impact not only our own state of being but also the mind state and wellbeing of anyone we come into contact with.
Guided meditations for moments of crisis, uncertainty and anxiety
Meditation can be a useful too to help us acknowledge some of our runaway thoughts, to not get caught up in the ‘what ifs’, and to meet this with the calmness that’s needed.
I find that guided meditations can be particularly useful when you’re in panic mode because you’re essentially handing over the reigns to someone else and saying ‘here, help me through this moment’.
Often at these times, non-guided meditation can prove tricky, particularly if you’re new to the practice.
Below are five guided meditations from different teachers, purposefully chosen to provide you with a range of approaches.
1. Releasing Anxiety
When I interviewed Kate James, an Australian life coach and mindfulness teacher, some years back on the topic of career breaks I was struck by her professional attitude and calm, collected demeanour. She has since become a favourite on the Insight Timer app, offering guided meditations and whole courses to help bring out the best in you.
Her Releasing Anxiety guided meditation gets a 4.8 star rating and has over 168,000 plays. Although not specific to the COVID-19 crisis, what she talks about and gets you to look at is undoubtedly useful to help you deal with any anxiety or stresses you’re experiencing in relation to the pandemic.
by Kate James at InsightTimer
2. Compassion in the Time of Coronavirus
Jack Kornfield is another big figure in the world of meditation and has been one of my trusted go-tos for many years now. He is known for his accessible and humourous approach to meditation. He co-founded both the Insight Meditation Society and the Spirit Rock Center, and is also known for his bestselling books.
In a time where panic, anxiety and fear can take hold, he talks of the need for us to ‘keep our minds clear and our hearts open’. With calm assurance, he provides both context and instils confidence in our ability to deal with whatever gets thrown at us, and creates some sort of a call-to-action before leading us in a compassion, lovingkindness-based meditation.
Compassion in the Time of Coronavirus
by Jack Kornfield at JackKornfield.com
3. Lovingkindness Meditation
Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned meditation teacher and New York Times bestselling author who has spent a significant part of her life focusing on lovingkindness meditation, otherwise known as metta.
Her Lovingkindness Meditation at InsightTimer is a wonderfully non-fluffy version of this type of meditation that invites us to offer care and kindness to ourselves and others in the world. In a time where we’re facing such uncertainty and increased levels of anxiety, working with lovingkindness is both a way to make ourselves feel a little safer but also help us to reach out to others in the world who might be suffering.
by Sharon Salzberg at InsightTimer
4. Tonglen For Coronavirus Outbreak: Transforming Fear & Impermanence to Compassion
This meditation comes from Celia Roberts at the BioMedical Institute for Yoga and Meditation. Celia is an Australian senior yoga and meditation teacher and yoga therapist who I was fortunate to train under some years back. She brings years of experience and an interest in neuroscience and compassion trainings to her work.
Here she delivers an overview of what Tibetan Buddhist tonglen meditation actually is, before leading you through a meditation aimed to help you ‘transform fear into compassion and healing, whilst acknowledging the impermanence of all things in this time of the coronavirus pandemic’.
Tonglen For Coronavirus Outbreak: Transforming Fear & Impermanence to Compassion
by Celia Roberts at InsightTimer
5. Everything Changes Meditation
During a time when there is no certainty apart from the certainty of constant change, it’s useful to remind ourselves that change is always happening, that it’s a natural part of our world and lives, and that it’s okay.
Here expert meditation teacher, Joseph Goldstein, talks us through a mindfulness meditation that creates the foundations to help us to learn to acknowledge and accept the constant changes of life.
Everything Changes Meditation
by Joseph Goldstein at InsightTimer
Although not a guided meditation per se, Sam Harris’ Waking Up app still warrants a mention as a useful tool for meditation training.
Within the app he provides background theory and talks, a meditation training program and daily meditations, and has a really effective, secular way of presenting and teaching the benefits of meditation.
His talk Meditation in an Emergency provides good reasons as to why you might want to consider a meditation practice, both as a way to cope with what’s coming at us but also as a massively useful life tool going forward.