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LEADER RESOURCE 3 Guided Meditation

Let's take some time to relax and allow our imaginations to stretch.

Guided meditation is a way of focusing so that your innermost thoughts and memories can come to the surface of your mind. Sometimes but not always, a guided meditation will invite new insights or excite your imagination in ways that can be spiritually instructive or illuminating. The ringing of the chime is a signal that we are entering into our meditation.

[Ring the chime.]

I invite you to get comfortable, whether this means sitting in your chair or perhaps stretching out on the floor. Begin with breathing. Slowly inhale, and then slowly exhale. Inhale, then exhale. Breathe in, breathe out. Inhale, exhale. In, then out. Find a rhythm that feels comfortable to you. Focus on your breath. Inhale, exhale. Breathe in, breathe out. Starting with your feet, begin to relax your body. Let go of the tension in your feet and ankles. Relax your muscles as you slowly move up your body, from your shin to your knees to your thigh. Relax your abdomen. Feel your breath in your stomach and your diaphragm. Release the tension in your shoulders. Feel the tension leave your body down your arms, over your elbow, all the way to your hand and fingers. Shake the tension out of your hands. Let your arms go limp and rest your hands in your lap. Move up to your neck. So much tension gets held in your head and neck, try to let it go. If you are comfortable, let your head roll forward to rest on your chest. Concentrate on your spine, focusing your attention on relaxing from your neck all the way down. If you haven't already, close your eyes and relax your eyebrows and eyelids. Let go of the tension in your teeth and jaw. Are you clenching? Let your jaw go slack and leave your mouth open.

We are going to slip into the world of our imagination for a little while. Visualize a comfortable, peaceful place. It can be somewhere you have been, a memory, or you can create a place where you can relax and rest undisturbed. Is there water nearby? Perhaps you see a lake, or the ocean, or a waterfall? Are there trees, or flowers, or beautiful rocks nearby? Can you see the sun? Feel a gentle breeze? How does the air smell and taste? Are your feet or hands in touch with the earth? Do you see mountains in the distance? Find a place to rest for few minutes. Let your mind wander. Daydream a bit. What is it that makes this place special for you?

While you are resting in your special place, let your mind wander to a time in the recent past or perhaps long past, where you had to make an important financial decision. It may have involved a small amount of money or a great deal of money but it did make an impact on you. Perhaps it also affected someone you love or even your community or the world. Was it a time when you purchased something? Was it a time when you had to borrow money? Was it time when you didn't have enough? Was it a gift, given or received? Was it an investment in the future? In that situation, how conscious were you of your financial status relative to that of others?

Think back to your feeling when you made this decision. Were you confident? Were you worried? Afraid? Who else was involved in this decision? What do you think they were feeling?

How did you come to your decision? What were the steps leading up to it? Was it a logical process? Was it an emotional process? Did you have a choice? Did it require trust, either in yourself or in others? Was it easy or was it a struggle? Did this decision require you to compromise your values or did it affirm them? In what way?

Remember to keep breathing. Now focus your thoughts on the present. How do you feel now about the decision you made at that time? Did it transform your thinking or your habits or your attitudes in some way? Did you learn something from this decision? Has it changed you in some essential way? Would making the same decision today be consistent with your spiritual values, however you define them?

You are still in your special place where you feel safe. Think again on this question: Did the decision change you? Why or why not? Take a moment now to separate yourself from this memory. In your mind's eye, take a step back. If it brought warm feelings to the surface, put your arms out to embrace them. If it brought unpleasant memories to the surface, lift your face to the wind and let them go.

Breathe in, breathe out. It's time to return from your special place. Take a moment to look around once more and take in the peace you have created in your mind. Begin to bring your awareness back to the present and this space. Feel your feet and your hands. Stretch your neck and wiggle your toes. When you feel ready, sit up slowly. When I ring the chime, our time of meditation will be done.

[Allow one or two minutes of silence, then ring the chime.]

When you feel ready, open your eyes and return to the group.

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