Guided vs Unguided Meditation: Which is Right for You?

guided vs unguided meditation

In this article, learn the differences between guided vs unguided meditation and determine which type is right for you.

Introduction

Meditation is a profound spiritual and relaxation practice in which we get in tune with and follow our true Selves. During meditation, we subdue our thoughts and emotions so that they become less intrusive. By doing so, we can get deeper into the root of our existence, which is not based on our external experiences.

Meditation is a journey inward within. It is an experience in which we still ourselves and, in the process, experience peace. For some, meditation is a form of relaxation and clearing the mind. It is a way of taking care of one’s emotional and mental well-being and having a moment for the self. Meditation could also be a way to connect to higher vibrations and energies if someone is interested in following a spiritual and all-connective path of union, also known as Yoga.

In both cases, meditation is there to ease and help us go through life with peace, tranquility, gratitude, and respect for all living beings. The practice may be done by meditating in personal and individual practice or joining a meditation group or guided meditation session.

Below we will talk about guided Meditation and unguided or silent Meditation and how these practices could support and complement your life.

Understanding Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is a practice where we let ourselves be guided or led through meditation by another practitioner. We train our attention to the voice and instructions of the meditation teacher or guide to follow a meditation experience of our own.
This type of practice is often prepared with a specific goal or intention in the mind of the meditation guide. There can be various techniques and methods used during a guided meditation session. Depending on your needs, we need to look for a specific type of guided meditation.

Guided meditations usually follow a structure that prepares the class to relax and go to a deeper space within. Often it is done so by relaxing and loosening any physical tensions in the body, focused and conscious breathing and pranayama practice, visualization, asking insightful questions, and more.

Difference b/w Guided vs Unguided Meditation

Some people may ask, “Is guided meditation bad” thinking that by following someone else’s lead, we will not get in touch with our True Selves. This assumption may show a lack of respect for other people’s needs and experiences in life. A meditative moment is different for every person, and we should all follow a practice that best serves us.

Guided and unguided meditations help us reach a state of peace, mental clearance, and a wider perspective on life. Even though these two practices differ in form, they both have the same objectives and may be practiced interchangeably.

Guided Meditation

Guided meditation is helpful for anyone starting their journey with meditation. But even experienced practitioners can take benefit from good guided meditation. Sometimes we feel like practicing on our own; at other times, we might feel like following someone else’s lead. This aspect is quite similar when it comes to guided meditation.

It is important to note that a guided meditation teacher is there only to light the way and create the space and ambiance for the practice. How we wish to go through such an experience is completely up to the individual.

It is better to follow a guided meditation when we are low in energy or anxious and need support from others. This practice is helpful for anyone who lacks focus or finds it difficult to imagine and visualize on their own. Then again, it could benefit people who want to relax and be inspired by a good meditation guide.

Unguided Meditation

Unguided meditation is when we follow our practice, looking inward and going through the stages of a meditative experience by ourselves. In this practice, the meditator decides on the structure, visualizations, and breathwork and may adjust and dive into spaces within at their own pace.

Unguided or silent meditation is a deep self-exploring practice recommended for both beginners and experienced practitioners. Making space and time for our needs is a crucial moment in the day, and meditation can be a helpful space to look deeper and listen to them.

You don’t need formal training or much experience to meditate; it is a unique and personal experience and all you need is your intuition to guide you.

Without the need for a guide, you can meditate whenever and wherever you are. This allows you to use meditation to relax, clear the mind and gain perspective at any time.

Know Which is Right for You

Is guided meditation better than unguided meditation, you may ask? And as we previously mentioned, there is no better or worse when finding your path in your meditation journey. Both methods have pros and cons; it is up to you whether you have a guided or silent meditative experience.

Some pros and cons of both Guided and Silent meditation.

Guided Meditation:

  • Follows instructions.
  • Uses a prepared and structured meditation.
  • The attention is focused on the guide’s voice.
  • We are reminded to stay focused and concentrated.
  • Uses guided breathing and visualization exercises.
  • The pace and structure are controlled by someone else.
  • The practitioner may get distracted by the voice.
  • The meditation script may not fit our needs at the moment.
  • You may not connect to the lead of the guide.

Silent Meditation:

  • We choose the time and space to meditate.
  • Follows our intuition and needs.
  • Uses personal and connective visualizations.
  • Using our creativity and imagination.
  • We may stay in meditation for as long as we like.
  • We have the flexibility to dive into whichever space is within.
  • There are no instructions. Therefore beginners may feel lost.
  • Lack of focus may cause our thoughts to stray.
  • Our minds and imagination limit us.
  • Easier to get stuck in one place, emotions or thoughts.

The Bottomline

Guided and Unguided Meditation is different in form, but they aim to lead us to experience peace within ourselves. Meditation leads us inward and forward in life, and there is no good or bad when following what we feel. A longing for a sense of tranquility, calmness, and peace is often why we begin to meditate and whether we choose to follow a guided or silent meditation, we are on the right path. If you wish to learn more about meditation, we invite you to join our online meditation course, Calm Your Spirit, Soothe Your Mind.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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