Meditation is an ancient practice that supports well-being, and it is a tool that can help parents and their baby both physically and spiritually. In this piece, Sienna Long, author of Enlightened Pregnancy, provides a guided meditation exercise that you may use to support your clients’ minds, giving them spiritual guidance and support for baby.
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Pregnancy and birth is inherently a sacred time. It is a time when women tap into deeper parts of themselves. It is a time when many parents feel connected with their babies on a soul-to-soul level, a connection that may show itself in dreams or in an intuitive sense of knowing.
As a culture, we tend to emphasize the physical aspects of pregnancy and birth–eating right, exercising, and preparing the home–far more than the spiritual aspects. Yet, as part of bringing a baby into the world, parents are also bringing a spirit into incarnation. As birth professionals, we have an opportunity to support parents to welcome their new child with grace.
Enlightened Pregnancy was written to help expecting parents to connect with their coming baby on a spiritual level. It contains poems, meditations, and visualization exercises that support parents in tapping into their own spiritual essence, and using that to guide and support their baby through the time in the womb and after. Each exercise is designed to be completed in just 1-3 minutes, to help people who are new to meditation dive in and try it.
Meditation is an ancient practice that supports well-being, and it is a tool that can help parents and their baby both physically and spiritually. Neuroscience has shown positive benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices in reducing stress and anxiety and increasing happiness. These benefits to the mother translate to a healthier biochemical environment for the baby in the womb. Additionally, by reducing fear and stress, a mother can have an easier and more joyous experience of birth.
Meditation also provides a deep level of understanding and connection with oneself, and it fosters a deeper connection with and compassion for others. For expecting parents, it is a way to cultivate peace, joy and strength for themselves and for their baby. The skills developed by using Enlightened Pregnancy will also be supportive for both parents and child throughout infancy and childhood.
Here is a sample meditation from the book:
This guided meditation exercise is a spiritual reflection that will help you to still your mind and give spiritual guidance and support to your baby. Clear your mind and open your heart to the experience. Maintain an alert and comfortable posture. Breathe.
During the period of meditation let your mind become still and quiet. During a meditation session the only thing that matters is the focus of your meditation. When thoughts arise, observe them as ‘just thoughts,’ let go of them, and bring your focus back.
Close your eyes and envision your baby in your womb, or in your arms. Then envision the divine, in whatever form feels natural and happy to you, above you and your baby. Arouse devotion for the divine by evoking feelings such as gratitude, respect, awe, love, purity, luminosity and peace. Then focus inwardly on the area of your heart in the center of your chest. Focus strongly so that sounds, feelings, and smells become distant. Be still. Let your mind become tranquil and calm. Pull your thoughts and awareness away from other people and things. Bring your full and complete attention to your heart. Continue this exercise for a few minutes, maintaining strong concentration and inner focus.
Although Enlightened Pregnancy is based in Tibetan Buddhism, it is written for a Western audience. It is intended to be welcoming and comfortable to people of any religious and cultural heritage. The goal is for parents to gain experience calming the mind and becoming centered and present in the moment, developing their inner connection with their baby, and connecting with the divine in whatever form resonates for them. That way they can be beacons of light, peace, and strength for their baby.
Enlightened Pregnancy stems from an ancient Tibetan Buddhist text, the Bardo Thodol, which means “Liberation Through Hearing.” The Bardo Thodol is one of the most famous and well-regarded books in Tibetan Buddhism, and has been read aloud for centuries with the intention of helping loved ones in the transition from one life to the next. Enlightened Pregnancy draws from the wisdom of the Bardo Thodol to help parents welcome a new life to their home.
In the Buddhist worldview, life is seen as a cycle from birth through life and death to birth again, without beginning or end. Spirits are eternal and return to life to continue learning. Each life flows into another life through reincarnation.
In between lives there is a period of time when the spirit is not in a body, but in a dreamlike existence called the bardo. In the Tibetan worldview, the bardo is where the spirits of new babies come from. It is considered an especially good time for spiritual growth because the mind is more fluid and open than usual. During a baby’s journey to life there are many profound spiritual opportunities. Using Enlightened Pregnancy, a parent accompanies and guides the baby on this journey.
Anyone can read this book for the benefit of an unborn child — mother or father, grandparent, adoptive parent, or friend. The book can help at any point before conception, during pregnancy, and even up through the first year of the baby’s life.
The book is available in Kindle and paperback format on Amazon. The material is also available as an online course at Daily Om. For more information visit www.enlightened-pregnancy.com, www.facebook.com/enlightenedpregnancy or contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sienna Long has studied meditation and mindfulness since 2002 and taught since 2008. She grew up in the US but spent many summers in a highland Mayan town in Guatemala, and was recognized there as having the destiny of being an iyoom, a sacred Mayan midwife. She has degrees in Human Biology and Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and she is the author of Enlightened Pregnancy: Connecting with Your Baby Spiritually.
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