Active vs. Passive Meditation

And why we need both in our practice.

For anyone interested, I speak in detail about the meditation routine I employee in my “How I Meditate” video. Check it out.

Active Meditation 

Active meditation in a spiritual context is a working meditation. It’s any sitting wherein you have a question for your higher soul, inner guides or for God/Source. The point is to receive communication. 

In short, what one of these sessions entails is getting your mind still and quiet, softening or letting go and expanding your subtle senses wide enough to receive input or impressions. You need to be relaxed and surrendered to your higher power in this state for communication to flow to you unobstructed. This is the ultimate trust fall. 

I should also note that when someone with intuitive gifts of clairvoyance, clairaudience or clairsentience (or any of the “clairs”) goes into meditation on behalf of another like in a “psychic reading,” they are using active meditation. That’s because the goal is to get information that will help you heal or better yourself in some way. 

(If you’re curious about how I discovered my clairvoyance and other spiritual gifts, check out my “How my Spiritual Gifts Unfolded” video.)

I believe it’s important to acquaint yourself with passive meditation for at least a couple of weeks before you start exploring active meditation. 

Before I move on to explain passive meditation, I want to clarify one more thing. Active meditation in a sacred context is about receiving information from the divine. Just know that the secular meditation community also has a form or practice called active meditation. These are also known as guided meditations. The difference is subtle at first glance, but to those of us who’ve practiced sacred active and secular active the experiences are worlds apart. Secular active meditation entails going into practice with a question too. But the goal is for the psyche or imagination to generate the images that come in response to the prompts. 

 I’ve practiced both. And when I was first starting out in active sacred meditation with the intention to receive communication from my soul, I wondered if what I would get was going to be from the imagination. A lot of beginners wonder this. But most intuitives know after enough practice that what is coming in isn’t the imagination. Off the top of my head, here’s why I’m sure that a higher power is communicating with us in sacred active meditation rather than our imagination:

-Often concepts, terms and languages that you have never come across will come in. For me, Hindi sacred terms would come in that I’d never heard. Ex: Brahman, Para-Brahman, Moksha. 

-After doing enough readings for others, you learn that information and details come in that you couldn’t have possibly known without the assistance of the soul. Reading successfully for others was the single most important thing in helping me get through my own doubt. I just knew details I couldn’t have possibly known. It happens all the time at this point, and there’s just no denying the divine after that. Or at least the concept of a unified consciousness. Call it what you want, but it’s most definitely beyond what science can explain. 

-Divinely sourced input is often multi-dimensional or inhuman feeling. The soul often depicts info in a way that defies earthly law and the human forms of perception. For me for instance, I will be shown a truth that exists within impossible stretches of time. Planetary genesis or galactic time. There’s often a feeling of timelessness. With some practice, you’ll see what I mean.

-When you make contact with the divine, it’s pretty obvious physically. And this freaks some people out when it happens. It took me a while to get used to it but here are a few physical symptoms of making contact with the realm of Spirit:

  • heart rate increases suddenly
  • you sense a new vibration in the space
  • there is a visceral, warm peaceful presence around you
  • your consciousness feels separate from your body (also known as the out-of-body experience)
  • if your eyes are closed, you can sometimes perceive swirling light or energy around you. You can feel it often when it’s making contact with you. And with your awareness, you can often direct it.

Passive Meditation

Passive meditation is just as important as active. It may at first seem less interesting, but I assure you that your ability to master passive sittings will directly strengthen your capacity for active exercises. Passive is really about focus and concentration. It’s also known as “mindfulness.” Both secular and non-secular meditators can agree this is good for us. 

The idea in a passive meditation is to sit in an easy sitting position. Make yourself comfortable and pick a point of focus. I like my in and out breath because I can count on it to continue whether I am successfully focusing on it or not. People locate the breath in different places. Some like to keep their awareness in their belly as it expands and contracts. I like to think of my lungs, because it’s close to the heart which is our central organ. I’m killing two birds with one stone in this way. Because placing your consciousness in the heart energy is a bit of a game-changer. I’ll need to write an article just on the heart center alone to do it justice, but I’ll give you the short reason why this is helpful. Because we associate love with the heart. And love is the most powerful energy to work with psychically or spiritually. This seems intellectually obvious. But the trick is to feel love. Once you can build from scratch a visceral feeling of love in your body, you’ll find that your intuition picks way up. And here’s my quick arm chair theory as to why that is: because love is what connects us to all that is. It’s the force in the universe that organizes creation, that brings us together into perfect unity, that returns us to wholeness within ourselves and without (or in the world). Love is the energy of Source or God, in my experience. More on that later.

So back to passive. Choose a point of focus. The breath is a good object to focus on. Some people like to sit in front of a mandala and visually focus. Some like to intellectually focus with a a mantra like “om” or “love” or “God.” Some like to physically focus and bring their awareness to a certain aspect of the body, like the heart or the abdomen or the what some call the 3rd eye or spiritual eye between your physical eyes. 

The goal from there is to keep your focus for as long as possible. If you’re watchful, you’ll notice the nature of your mind is to wander. And wander widely. When you catch your thoughts wandering into the grocery list or yesterday’s argument with a friend, gently bring it back to your point of focus. Every time you bring it back, you are building what some call “mindfulness.”

It’s probably good to start small here. I remember starting this exercise by putting 1 minute on the clock with my phone. When the alarm went off, I’d almost always drifted away from my point of focus. I’d reset the timer and repeat. After 3-5 times, I would remember to “stay.” Sometimes it helps to put your hand on your heart to remind yourself that you are in the process of “staying here.” I hope that makes sense. I prefer to meditate without apps for the most part so, I’ll just use a timer for this exercise, but there are some meditation apps that will allow you to set up periodic chimes to queue you to return your awareness to your point of focus. Those do really help and they’re nice sometimes to use. I like Oak Meditation App. I’ve also heard Headspace is good too. If you want to give secular passive meditation a try, Sam Harris’s meditation app might be a good place to start. He’s a long-time meditator and knows what he’s doing. 

You’ll find after practicing both active and passive practice that they play off one another. Your ability to focus anchors your consciousness just enough to receive full messages and impressions during the surrendered, expansive state of active meditation. 

I think that’s where I’ll leave it today. Now, go forth and get some zen in your life.

Be sure to chime in with your experiences in the comments section below.

And if you have questions about the process, I’m available for one-on-one mentorship at sissatsuma@gmail.com. Feel free to reach out.

2 comments

  1. Bryan Wagner · March 30

    Thank you for this. The practice to acquire a meditative mindset is forever fascinating!
    Gassho!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Elementals & the Fairy Realm | Satsuma Diaries

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