7 AM, December 31st
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2012: Guided Meditation by Penny Winestock

In about 5 minutes, we'll join with people all over the world in seeing and feeling this beautiful planet of ours bathed in the light of peace, prosperity, and loving compassion for all. Before we go there, to the bigger picture, we'll take a couple of those minutes to do some healing relaxation for ourselves.

I'm guessing that many of us in this room, moved to get up before the crack of dawn to be at this event, are already familiar with the process of meditation, but if you're not, or if you've been away from it for a while, I want to remind you that it belongs in every spiritual tradition known to humankind, it is as natural to us as breathing, and it tends to feel extra potent when we do it in a roomful of others doing it, too. It's a powerful thing to do in community, but it's also a very personal experience, so I invite you to use my voice and my words to help you open to a place of relaxation in yourself, to let anything you hear this morning that doesn't resonate for you to just flow past, and to take in and be nourished by all that you find inspiring.

So, to begin, I suggest that you move about in your chair a bit and find the place that is most comfortable for you. Next, take three deep, slow, breaths, remembering that there is nowhere else you need to be and nothing else you need to do right now. If your energy is high, buzzy, or speedy, you may want to lower your eyes or even close them. If your energy is low, sleepy, or heavy, gently raise your gaze and find a place to softly focus your eyes. Close or open your eyes as it feels right moment to moment.

Bring your attention to your grounding places - your feet on the floor, your legs and seat on your chair. Breathing easily and comfortably, imagine that there are root-like channels extending from these parts of your body, reaching down into the earth, bringing you an experience of grounded safety and strength.

Allow your attention to travel up through your body all the way to the top of your head and imagine that there is an open channel extending from your crown up into the cosmos, bringing you trust in your own consciousness.

Breathe easily and comfortably. With each out-breath, the cells of your physical body and their counterparts in your emotional body release all unnecessary pain. Every time you breathe out, excess fear, grief and hopelessness that you no longer need to carry is expelled - sent down into the earth and up into the heavens for transformation. With each breath you become lighter, freer, more available to pleasure and joy.

In through your feet from deep in the earth and down into your head from the centre of the cosmos far above, flow streams of pure loving kindness. This energy of compassion flows into every part of your body and being, awakening you to the beauty of your essential self, to your own loving self-acceptance. This is known in your heart.

Bring your attention to your heart centre in the middle of your chest. With each in-breath, your heart fills with pure loving kindness for your own dear self. With each out-breath, a beam of loving kindness shines effortlessly out from your heart and expands to nourish the world. Love in for yourself. Love out for the world.