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To Om or not to Om…


Mr. Peter Bedard MA, C.Ht.


Health, Fitness, and Beauty

After a near-death experience, Peter Bedard was faced with the greatest challenge of all: Living a life in severe physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. The former dancer soon discovered that the anger and frustration he felt because of his injuries were not only keeping him in pain, but were waiting to teach him the greatest gifts of his life.   Now, a celebrated author and healer, he helps thousands of people globally to live a life of full potential while integrating the lessons of pain into balanced living. Peter is the owner of and Peter's book, Convergence Healing: Healing Pain with Energetic Love, is in bookstores now! His newest book, "When Happiness is Work, A 30 Day Guide to Creating a Life of Joy and Healing Depression" is taking pre-orders NOW prior to publication!

As a practiced meditator for many years I find it funny when people claim there is a right way to meditate. To those people I say “PSHAW”! There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of variations on meditation. What’s important is not how right you are doing but that you are doing it. It has been proven for thousands of years that meditation helps to heal everything from physical, to emotional, to spiritual dis-ease. And science now has for a couple of decades agreed.

There are three primary types of meditation. They are…







Focused Meditation

A focused meditation (or Concentration Meditation) when the practitioner focuses on a single thing…be it a sound like OM, a physical object like rosary beads, a candle flame, or even drumming, or an experience like rocking or even spinning like a Whirling Dervish. They idea is to use your senses to shift your attention from the outside world. When focusing on a candle flame the eyes will eventually fatigue and close shifting the individuals attention within, when focusing on a sound like chanting OM our attention eventually moves inward as well, and the same goes for repetitive movements like breathing or even dance. Eventually the dancer loses themselves in the “dance”. The goal is to use this outward experience to shift our attention within.


Mindfulness Meditation

Focused Meditation is about shifting your attention from the outside to the inside. Mindfulness Meditation starts from the inside but “listens” to the outside. It’s about being the observer. The goal here, as always, is to shift your attention from a superficial listening to a turning within. Think of Mindfulness Meditation like the experience of sitting beside the ocean and watching the waves crash upon the shore or like sitting on the side of the road and watching the cars go by. Observe. If you find yourself “driving” down the road in whatever it is that you’re observing then pull over, get out of the car, and resume being the observer.


Guided Meditation

Guided Meditation can be anything from a prayer or sermon to a hypnosis session, to even spiritual journeying. In guided meditation the practitioner is talked through an experience. You may go on a “inner vacation” where you find yourself sitting at your office desk while your mind is relaxing on a warm sandy beach or even or even visualizing, imagining, or thinking about your body exploding cancer cells and creating a high state of wellness within you. This form actively involves all your senses to have an experience. Interesting enough, our minds can’t tell the difference between what they think about and what happens in the “real” world.


There is a misconception by many that meditation has to be done in a specific way. Although every meditative tradition has a set of “rules” to follow that are helpful in helping the practitioner achieve a relaxed state there is no right or even wrong meditation. One can run in a meditative state, like the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei, sit in the classic lotus position like Buddha, Lie in repose like many Christian saints, or sit on your couch and listen to an imagery CD. What’s important is to find what works or you. It is the deep and centered state of active rest where the body is at ease and the mind finds clarity and calm that is most important. How you do it is up to you BUT doing it is what makes the difference.

Make it fun! Meditation at its best is something to look forward to! It’s a moment, whether it’s 3 minutes or 30 minutes, that’s all about you! Many people think they have to achieve a blank mind but in actuality that is far from the truth…this is a valid form of meditation so if that’s what you want then go for it! It is the act of sitting, being still, allowing, and opening up that creates the best meditations. Sometimes the mind can be very still and other times the mind can be very active. A restless mind can be a good thing because in the meditation the mind is being allowed to sift through and vent. As you practice you will begin to condition your mind to release stress worry and fear, however you do this know there is no right or wrong. The process is what changes everything.


Meditative Elitism

As someone who is a regular meditator I’ve run into prejudice from other meditators. When someone finds something that works for them there is a tendency to believe that they’ve found the “right way” to do it. And they have…for them. Some believe that true meditators achieve a floating like state and are separate from the world. Some would say that true skilled meditators are never angered. And yet others would say that practiced meditators are more alive than those who don’t meditate. One can meditate and become detached from the world and one can meditate and become integrated into the fiber of life. Both are valid. What is common between the renunciant and the modern city dweller is inner peace. This is the goal, creating inner peace and awareness. How you do it is up to you.

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