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How to create a guided meditation

Last Updated:
July 10, 2021
by
Hunter Varnum

In this article, we are going to discuss how to create a guided meditation. Specifically, we are going to cover how to conceptualize, structure, write & deliver a guided meditation to your audience.

Whether you want to create meditation audios, lead live guided meditations with 1-on-1 clients, integrate guided meditations into workshops, lead meditation classes, or create a meditation for a loved one, knowing how to make your own guided meditations is an incredibly dynamic & valuable skill set to facilitate healing & change.

Our focus will be on the common core principles & concepts that will assist you in your creative process to craft the most effective meditation experiences possible, no matter the application.

So, let’s dive in…

Choosing a Desired Outcome for Your Guided Meditation

To understand how to make a guided meditation, it’s important to first understand the distinct difference between guided meditation & meditation/mindfulness in general.

Most meditation teacher trainings on the market teach the process of how to “teach” others how to meditate, but knowing how to create a guided meditation is something else entirely.

Because guided meditation is, as the name suggests, “guided”, it’s important to understand that each meditation you create needs to have a specific purpose or desired outcome.

This desired outcome can be as broad as facilitating a physiological & psychological state of calm or as targeted as helping someone overcome their fear of public speaking.

Whatever the case, it’s necessary that you have a clear picture of where & why you want to guide the participants of the meditation you plan to create.

This concept will act as a guiding principle for every word you write and how you deliver each word when recording or facilitating your meditation.

Keeping a unifying purpose top of mind throughout the creative process will keep you focused & help you to write meditations that are maximally effective at facilitating deep healing & transformation for your meditation participants.

The desired outcome will also dictate the length & elements (guided imagery, insight-provoking questions, etc.) necessary to facilitate such a transformation, so taking the time to get extra clear on exactly why you are about to write your meditation is an essential first step on your creative journey.

Basic Guided Meditation Structure

No matter what sort of meditation you plan to create, there is a fundamental structure that all effective meditations follow.

In The Guided Meditation Framework, we call this the “Bookend Structure”.

The Bookend Structure consists of three sequential parts: The Beginning Bookend, The Middle of the Meditation & The Ending Bookend, each with their own specific purpose, which I’ve outlined below.

The Beginning Bookend

The Beginning Bookend’s purpose is to transition a person from a waking state to a meditative state. This is achieved by guiding your participants to focus on engaging in slow-focused breathing & progressively relaxing various points of tension in their bodies. This is the most important part of a guided meditation, because it creates the physiological state necessary for your participants to fully engage & benefit from the experience, so it’s vital not to rush the Beginning Bookend.

The Middle of the Meditation

The Middle of the Meditation’s purpose is to facilitate the desired transformation you have chosen for your experience. After shifting your participants’ focus & physiology into a meditative state, the Middle of the Meditation is where you guide your participants into their hearts and/or imagination to provoke insight or facilitate the positive change there to enjoy. This part of the meditation is where your creativity combines with the practical application of your meditation to create a uniquely healing & transformative experience.

The Ending Bookend

The Ending Bookend’s purpose is to transition your participant back from a meditative state to a state of waking consciousness. This is achieved by gradually bringing your participants back into their bodies, focusing on various focal points starting from the feet & working your way up to the head, until they eventually open their eyes to conclude the experience. This part of a meditation is very important, because taking someone out of a meditation abruptly can be detrimental to the effectiveness of a guided meditation & even startle your participants to the point of negating any benefit received in the Middle of the Meditation.

To better conceptualize how to apply this framework when writing meditations, you’ll want to think of the Beginning & Ending Bookend as constants, with the Middle of the Meditation being the variable that gives each meditation its unique characteristics & focus. 

That way, you’ll have a repeatable system to bring people in & out of a meditative state effectively that you can become familiar with, so you can save your creative energy on how to facilitate your unique desired outcomes in the middle portion of each meditation.

How to Write a Meditation Script

Before attempting to write your own meditation script it’s important that you have substantial experience & education on leading guided meditations. Experience utilizing proven scripts & frameworks and having guided meditations before will give you the understanding you need to write an effective script.

Assuming that you’ve completed a meditation facilitator training or have adequate experience leading guided meditations already, here is a simple process to write impactful meditation scripts:

Step 1: Pick the desired outcome for your meditation

As previously mentioned, the first step of creating a guided meditation script is to choose the destination you’ll be guiding your participants to in the first place. Picking a specific purpose or desired outcome for the meditation will act as your guiding principle for each word you choose, whether or not you decide to utilize guided imagery, and how long your meditation should be to facilitate the transformation.

Step 2: Choose a central transformation catalyst

Once you’ve picked the desired outcome, the next step is to figure out the mechanism that can inspire your participants to potentially realize that desired outcome during the Middle of the Meditation.

Here are 3 examples of transformation catalysts to center the experience around:

  1. A deep & relevant question for your participants to explore while in a meditative state (e.g. “What am I tolerating?”) 
  2. Guided imagery that culminates in a meeting with a “character” who delivers a message to them (e.g. future self, inner child, loved one, etc.)
  3. A scenario that facilitates a shift in perspective enabling them to see a situation from a more beneficial vantage point (e.g. Imagining delivering a speech & the crowd applauding – for someone struggling with fear of public speaking)

While there are limitless ways to approach this central catalyst, what’s important is that this mechanism is appropriately calibrated for the purpose, application & audience of your guided meditation.

This catalyst will act as the pinnacle of the guided meditation experience – the point at which the value of the guided meditation is actualized in the hearts & minds of your participants.

Once you’ve got this figured out, it’s time to write a meditation script centered around delivering this key element to your participants.

Step 3: Write your meditation script

Assuming you’ve written the Beginning & Ending Bookend portions of your meditation script previously mentioned, the next step is to write the Middle of the Meditation. 

The purpose of the middle of the script is to facilitate the desired outcome you’ve chosen & the mechanism to achieve that goal is the catalyzing element you chose in the previous step.

So, after the completion of the Beginning Bookend (i.e. the progressive relaxation), your goal is to guide your participants to the specific question, into the scene or through whatever process that will ultimately realize the specific benefit of the experience.

Here are some tips when writing your own meditation script:

  1. Less is more. Use a few words as possible to achieve your goal
  2. If you use guided imagery, realize that the speed of the imagination is instant. Only describe what you want your audience to experience in that exact moment (i.e. If you mention a cabin off in the distance, your participants will instantly travel there, they won’t wait for you to walk them there through the imagery)
  3. Model scripts & meditations you enjoy. When you’re new to creating guided meditations, examples are critical to getting started down the right path. Find script examples similar to what you’re trying to create & use them to help you structure your meditation script effectively

Step 4: Record & Listen to Your Meditation Script

Once your script is written, the next step is to test your guided meditation for yourself. To do this, make a simple recording using your phone, then listen to it as you would if you were a participant.

Here are a few things to listen for when testing your meditation script:

  • Listen & make note of where you are talking too much, and edit the script down as much as possible until only the most essential words & phrases are left
  • Find sticking points in the imagery where there is friction between what you are imagining & what your script is asking you to imagine, then edit the script to be more congruent with the language of the imagination
  • Listen to your timing & make notes on where you should pause to allow more time for your participants to engage in the experiences

Once you’ve listened to your meditation 2 or 3 times & identified the aspects that you could improve, it’s time to make your revisions & finalize your meditation script.

Step 5: Revise & Finalize Your Meditation

Building upon the insights from the previous step, you’ll want to edit your script down & place it into a more final format that will make recording or utilizing the meditation script easier.

Once you’ve taken out the unnecessary language & fine-tuned any conflicts you experienced with the guided imagery, I would suggest you integrate some timing notation into the script to help you keep proper timing.

You can do this by placing characters at the end of specific phrases or directions that indicate the amount of time you decide is appropriate.

In The Guided Meditation Framework, we use one tilde (~) to indicate a half-cycle of breath, two tildes (~~) to indicate a full cycle of breath & three tildes (~~~) to indicate pauses for longer than a cycle of breath, typically for moments in the meditation where contemplation, imagination or deeper relaxation is called for in the script.

Adding timing notation measured in lengths of breath will help you deliver at a synergistic pace & assist you not to rush when the nerves of recording or performing a guided meditation inevitably creep up on you.

Once you’ve added the timing, convert your script to whatever format will be most comfortable for you to read. I suggest using Google Docs, as you can access your script & print it from any device. Also, should you want to read your script from your phone, Google Docs seamlessly optimize their scale on mobile devices for easy reading on any sized screen.

Choosing a Meditation Medium

Now that you’ve created a meditation, the next step is to get it out there for people to experience & benefit from. While I won’t be able to give you a full roadmap to building a meditation business in this blog, here are few tips & considerations for choosing a method of delivery:

Meditation Classes or Workshops

Leading a meditation class or creating a workshop is a great reason to make your own guided meditations. Because you can tailor your script to specific topics & outcomes, guided meditations can act as powerful catalysts for change to focus the entire experience around or to integrate into a larger workshop framework.

Classes & workshops are also fantastic introductory offers to nurture your audience into potential clients for higher ticket offers or 1-on-1 sessions.

Meditation Audios or Videos

Creating meditation audios or videos is another great way to utilize your meditation script. Meditation recordings can be delivered to participants of a workshop or 1-on-1 clients to deliver value between sessions or after a workshop is complete.

Meditation audios can be incorporated into an online course to help your students engage more deeply with your content & also can be repurposed into videos to increase your visibility on YouTube or other social platforms.

For more information on this, check out my articles on the best way to record a meditation & how to create a meditation video.

One-on-One

If you already work with clients 1-on-1 or plan to become a meditation coach, creating guided meditation experiences for your clients is one of the most effective ways you can utilize this skill set.

Custom tailoring your meditation script to address the specific needs of your client, in the moment during a session or in between/after a session as a meditation audio, is a powerful way to support your client’s progress.

I hope this article has been valuable & given you a clearer idea of how to create a guided meditation. If you’d like more help on this, feel free to check out our guided meditation facilitator training to see if our professional training could assist you in your growth as a meditation leader.

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