Is Guided Meditation Less Effective Than Unguided Meditation?

Is Guided Meditation Less Effective Than Unguided Meditation?

When I first learned to meditate, it was through guided meditation.

Like many others, I was told that the Guided meditations were just baby steps to more advanced unguided Meditation.

But is that true? Is Guided Meditation really less effective than unguided Meditation?

No evidence or research has ever suggested guided Meditation is less effective than unguided Meditation. Their effectiveness is the same.

Some beginning practitioners of Meditation start with guided Meditation and then move on to unguided Meditation as their skills and comfort level progresses.

While others, “myself included,” can easily switch between the two types of Meditation based on their preference and practice.

If Both Forms Of Meditation Are Equal, Which One Is Best For Me?

Since you now know that there is no better option between the two. You’re going to have to choose what works best for you.

New students to Meditation often begin with guided Meditation and then move onto unguided Meditation as their comfort level increases.

What’s cool about guided Meditation in modern times is that we can now experience it through online apps or even a zoom like online conference meditation led by a local practitioner.

So you have options.

But the option you choose depends on how long you’ve practiced.

If You’re New To The Practice Guided Meditation Is The Best Place To Start 

Chances are that if you’re reading this article, you are new to Meditation. If that’s the case you should begin with Guided Meditation. 

And here’s why. 

A Structured MethodA well-put-together meditation will take you through an entire meditation session without missing a step, so you get all the benefits every time.  
Solid FundamentalsBecause you are learning the proper technique from the beginning, it will serve as a good foundation when you advance in your practice.
Guided Meditations are TimedAre you trying to meditate around a super busy schedule? With Guided meditations, you know exactly how long you will be, and you can plan your time accordingly. 
They Can help you Keep a Consistent Practice GoingSuccess in any new practice requires repetition, and the key to repetition is making it a habit. And with guided meditations, you can make a habit on autopilot.
Guided meditations build Comfort and ConfidenceYou don’t have to worry about am I doing it right; just follow your guide. Even when you don’t feel like doing it or your energy is low, it won’t matter. Just follow your guide, and you will do fine.
You can also try out different meditation techniques.What if you were doing some digging on the web and found a method you really want to try? I can just about promise you that there are guided meditations or even a full-blown course that will teach you as a beginner.
You have access to a variety of InstructorsIf the sound of your guide’s voice or mannerism feels like fingernails on a chalkboard, you do have the freedom to find a new instructor. You are never stuck with just one person.

Guided Meditation As A Network The Power Of Group Work

Many new meditators find the support of a guided meditation class, whether in person or online, immensely helpful.

This is for 2 reasons—first the instructors, and secondly the group.

It’s been my experience that Instructors who lead groups are more knowledgeable on the little nuances that can help make your practice successful.

Your instructor can give you the fundamentals of their meditation practice and help you overcome common problems or sticking points that will surface during your meditation practice.

But just as necessary are the connections you can make with your fellow students. And the first thing you will learn from them is that you are not alone as a newbie.

Your fellow classmates will have frustrations, too, that will sound a lot like the ones you may be experiencing at the time.

Guided meditation courses in person or online can be an essential place for beginners to meet other people trying to get into the same headspace.

You can also make new friends based on what you are learning and experiencing.

Meditating with others in classes or online can and will increase the intensity of your Meditation.

Whenever you have 3 or more people meditating together, there is always more energy in the room than the number of people present.

It is the sum of all people together that makes a powerful but albeit temporary bond.

And as you all experience this bond in your own way, it can inspire you by taking you deeper into your inner self than you thought possible.

Tapping new depths within yourself is the most powerful type of motivation to keep on with your practice.

How Do You Know When It’s Time To Move To Unguided Meditation?

The most obvious sign is that you will start to feel restricted by the guided method.

If you get to a point where you’re starting to feel impatient with your guided recordings, or you’re finding shortcuts to do it faster. Your guide is on step 2, and you’re already moving into step 4.

It may be time for you to meditate on your own because the structure you once enjoyed is now too rigid.

Or maybe because of your meditation practice, your life is picking up some, and you’re finding yourself in a better work situation or a better living situation, etc.…

But even a good change is still a life change. And your structured meditation practice may need to be adjusted.

These are all signs that you may want to move on to a more free-flowing unaided meditation practice.

Use Your Guided Meditations As Refreshers

I have had a series of Guided meditation courses I do once or twice a year since 2011.

And every time I run through the course, it reinforces everything I’ve learned so far and helps me recall the bits I forgot with time.

And I feel my comfort level increase to the point that when I now do my refresher, it’s a game as to how deep I can go.

Remember, practice is your friend.

Both Forms Of Meditations Belong In Your Tool Kit

If my bias is not clear by now, let me make it plain.

When you are a beginner, the wisest action you can take is Guided Meditation for all the reasons I mentioned above.

But there will come a time where your practice will feel stifled. Either because it’s not fast enough or you need more free time with your subconscious or the guide’s work is no longer serving your needs.

You may want to branch out on your own, which is an entirely natural progression in those cases. But don’t toss your Guided meditations out the window.

Now you can use them as a training camp routine. Because now you have something to gauge your own progress against.

Related Questions

How long should a Meditation Session be?

You should meditate no more than 10 minutes three times a day or 15 minutes twice a day as a beginner. You will know when it is time to add more time because your time will feel it went by too fast.

Should you go to sleep with a Guided Meditation?

Yes! In fact, you should play on repeat the entire night if you can.

Is Guided Meditation the same as Hypnosis? 

They are very similar.

It’s like different rooms in the same house. And they both take you into the Theta-Delta Brain wave range. But with Hypnosis, there is always a plan.

What is the best type of Guided Meditation? 

The practitioner should know how to project their voice in a pleasant tone and proper tempo. 

The exercises should be slow enough for the beginner to keep up.  There should be more than one recording; it should preferably be a full course. 

Recordings should be no more than 25 minutes long. Audio technology like Binaural beats is a big plus.

Recent Posts