Although I have not been “formally” trained on meditation techniques, I stumbled upon this amazing gift from my sheer desire to restore inner peace and obtain direction from God.  My formula, based solely on my personal experience, led me to an active partnership with God.
After a failed attempt at trying to navigate and control my life, I realized that I was overwhelming myself with feelings of stress, anxiety and fear.  Fortunately, I had the wisdom to know that God could fulfill all of my needs, but what I lacked was the knowledge and understanding of how to obtain direction from Him.  I asked,  “God, how can You give me direction when I don’t know how to “hear” You?”  The key to my question was AWARENESS - found through meditation.
Meditation is essentially mental prayer, which is the work of the heart and will, rather than the work of the head.  I utilize meditation as a vehicle to God’s voice and vision.  I view it as homage to God - taking time to be still in His presence and allowing my soul to be elevated in spirit, and united with a higher power. This opened the door - revealing new ideas, opportunities and love - all of which I most likely would have disregarded otherwise.  Often the opportunities are missed because we are simply not paying attention, or if we do recognize them, we often lack the confidence to pursue the treasure God has placed before us.
Through meditation, I have been graced with an immeasurable and euphoric supply of peace, love, comfort, support, strength, confidence, focus and direction.  In essence, I finally discovered God’s voice, His vision, and the amazing Spirit of Jesus Christ.  His power, united with your action, activates the soul and spirit to be everything God designed you to be.
Please keep in mind - meditation is a process.  It is exercise for your soul and spirit.  Just as with anything in life, success is reached through patience, consistency and dedication.
Renovate your in+terior.  Make time, and discover God...
1. SPECIFY A TIME and PLACE that makes you feel most comfortable, relaxed and the least distracted.
+ I meditate first thing in the morning.  I want to unite my will, and plan with God before I start my day.  I want to set the stage for peace and God-given confidence in preparation for adversity that could come my way.
+ Adjust the temperature in the room accordingly, wrap yourself in a soft, warm blanket, drink a cup of coffee, tea, juice or water, light a candle to soften the setting.  This is when my interior design skills come into play - the idea is to invigorate all of your senses.  
+ Feel comfort.  Relax.  Breathe.
+ I have found that silence calms the mind, freeing myself from my own thoughts.
+ This is why I wake up before anyone else in my home.  I may sacrifice sleep, but the reward is greater.
+ ADDRESS GOD and open up the line of communication.  Invite God to play an active role in your life.
+ I was raised Catholic so I address the Holy Spirit.  I want to be certain that I am seeking the advice of Jesus - a positive, loving and nurturing Spirit.  
+ I begin by saying the following prayer:
Oh, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You.  Enlighten me, guide me, console me and strengthen me.  Give to me all of Your orders.  I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and accept all that You permit to happen to me.  Please let me know Your will.  Amen.
+ Jesus promised us that He would send forth His Spirit - to guide and guard us.  Hello, this is it! Utilize Him!
4. EMPTY YOUR MIND.  Give it all to God.
+ In my opinion, God is not about formality.  I address God just as I do when I am confiding in my best friend.  I don’t try to impress Him with a different tone or manner of speech, swift words, Bible verses or redundant prayers. I am simply myself, in the presence of God.
+ Release all of your thoughts, fears, concerns, questions and special intentions into the hands of God.  Do not hide anything.  How can God help you if it is not offered to Him?  When I have impure thoughts I do not feel shame because I am only human!  I acknowledge them and, I bring them to God so He can guide me and provide a solution.  Although I know His answer may not be what I want to hear, I value and respect His opinion.  Most importantly, I follow His advice knowing He has my best interest at heart.
+ Dismiss feelings of resentment, jealousy, pride, frustration and anger.  Negative emotions create negative energy - these feelings fight against clarity and peace - which in turn interferes with the reception of spiritual direction.  Ask God to assist you in removing these emotions.  You can either give them power by playing into them, or you can diminish the negative energy by releasing them.
+ Do not let your circumstances overcome you.  Choose to overcome your circumstances.
+ Be still in mind and body.  Just be.
+ I often visualize my mind as a tank.  I pull a plug, and it drains out all of my thoughts.  It is left clean, empty and clear.  I am now open and ready to receive new ideas and direction from God.
+ Focus on something peaceful.  It prevents my mind from being distracted by my own thoughts.
+ My focus is the Handbook of Devotion to Divine Mercy from revelations given to Saint Faustina.  On the cover, there is a beautiful image of Jesus.  Jesus is my surrender to God.  I meditate on His eyes because through them I see love, compassion and honesty. His image is my reminder that I am not alone, that He is with me in Spirit, and together we will work as a team.  Trust in Him is required at all times, and it is critical in order to reach success.  This is when I repeat my mantra, “Jesus, I trust in You.” and “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  I often visualize myself being blind, walking through life in confidence, knowing that Jesus is guiding me safely to my destination.
+ Total dependence on God, and God alone - this MUST be your main goal and objective in order for everything else to follow and flow into place.
+ Mantra.  man=mind, trai=protect
+ I believe temptations in life cloud our true desires and interfere with our line of communication to God.  Completely abandon your “self,” and surrender to God’s way.
+ For example, I communicate in this manner, “God, please PLANT my true desires in my heart.  Please give me what I NEED, not what I want.  Show me what I am looking for.  I want to fulfill my purpose in life.  Utilize me to Your greatest advantage.”  This creates an opening for me to receive.  I found that my solutions/ideas were typically far from what God would show me.  What relief I feel when I realize how different (and, not in a good way) situations would have turned out if I had not followed God’s advice.
+ Do not try to force anything!  
+ Let the energy flow to you, and allow it to carry you.
+ I ask, “Jesus, please infuse me with Your knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  Teach me to listen and trust in God just as You did.”

+ I purchased 90 Days with Jesus, by Beth Moore.  It is a very simple and friendly Bible study.  It was a great exercise in guiding me into the natural flow of writing, and it directed my heart to the word of God, and His teachings.

+ I write in my persoanl journal after I centered myself with God.
+ In my experience, I found that a thought, not of my own, or as most people would classify as “out of the blue” can be the “voice” of God/Jesus.  I gain confidence in the communication when I know that nothing has triggered that thought, and the communication is positive, does not cause harm, and it suggests respect towards others and myself.  Often, I feel a uniquely strong interior urging following a communication.  I recognize this to be the Holy Spirit giving me confirmation to follow and explore what has been revealed to me.
+ The communications that I believe are from God/Jesus are spoken to my heart calmly and peacefully, yet it has an authoritative tone that is not in any way overbearing.  The communications can vary in length and form (one word, a phrase, dreams, art, music, is unlimited).  An example would be when I asked God, “What is my purpose in life?  How can I help You?”  His response to me, which was not immediate, was one word, “Write.”  I repeatedly questioned His direction. I am an interior designer, I had never written anything that consisted of substance, I struggle with grammar, and I have never had even an inkling of desire to “write.”  As if that was not enough, I had absolutely no idea what I was suppose to even write about.  Although I doubted my own ability to fulfill His request, I prayed consistently about my purpose, and I asked Jesus to assist me in following God’s direction.  I was, and still am, determined to be all that God designed me to be .  One morning, I asked Jesus again for His assistance, and I waited patiently in silence.  From “out of the blue,” I heard Jesus speak to my heart, “You are to journal our journey.”  From that day forward, I began recording the details of my spiritual experiences.  I considered it to be an experiment - me documenting my experience of complete surrender, and trust in God, and the results (or, lack thereof) that followed. What is the reality of spirituality?  Where will God take me?
+ If you “hear” negative comments, don’t fall into the trap of believing them.  Even when we need to improve on certain areas of our life, I find that God uses positive reinforcement.  Practice discernment carefully and consistently.  It is so easy to fall into the trap of believing lies, especially when you are having a challenging day.  An “opposer” (whether real or in the mind) wants to derail a competitor and eliminate the competition. This only tells me I am getting closer to reaching success!
+ I continually ask Jesus to help me discern His voice and to guide my thoughts to His direction. I also pray about the advice/direction that I believe to be from God.  I ask God to continue to show me that I am on His path.
+ I have found that following God is similar to playing a game of “Clue.” You must pay attention to the details, explore every avenue of the meaning of a word or idea that is presented to you, meet people with an OPEN MIND - accepting everyone for their unique individuality.  Master what you are being taught before you advance. It is one step at a time.
+ Time and persistence. Time and persistence. Nurture your will with those two words.  I hear the Holy Spirit advise me, “This is not about speed, it’s about distance.”
+ Keep a notebook in front of you when you meditate. Write down thoughts, feelings, an idea, dreams/visions that come to you, and pay attention!
+ Again, pray continuously about the direction given to you, and use your wisdom to discern if it is in line with God’s will.
8. ACT.
When you know your heart is in line with God’s will, act accordingly.  Follow His direction, and enjoy the experience.
+ God can prompt you all day and place opportunities in front of you, but it is your responsibility to take action in order to succeed.  God + Your Action = Results
+ Acting in faith may feel frightening, but in the end, the result is astounding!
+ I believe that having a relationship with God is no different than being in a relationship with a spouse or friend. It takes work.  You must exercise God in your life if you want to succeed in ALL areas of life.
+ I began to recognize “feelings” when I would meditate.  These feelings would come upon me after a thought/message/idea/direction was presented to me, or as I would dig deep into trying to understand the meaning of a message. The feeling is so overwhelmingly beautiful and euphoric that it simply can’t be described by words.  I also recognized that “message + feeling” created a consistent pattern.  I realized the significance of the “feeling” was also in the timing.  
+ Thought/Direction + Feeling = Spirit
+ This is a means of communication.  It is Jesus sending forth His Spirit (just as He promised).  This feeling is sent to us to show us love, to feel love, to feel peace, to feel encouragement, to earn His trust and move forward with the direction He presents.
+ Examples of feelings: I get a chill (when I am not the least bit cold), followed by goose bumps.  A rush of euphoric energy and love that is so large it overwhelms you with joy.  These feelings are so STRONG that I can only equate it to the strength of God.
Q. How do you know if you are meditating properly?
If the results you experience are positive and overwhelmingly beautiful you have reached success.  If not, keep trying, and don’t give up.  Discover your way to God.
Additional Suggestions:
+ ”In order to live your life differently, you must DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.”
+ Practice forms habits. They can improve your life or derail your life.
+ Take the “problem” out of a problem. View it as a challenge.  Embrace the situation so it does not fight against your inner peace, which reduces clarity and creates anxiety.  A challenge is an obstacle that can be overcome.  Learn from the experience.
+ Thank God for challenges.  I really had to practice this one!!!  By thanking God, you are removing the negative energy and reducing the power it has over you.  Make an offering to God by asking for His assistance in finding a solution.
+ In times of stress and anxiety, I find my thoughts dwelling on the past (regrets) or worrying about the future (fearing what may or may not come).  I would also continually THINK about a “problem,” which only fueled me with negative energy.  I had to really practice staying in the moment and living in today.
+ When I have thoughts of doubt and fear, I immediately turn that feeling around by forcing my thoughts to believe otherwise.  I repeat my mantra, “Jesus, I trust in You.” until my peace is restored.  I love knowing that I do not have to fight battles alone.
+ You can’t change people, but you can change yourself.  Be an inspiration to others.
+ Embrace diversity!  Why do we allow diversity to create adversity?!
+ “The “perfect” person is never perfect. Perfection lies in perception.”
+ Our sight is short.  Go beyond what meets the eye.  I am intrigued with the mystery of spirituality!
+ Love and embrace life - it is short, and you only have one chance.