A friend of mine has been a frequent member a shamanic journeying group for a long time now, and has always spoke so highly of her experiences; how powerful and emotional her journeys are. I'd really love to experience it myself, so I asked her what I could do to begin. She gave me some drum recordings to listen to, and also some advice on various steps that could be taken in order to start my journey.
I've attempted several times now using various techniques, but sadly nothing seems to work. I lay down motionlessly on my bed (I can't seem to concentrate the same when I'm lying on the floor or sitting up), take a deep breath, think about my intention (to find a guide in the lower world), then close my eyes and listen to the drumming. I listen to the constant rhythm and use it to clear my mind of all mental chatter, before repeating my intention in my head. I try to visualize an opening in the earth, such as a cave or a hole of some sort, and make my way down with my intention echoing in my mind... but after that, nothing more seems to happen. It's as if something is blocking the way, or I'm lacking some sort of connection. I don't feel or see anything out of the ordinary, nor do I feel the drumming have any direct effect on me other than clearing my head... my mind is just locked in a loop when trying to enter the opening. I'm either stuck traveling down an endless tunnel with no apparent exit, or continuously being placed back "outside" the opening.
This happens for about 20 - 25 minutes, at which point I often give up and start to feel really upset with my failure and how much I feel trapped. Much unlike this friend of mine (who has always been a wonderfully-gifted natural in these areas), I've had no previous meditation experience, and there are no groups anywhere nearby for me to join, so finding help is becoming increasingly difficult. When I ask my friend for more advice, she seems bewildered by my lack of success and doesn't know how to help any more... although she strongly believes that, having known me for so long, I lack the ability to visualize properly.
Am I simply lacking too much previous meditation experience? And if so, what do I do to practice it? I hope this isn't an uncommon problem... it would mean so much to me if someone could offer any sort of advice!