Meditate, Visualize and Create your own reality and the universe will simply reflect back to you. – Amit Ray
What is Visualization Meditation
It’s no secret that visualization can be an empowering tool to enhance consciousness and self-awareness and to focus the mind. As it involves a high degree of active involvement from the practitioner, it is often stated to be one of the most powerful tools available to effect personal change. Visualization is a healthy way of bringing positive energy into your mind, body and spirit, expanding your capacity for creativity. Meditation and visualization experiences will vary; it is best to let go of expectations and surrender to your own inner wisdom.
Visualization is a specific kind of meditation. Visualization is sometimes called mental imagery or mental rehearsal. It can take the form of a visual or kinesthetic view. If you are using a kinesthetic focus, you create in your mind the experience of doing something. You might feel the sensations in your body. You might experience the action and its consequences in great detail in your mind. If you are performing a simple visualization, you picture a setting, another person or a sequence of events — something outside yourself. Visualization can be both visual and kinesthetic. You can visualize yourself in a setting, experiencing the impact of that setting on your body and mind. You also can read more about what is meditation?
Visualization and Buddhism
The practice of Visualization is considered to be one of the most powerful meditative practices in the Buddhist tradition. Visualization practice produces a great deal of meditative concentration (Skt. Samadhi) and it also serves to purify unimaginable amounts of harmful karma.
Another practice found in Pure Land Buddhism is meditative contemplation and visualization of Amitābha Buddha, his attendant bodhisattvas, and the Pure Land. The basis of this is found in the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra (“Amitābha Meditation Sūtra”), in which the Buddha describes to Queen Vaidehi the practices of thirteen progressive visualization methods, corresponding to the attainment of various levels of rebirth in the Pure Land. Visualization practises for Amitābha are popular among esoteric Buddhist sects, such as Japanese Shingon Buddhism.
Tibetan monks use visualization as a meditative practice, in particular the mental and physical creation of mandalas.
Visualization and Daily Life
Everyone has experienced some kind of visualization in their lives. In fact, we visualize constantly, whether we are aware of the fact or not. This activity has an important place in the life of everyone. However, if we are doing this unconsciously, then chances are that we are living in a reactive way.
For example, professional athletes are known for using visualization to get ‘in the zone’ before a game. Basically, they are trying to see the action before it happens so they will be better prepared and confident once out on the field. In much the same way, visualization can be useful to you in your daily life by preparing you for a variety of upcoming situations
Though visualization is most commonly a subconscious mental process, it can bring real benefits if practiced as deliberate, guided and mindful activity. The greatest asset of it is helping you to get prepared for desired scenarios, as well as psychologically setting your mind on future success and efficacy.
I believe what we visualize affects our attitude, moods and state of mind. I mean that we have to be very careful with what enters our mind. Thoughts are visitors, but when the same kind of thoughts frequent the mind often, they become permanent residents. Do you accept and allow anyone to come and stay at your home? If you don’t, why do you let unwanted thoughts do that?
Visualization and Meditation Benefits
It has been discovered by several notable university studies, that visualization can physically impact your body. The body responds to the commands the mind gives it, and when you practice visualization on a regular basis you train your body to believe whatever it is you would like to change.
It improves your performance. “Everyone can use imagery to prepare for all kinds of situations, including public presentations and difficult interactions.” -Daniel Kadish, New York City psychologist
Professional athletes have practiced visualization techniques for decades, but mental imagery is also used by politicians, surgeons, musicians, and business executives to improve their performance.
It reduces stress. Visualization meditation is a form of relaxation. Many people use guided visualization for that very purpose: to relax and refuel, since there are a variety of physical health benefits to guided visualization. These include a lowering of blood pressure as well as the level of stress hormones in the blood. After quieting body and mind, these individuals feel full of energy and exceedingly relaxed. Refreshed, they are ready to face the challenges that await them.
It brings joy into your life. When my friend was angry at work, thinking about the beach made her happy. While she wasn’t actually on the beach, imagining herself in that moment—the ocean breeze blowing through her hair, the hot sand under her toes, a cold beer in her hand—brought her joy.
It increases focus. Anytime you’re sitting quietly and simply being one with yourself, you are improving your ability to focus. Why? Because you are no longer bound by the restrictions of your day. When you’ve faced your unnecessary thoughts, your mind is free to accommodate more important and pressing matters in your life.
It can spark inspiration. Constantly thinking about writing that book will increase your chances of actually doing it. The visuals could inspire a storyline that forces you to take action. Awaken higher levels of your creativity and potential. By weeding out the negative toxins in your mind, you have more freedom to explore things that will bring you more development and improvement.
It boosts confidence. As you imagine yourself doing the things you want to do, you naturally begin to be more confident and believe you are capable of achieving them.
If you’re sick, it can make you better faster. It sounds crazy, but if you visualize your body rebuilding itself, it will begin to respond. Sort of in the same way that a hypochondriac convinces himself that he is sick, a positive mental imagery can improve your health.
It makes you more creative. A good mental image is a detail-oriented picture that invigorates all the senses. What do you smell? What is the temperature outside? What does it taste like? The more vivid the visual, the stronger the results will be.
It can help you overcome nervousness. If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming speech, visualize yourself giving the best most memorable speech ever. Imagine yourself in a great dress and everyone applauding after you’re done. Visualization is a safe and easy way to combat nerves and anxiety.
Of course, different people have different goals and needs, and with that in mind, visualization meditations can be tailored to achieve specific outcomes such as:
• Improving clarity in life
• Spiritual development
• Improved problem solving abilities
• Experiencing elation, freedom and expanded awareness
• Emotional and physical healing
• A greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives
• Enhancing creativity
• Profoundly deep relaxation
• Increasing confidence and personal empowerment
• Opening the heart and healing relationships
• An openness to love and to higher guidance
• Curing negativity or self defeating behaviours
• Improving performance in business or sports
• Resolving psychological difficulties
and many others…
Powerful Visualization Techniques
You can use meditation visualization techniques to harness the energy of your imagination. To begin with you may find practicing your imagery or visualization for about 15 – 20 minutes a day initially to ensure that you’re learning to do it properly. Many people find it easiest to do in bed in the morning and at night before falling asleep, however as you become more experienced and comfortable with this meditation, you’ll be able to do it for just a few minutes at a time as required throughout the day.
Treasure Map Technique
Making a “treasure map” is a very powerful technique, and fun to do. A treasure map is an actual, physical picture of your desired reality.
To try this technique, you first need to think of something you would like to visualize and create a treasure map for a single goal or area of your life, so that you can be sure to include all the elements without getting too complicated. This enables the mind to focus on it more clearly and easily than if you include all your goals on one treasure map. You might want to do one treasure map for your relationships, one for your job, one for your spiritual growth, and so on.
Start by drawing physical representations of all of the factors involved. Make the drawings a detailed as possible. The important factor isn’t the drawings themselves, but what you are picturing as you draw them. Your mind will be visualizing the road to success the whole time you are drawing out your map. Be patient with this technique, as it will take time to become absorbed into the exercise. It will help to be in a quiet place, and turn off any distractions like a television or radio.
Another form of visualization is receptive visualization. This differs from guided visualization in that you are watching yourself in a disassociated way rather than doing something. Think of this technique as watching a movie in your head, only you control the scenes. This is a more passive approach than the previous one, but can be just as effective.
The beauty of receptive visualization is that when things start to go in a different direction from the way you want them, a simple thought can change everything. You are in complete control, and the more completely and often you visualize a situation, the more likely it will be to happen just the way you pictured it.
Again, it helps to be in a quiet place with no outside distractions. Lie back, close your eyes, and try to picture vividly the scene you want to visualize. After you get a clear image in your head, start to add people and noises to the ‘movie’. Slowly build the image until you have a whole picture of the scene and can really feel yourself being involved in the action.
Altered Memory Visualization
This technique is focused on changing past memories to have a more positive outcome. This form is especially useful in resolving past conflicts and calming anger.
In altered memory visualization, you can either be the image looking through your own eyes, or watch yourself from above, whichever you are most comfortable with. Replay the scene in your mind, only replace the angry responses with more calm and controlled ones. It will take time to recreate the scene, but commit to doing this several times over. After a while, your brain will only remember the scene playing out as you have re-created it, and the uncomfortable memories of the actual event will fade away.
Whether you choose to watch or participate, begin remembering the event you want to change the way it actually occurred. Try to recall all the sights, sounds and smells just as they were. When you reach an unpleasant point in your memory, you can rise above the moment in your imagination and direct yourself to react differently from the way you did- or direct the other person to do something different. With practice, you will be able to quickly shift your mental images to a more positive chain of events, and the feelings you formerly associated with your memories will lessen in their effect on you. Using altered memory visualization is a powerful tool for forgiveness, whether you direct it toward yourself or someone else.
Other Meditation Types
Walking meditation invites you to bring your attention to the act of walking the continual connection between you and the earth.
Kundalini Meditation contains specific, practical tools that carefully and precisely support the mind and guide the body through the use of breath, mantra, mudra, and focus.
Loving-kindness Meditation : Metta means ‘love’ (in a non-romantic sense), friendliness, or kindness: hence ‘loving-kindness’ for short. It is an emotion, something you feel in your heart. Bhavana means development or cultivation.
Morning Meditation: Need a great way to start your day? Take a few moments when you first wake up to set a direction for your day with morning meditation.