If you're looking for a technique to induce a meditative state then look no further than visualization!
In daily life most people are not very receptive. Our energy and thoughts are too reactive, which makes transformation a challenge. But when we take the time to relax by settling into a comfortable position we can begin a process of positive suggestion via visualization, which the body, mind and spirit receive effortlessly.
The power of suggestion is as Shri Brahmananda Sarasvti puts it, "the underlying and fundamental cause of all mental phenomena... The whole universe is nothing but suggestion. We are constantly moving every moment by our suggestion. First we think, then we do. First we plan, then we accomplish that plan".
All visualization practices stimulate the cerebral cortex, the area of the body that integrates sights and sounds with attention, memory and language. The more you practice visualization the better this area of the brain gets at creating intense and vivid realities. It doesn't matter what you visualize, but to be clear certain techniques are more calming and therefore more effective.
Some might say that visualization practices, positive suggestion (mantra) and the like are not meditation. I agree with this in that a single bicep curl doesn't represent overall physical fitness. To be fit one must be resolved to do all of the work necessary for the whole body and mind to be strong, versatile, balanced and healthy without weaknesses or illnesses. To this regard any technique that helps build your resolve will get you closer to meditation and mental fitness.
Try the following Opposing Sensations visualization practice if you're looking to increase creativity and encourage compassion. Prepare by settling into a comfortable seat, or lie down in shavasana if you're practicing Yoga Nidra:
Relax and become aware of sounds in the distance, your body's temperature, position, heart rate and breath.
Set a resolve for your practice; positivity, self-realization, anger management, patience, etc.
Take a few moments for a body scan from top to bottom and back up.
Become aware of opposing sensations; hot and cold, heaviness and lightness, pain and pleasure, sweet and sour, spaciousness and tightness, softness and sharpness.
Continue with the visualization of opposing sensations by adding vivid detail. Think of foods that are super sweet versus foods that are super sour. Become aware of how your body feels as you visualize the sensations. It's not unusual to sweat when you think of hot conditions and have goose bumps rise when you think of being cold. Adding emotions like happiness and sadness, playfulness and seriousness, being bored and being inspired will help you maintain visualization practices for 30 minutes or more!
This blog is part of a 4-part series focusing on meditation. Check out previous posts, Are You Ready to Meditate, (posted 5/14/2020) and The Psychic Passage (posted 6/1/2020) to begin your meditation journey. Consider Private Online Sessions from CecilysYogaRetreats.com if you're interested in achieving a committed meditation practice.
Cecily Guest is a veteran Yoga and Fitness instructor focusing on wellness practices, functional conditioning, and meditation.
Review Testimonials on her website, CecilysYogaRetreats.com and follow her on social media as Yogi Cecily.