Meditation: Practices for Visualisation
Many kriya yoga and meditational practices require mental visualisation; this is the ability to create mental images at will. Without this skill the practices have less impact and fail to yield their highest fruits. Although not all kriya yoga and meditational techniques require mental visualisation, most of them do in one form or another, so it is necessary for future practices to develop this important skill. For this reason, throughout the rest of this book we will describe various practices enabling the reader to gain competence in mental visualisation. Often meditational practices are taught to people who do not have the capability to visualise. Because they lack the necessary preliminary skill to gain the benefits their meditational practices become superfluous. Everyone has the ability to create mental images of objects at will, but like many of our powers it remains dormant. A few people do develop this power of inner visualisation, but they are generally people who must integrate it in their work, such as artists. Most of us spend our lives totally absorbed in the outside world and neglect our inner environment. It is only when we spend some time introspecting that we can develop our vastly untapped potential, including the faculty of mental visualisation. Because this subject is so very important, we therefore ask you to spend a few minutes every day practising inner visualisation, beginning with the technique we will introduce you to in this lesson. At first you may find the practice a little difficult. This is to be expected, for as we have already explained most people have unfortunately neglected this aspect of the mind, but with perseverance you will achieve success. At first it seems impossible that a baby will eventually walk and run with sureness and steadiness when one sees him make his first few valiant, but faltering, attempts to stand up. Though the mother and father may despair, the baby does not, because of this success is attained. It is the same with our efforts to develop the ability to create inner images at will. If you despair then you will defeat yourself before even starting. Be undeterred and determined like a baby. You cannot fail to accomplish your goal.
RECALL BY REVISUALISATION
This technique is primarily intended to develop the ability to recall past events and to recreate them visually. Everyone remembers past events; in fact the mind is continually bombard- ed by them, especially highly unpleasant or pleasant ones. However, this process of remembering is generally imposed upon us; it occurs spontaneously and happens without conscious effort. Further, we rarely relive the past in the form of images, but generally in the form of thoughts and feelings. This practice requires conscious effort to recall specific past events in the form of mental images. One tries to watch a past event as though watching a television screen.
Time and place
This technique can be performed in almost any place and at any time. However, the atmosphere should be quiet and conducive to introspection. Furthermore, it should be such a time when you are not busy carrying out some form of work. For example, don't try to do this practice if you are driving your car down the main street.
If you are sitting in a bus or a train or if you are a passenger in a car then you can practise it. In other words, practise in any situation where your mind is unoccupied with the affairs of the world.
You can create your own technique for there are endless possibilities.Each time you practice this method choose a new situation to recall and revisualises. The following are a few suggestions:
Remember a walk which you took recently beside the river. You are alone.
Keeping your eyes closed, try to mentally create the scenery that you saw.
Visualise in front of your closed eyes the river and the footpath, the trees and the grass, the fish and the birds.
As you walk try to see all these objects pass
Create the picture as vividly as you can and as close as possible to the scenery that you actually encountered.
View the scene as a whole but also try to discern the individual objects: the branches of the trees, the expressions on the faces of the people you met coming in the opposite direction.
Recall, visualise and relive every detail.
Imagine that you are driving your car or riding your cycle to a friend's house. Visualise the route and the cars that you overtake or meet. See the pedestrians, the colour of the sky and feel the sunshine warming your body. Visualise as closely as possible every detail as you actually
If you are reading a book, close your eyes and try to see a clear picture of the situation and environment that the book is attempting to
describe and convey to you.
Sit quietly in a room and study the furniture and objects around you. Observe carefully, trying to see the positioning and nature of
Then close your eyes and visualise the outer environment in as much detail as you can remember.
As we have pointed out, there is no end to the scenes that you can recreate - the only limit is your inventiveness. We emphasise again that these practices may be a little difficult in the beginning, but they will become easier and easier as you open up your inner faculties. These practices will also develop your memory power as well as increase your awareness and sensitivity to your surroundings. Most people walk around with their eyes closed, with little awareness of what is happening around them, until they suddenly come into conflict with the environment, when they are forced to become alert. If we were asked to remember what we had seen on our journey home from work, for example, how many of us could give a comprehensive description? Not many. This practice develops awareness of our surroundings. But remember, the important purpose of this technique is to unfold your capacity to create mental images and to dispose of them at will.