Your spiritual work will be greatly improved if you know how to meditate and visualise properly.
Meditation lowers our brainwave activity so that our mental chatter subsides, and we are better able to relax. This means that we learn to lower our brainwave activity to the Alpha state of 8-12 cps, and later to the Theta state of 4-7 cps. This allows us to bypass our normal thinking and opens the doors to our subconscious minds.
There are a number of steps you need to follow:
Start with a mental relaxation exercise
- The first is to learn to relax your body and remove all distractions. Ensure that you are alone, dim any lights and play soft, background music. Then begin the mental relaxation exercise
- Sit quietly, comfortably and then begin to notice your breathing. Keep it regular. Now close your eyes and imagine a wave of peace slowly moving up from your feet, through the muscles of your ankles and legs, into your hips, over your chest and up your back
- At the same time, begin to empty your mind of all thoughts until it is completely quiet. Do not use your will‑power to hold back or forcibly remove distracting thoughts, as this only creates a new set of inner tensions
- Merely allow all your thoughts to gently pass in and out of your mind without giving them any attention. Simply allow your thinking to slow down until your brain is just ‘ticking over’ without any real conscious activity taking place.
- Now continue to focus on your breathing as well as the feeling as the ‘wave’ passes through each muscle, limb or organ. Finally, allow the feeling to pass up your neck and out the top of your head
Do this three times. At the end of the exercise, your mind should be at peace and you should experience a feeling of total relaxation.
Getting into the Alpha brainwave state
The next stage is to consciously be able to induce the Alpha state of consciousness.
- Close your eyes again and begin to relax by focussing all your attention on your breathing. This takes your mind away from thinking and is the same exercise you did to improve your mindfulness.
- Breathe to a count of one to five. Focus on nothing else but the counting (either aloud or in your mind). Breathe in 1,2,3,4,5 hold your breath, 1,2,3,4, 5 breathe out, 1,2,3,4,5 hold your breath, 1,2,3,4,5 breathe in, 1,2,3,4,5 and so on.
- During this breathing try to keep your mind clear of thoughts, but do not try too hard. Meditation is a process of ‘letting go’ rather than forcing your mind to be quiet. Practise this exercise until you can keep your mind quiet for at least twenty seconds. This is the Alpha state of total mental relaxation.
Entering into meditation
- Now with your eyes still closed, move your focus away from your body, especially from your hands and feet, until you are no longer consciously aware of them. If you feel stressed at all it means you are trying too hard. Begin again and start over. Meditation is a very gentle process.
- Next, with your eyes still closed, open your senses and try to be mindful of everything around you, but without actually thinking. Shift your attention to your sense of smell and try to detect scents in the room, such as flowers or burning candles. Now change your focus to your hearing and listen more acutely for any noises in the room and outside, such as insect or animal sounds. Do not focus on your body or open your eyes, as this will distract you. Above all, do not be afraid, as you are only working with your own mind.
- After a while, let go of all effort and become mindful of cues such as sensations, feelings or impressions. This state of mindfulness can be likened to a combination of ‘openness’, ‘listening’, and most importantly, ‘feeling’. Meditation increases your sensory awareness.
- You will know that you have entered into meditation when everything becomes quiet and you are aware of strange feelings from deep within yourself. At first, they will not make any sense at all. Do not panic or doubt yourself. This is normal. Gratefully accept the new state of consciousness that you are being introduced to.
- When you have spent a few minutes in this new state, slowly start thinking again by setting an intention to exit from the meditation. Do not suddenly just open your eyes and return to normal consciousness, as this may disorientate you. Slowly and gently become more aware of your body and breathe more deeply, feel your hands and feet, move them around and slowly open your eyes.
- Another way of exiting a meditation is to count down from ten, and at different stages, tell yourself you are disconnecting. For example, ‘disconnecting, ten, nine, eight, disconnecting, seven, six, five, disconnecting, four, three, two, one’ – open your eyes.
Practise this regularly until you are familiar with the process. You will know that you have achieved a measure of success when you start to feel more relaxed, at ease and certainly more mindful.
Learning to visualise
Most meditations can be combined with visualisation so that you can see the changes and effects taking place around you. It may take a while for you to develop this skill and a summary of the correct process is given as follows:
Step 1: Practise your mental recall
Cut out a colour picture of a household scene from a magazine showing furniture and different objects. Study the picture for about half a minute and close your eyes. Try to recall as many of the features of the room and the objects as possible. You will need to practise until you can recall most of the objects and the furniture setting in the room quite accurately. If you are able to do this the first time, it means that your recall is excellent, and you can move onto step two.
Step 2: Learn to mentally create scenes
Close your eyes and create a colour image of the same picture you used before in your mind without looking at it. Continue practising until you can create it clearly and hold it for at least ten seconds. It can still be two–dimensional.
Step 3: Use your imagination to create new scenes
(Keep your eyes closed for all further steps)
Enter the relaxed and quiet state of mind required for meditation and set your intention to create a new scene in your mind. It can be a real scene such as a view of your garden or simply something put together in your imagination, such as being on the beach.
Piece it together and hold it in your mind for as long as possible. Once again, at this stage, you can still keep it two-dimensional. You may find holding the scene together somewhat tiring. As soon as you lose concentration, end the imagery. Do this in the same way as you would for meditation (moving your fingers and hands or counting-down). Continue with this exercise over a few days using the same scene, gradually filling in as much detail, form, colour and texture as you can.
Step 4: Add in other dimensions
Set your intention and re‑create your scene as before, but this time, add more depth and try to see it in three dimensions. Also add sounds, scents and movement to your scene. In other words, imagine seeing the leaves moving, get the scent of flowers, and hear the birds singing.
Step 5: Place living things in your scene
Now imagine an animal moving in your scene. In other words, see your cat or dog walking through the garden. Once you have done this and are successful, slowly end your imagery and meditation. Continue with this exercise for a few more days, until you can do these mental tasks with ease.
Step 6: Place yourselves in the scene
Begin your imagery as before with relaxation and enter into a light meditation. Set your intention to create an image of yourself in the scene as a separate figure. In other words, see yourself walking through the garden. Remember to include all the previous steps of three-dimensionality, sounds, scent, movement and animals. Seeing yourself at a distance in this way is called the third-person perspective.
Exit your imagery in the proper manner. If you have woven your visualisation into a story, close the session as if you were bringing the story to an end. In other words, see yourself leaving the garden and closing the gate behind you. You have to get your subconscious mind used to this process, as, if you end the session abruptly, you could become disorientated or confused.
Step 7: The first-person perspective
During your next meditation and visualisation, create your scene as before but now try to put yourself into the figure you have created for yourself in the scene. Look through your figures ‘eyes’ at the grass beneath you and the path in front of you. In other words, no longer see yourself as separate in the scene. You are now looking out from the figure and are actually inside the scene. This ‘first-person perspective’ is difficult and takes practice. Continue with this for a few days until you actually ‘feel’ the ground beneath your feet, ‘touch’ the foliage with your visualised hands and experience some actual sensations. Once again, after finishing the exercise, exit slowly and gently by leaving the garden and closing the gate behind you.
Step 8: Spontaneous imagery- The Threshold of Inner Sight
In psychology, spontaneous imagery is defined as the ‘unintended emergence of mental images.’ This is very important to metaphysical development. This phenomenon is based on the psychological fact that your subconscious mind has the power to place its own impressions and images into your visualised scene during meditation, in the same way as it does when you dream. However, as is the case with dreams, sometimes their meaning is not clear and you have to interpret the images.
Spontaneous imagery usually occurs during meditation and normally only happens after you have diligently practised meditation and visualisation for quite a while. Spontaneous imagery means that symbolic images from your own subconscious minds begin to spontaneously present themselves to you during visualisation. This sounds incredible, but I assure you that it works, and is a wonderful experience which marks your passage to what I call, the ‘Threshold of Inner Sight’. This means that you have been successful in establishing a close working relationship with your subconscious mind and you are now able to create a flowing visual field in which sensations, impressions and images from your subconscious mind, as well as from outside of your own mind, will be able to present themselves.
Spontaneous imagery is not the same as true clairvoyant sight, but it does prepare your mind for more advanced types of inner vision as it teaches you how to create an inner ‘visual screen’ for images to project onto and also helps to develop the centres in your brain you need for inner sight. Eventually, you will not even have to create a visualised scene at all, as images will spontaneously present themselves to you during your meditations.
Do not attempt spontaneous imagery unless you have mastered all the earlier steps, otherwise, you will be disappointed. This is a very exciting stage of your growth, as it means that you can actually see the changes taking place during your meditations, as well as your contact with other spiritual personalities
Let me show you how this works
- Once again, begin visualising during meditation. Keep your mind quiet and your eyes closed. Set an intention for your subconscious mind to communicate freely with you in the form of flowing impressions and images
- Put together a visualised three-dimensional scene as before but keep it simple. Once again, just see yourself walking around in your visualised garden or some other beautiful scene you create in your imagination. Now use the first-person perspective. At this time you are still actively creating the scene and the images and holding it all together in your mind.
- Now, slowly begin to release active control of the scene until it sort of ‘floats’ lightly in your consciousness with minimal effort. This fluidity opens your imagery to outside influences and your visualised scene now becomes an inner visual screen on which incoming images and impressions can be projected. If you are successful, your scene will stay more or less the same, in spite of the fact that you are spending less effort on controlling it.
- As you move along in your visualised scene, look for something which you are not creating in your own mind. In other words, you may see an object such as a rock or an animal suddenly appear which you did not consciously place there. This is your subconscious mind beginning to communicate with you using symbolic representations (images). Once this happens, give thanks, gently take back control of the scene and end your imagery with the storyline as before.
- Later on, with more practice, you could see humanlike figures in your visualised scene. These can be personified aspects of your own psyche, but also spiritual or archetypal personalities such as celestials projecting their energy into your imagery. You can interpret their characteristics from what you see of their appearance, as energy is translated into images in your mind by the mental phenomena of Synesthesia and Pareidolia.
- You will have to interpret the message from the figure or meaning of the object or image using your intuition or own personal framework of symbols which is formed from your past experiences and present framework (paradigm) of thinking. In other words, decide what the image means to you personally
- A mastery of spontaneous imagery means that you can bring about amazing shifts in consciousness and inner experiences and actually see the effects of your meditation on yourself, other persons and your surroundings. It is a wonderful skill to have as part of your self-development.