Imagine yourself in a beautiful place in nature, overlooking the ocean at sunset…dropping deeper into a more relaxed state…you are using the art of visualization to take you into a meditative state but you are not meditating…not yet. Many folks, myself included, use the words “meditation” and “visualization” as if they were one and the same, but meditation and visualization are two very different things.
I have studied the art of visualization for many years. I have attended courses that taught practical techniques for using the power of my mind to achieve positive outcomes such as physical healing and creating abundance. These classes taught guided visualizations that would encourage you to relax and go into deeper levels of mind. To lower your brain waves into an alpha state where you could then visualize and imagine a desired outcome. If you wanted a new car, you would use these techniques to relax and imagine yourself behind the wheel, you would imagine the smell of the new leather, you would see yourself already in possession of the car. At an early age, I found that these simple techniques worked and that my mind definitely played a big part in the creation of my life. For years I have practiced visualizing for things that I wanted. Sometimes my manifestations came with unexpected consequences or life lessons, so heed the saying… “be careful what you ask for.” Now if I ask for a specific outcome I always add “this or something better.” My visualization techniques have helped me heal myself from illness, break unwanted habits and let go of beliefs and relationships that were not serving me. There are no limits on what you could visualize for. Napoleon Hill’s famous quote is: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve!” Visualization does work.
In some ways meditation seems the same as visualizing…you are still and you allow yourself to relax and enter a deeper level of mind but instead of imagining an outcome, you empty your mind and ask for nothing! To just sit and count my breath and not ask for what I thought I needed in life was my biggest challenge in meditation. I found it difficult to let go of visualizing! I knew I didn’t need to be creating at every moment, yet, to just sit in an empty space that is so full of possibilities, do nothing and just trust the process took years of practice. My meditation practice is to sit and count my breath. Inhale is the count of one, exhale the count of two, inhale is three and to continue until I notice that my mind has wandered. When I notice, I just start the counting again. I go back to one. There is no goal, I just keep concentrating on counting my breath. After a while the counting stops altogether, and my mind becomes quiet with nothing stealing my attention. In this place my aches and pains disappear and my whole being feels expanded. Time goes by unnoticed when I am in this empty space. After my meditation I feel more relaxed and positive. More connected. This feeling spills over into my day making everything run smoother and I begin to notice the synchronicity around me. The rewards of a meditation practice are many but what has amazed me most is that if I don’t ask for anything in particular the Universe begins to work on my behalf. I receive what I need in ways that I could have never imagined!
Meditation and visualization are both very powerful. Try both! Experiment to see what works for you. The mind is an amazing tool that you can put to work for you. You can use visualization to heal your body or manifest a parking space when you need it. You can visualize happier, healthier and more powerful you! AND take 20 minutes and start a daily meditation practice, use visualization to help you drop in, then just sit, use the counting technique or one that you like to get your mind to slow down. Quiet your thoughts and just allow yourself to be.
Contributed by Sue Anne Parsons, owner of Let It Go Yoga