|Handbook for Enlightenment|
THE PRELIMINARY PRACTICES OF VISUALIZATION AND MANTRA YOGA
The following are a series of secret basic and intermediate meditation techniques.
The Blue Sky
As you start your meditation, picture a beautiful blue sky without any clouds in it. As you picture the clear blue sky, feel that your body is growing lighter and lighter. Close your eyes and keep the image of the blue sky in your mind.
There are no limits to the blue sky. It stretches on endlessly in every direction, never beginning and never ending. As you visualize the blue sky, feel that your body has become so light that you have floated up into the clear blue sky. Visualize that you are floating in the sky, and that all tension, fatigue, worry, and problems have left you. Relax your mind and allow your breathing to seek its own level. Feel yourself floating gently in the clear blue sky that stretches endlessly in every direction, never beginning and never ending.
After several minutes have passed and you feel your thoughts slowing, picture that your entire body is merging with the blue sky. Your body is merging with the peace of the blue sky... Your mind is merging with the tranquility of the blue sky... Feel that you have actually become the blue sky. You no longer have a body or a mind. You have become the infinite blue sky that stretches endlessly in every direction, never beginning and never ending. Feel that you have become the perfect peace and tranquility of the blue sky. Completely let go and experience the bliss of meditation.
When you have completed your meditation session, open your eyes. You will now have a new and deeper sense of peace, relaxation, and poise. This renewed energy, joy, and calm will stay with you after you resume your normal activities.
The Tower of Light
Take a deep breath and exhale slowly, As you exhale, mentally picture all tiredness, tension, and fatigue leaving you. Then turn your attention to the crown of your head. Visualize that a wave of golden light is entering into you at the top of your head and passing throughout your entire body. Imagine this golden light passing from the crown of your head, through your neck, shoulders, arms, chest, stomach, lower back, and down your legs to your feet.
As you imagine the golden light passing throughout your body, feel yourself relaxing. Picture another wave of golden light entering through the crown of your head and visualize it passing through your entire body and then leaving through the soles of your feet. Feel that wave after wave of golden light is passing through this way. Each wave of golden light is passing through you in this way. Each wave of golden light that passes through your body removes more of your tension, quiets your mind, and helps you to enter farther and deeper into a state of meditation.
Picture that the waves of golden light have now become a solid river of golden light that is constantly passing through you. Picture this golden light expanding beyond your body and filling up the entire room. Then visualize the golden light expanding beyond the earth... beyond the sky... into the infinite. Feel that the golden light is constantly passing through you and washing all of your tensions, problems, and worries beyond you, beyond the earth... beyond the sky... and into the infinite. Continue visualizing the golden stream of light passing through you until you have ended your meditation session.
Imagine a vast ocean. The ocean is filled with hundreds and thousands of waves. Feel that you are part of that ocean. Imagine that each wave in the ocean is slowly moving through you. Feel that each wave is a wave of joy.
Imagine wave after wave of joy passing through your whole body. As each wave passes through your body, feel that all worries, tensions, anxieties, and problems are being washed away in the successive waves of joy. For several minutes, meditate on wave after wave of joy passing through you. Feel that each new wave of joy that passes through you increases the amount of joy that you now have, until you feel that you have become all joy. Nothing exists for you except limitless, boundless joy.
Now imagine that you are going beneath the surface of the ocean. The surface of the ocean is filled with many waves, but below the surface, in the depths, all is calm, silent, and serene. Imagine yourself sinking slowly into the depths of the ocean. Here there is only calmness, emptiness, and tranquility. As you visualize yourself going deeper and deeper into the depths of the ocean, feel that a profound paces is entering into you. Feel that the deeper you go into the inner ocean, the more peaceful and calm you become.
Visualize that there is no end to the depths of this ocean. It goes on endlessly. Imagine yourself sinking deeper and deeper into this endless ocean of light, feeling more peace and tranquility filling your entire being until you have become all peace and all tranquility. Continue practicing this visualization until you have ended your meditation session.
The Sphere of Power
Practice this technique whenever you feel tension entering into you from outside. This exercise can be practiced while seated, or as part of mindfulness, while you work, talk with others, or engage in any activity. This exercise is particularly effective when you need to stop tension, frustration, or panic immediately.
Focus your attention on the center of your stomach, in the area of your navel. Feel that this is an area of tremendous strength. Visualize a sphere, a dome of red energy surrounding your entire body, which is supported by your own willpower. Positive thoughts, feelings, ideas, and vibrations can pass through this sphere of red energy surrounding you, negative thoughts, hostilities, anger, and aggressive feelings of other persons and situations cannot enter you.
While you are visualizing this sphere of red energy surrounding you, feel that you are consciously directing energy from the center of your body, in the area of your navel, throughout the whole sphere. Feel that the energy of your willpower can easily deflect tension-causing feelings and frustrations that are directed toward you from the outside world. You will find that with repeated practice it becomes easier and easier to visualize this sphere of red energy and that you will be able to stop the negative energy of others entering you.
Visualize a beautiful rose in the center of your chest. It is not necessary, when doing this exercise, to see a clear picture of the rose. Simply do the best you can to imagine a soft, reddish rose in the center of your chest. If other thoughts and images pass through your mind while you are performing this exercise, simply ignore them.
Imagine that the rose is completely folded up; none of its petals have yet unfolded. Now, as you focus your attention on the reddish rose in the center of your chest, visualize that the first set of petals, the outer row of petals, is gradually unfolding. As they do so, imagine them growing and expanding and filling the entire area of your chest. Simultaneously feel that a wave of peace and joy is spreading throughout your entire chest area.
Then visualize that a second set of rose petals is unfolding and expanding, this time filling the entire area of your body. Imagine another wave of peace and joy, even deeper than the first, starting at the center of the rose and expanding outward, filling your entire body with peace and joy. Now visualize a third set of petals, again starting at the center of the rose, and imagine them expanding outward, filling up the entire room, spreading peace and joy everywhere throughout the room in which you are meditating.
Then visualize a forth set of petals opening up, this time expanding and filling the entire planet. Feel that peace and joy are spreading from the center of the rose, throughout the earth, and filling all of the people of this earth with peace and joy.
Now visualize another set of petals opening up, this time filling the entire solar system with peace and bliss. At the same time, feel that you are spreading your own inner peace, of which you have an infinite supply, throughout the entire solar system.
Finally visualize that a sixth row of petals is opening up, this time filling up the entire universe, and on into the infinite.
As you practice this exercise, continue to visualize additional petals of the rose unfolding. As each set of petals unfolds and spreads out into the infinite, feel that they are reaching further and further out, and spreading a deeper peace and joy throughout your whole being and throughout all of existence. There is no end to the petals of the inner rose. Continue to unfold set after set of petals until you have completed your meditation session.
Focus your attention on the center of your forehead. Visualize that there is a slow but steady swirl of white light there. This particular white light is very soft and gentle. Visualize that the white light above your forehead is slowly moving in a clockwise direction.
Then visualize that the swirling white light is slowly expanding. As it does, the white light begins to encompass the other portions of your body. Imagine the soft white light expanding in a circular swirling motion until your entire body has become lost in it.
Feel that the room you are meditating in is becoming filled with swirling white light. Visualize that the light is expanding beyond the room you are in to encompass the building or area in which you are located. Then imagine that the white light is expanding even farther, encompassing all of the area for miles around you. Finally, visualize the soft white light continuing to expand as it gently swirls around, until continuing to expand as it gently swirls around, until it has filled the earth, the sky, the universe, and all of infinity.
Let go. Allow yourself to merge with the slowly swirling calm, peaceful white light. In this timeless light, there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, there is no future or past. Your mind is calm and relaxed. All that exists is swirling white light, and you have become part of that light. Meditate and continue to visualize the swirling white light, experiencing peace and inner stillness, until your meditation session has ended.
All of the previously described techniques can be practiced with your eyes open or closed. Most people find that it is easier initially to practice meditation with their eyes closed.
When your mind drifts away from one of the secret meditation techniques, do not become upset or frustrated. Gently move your mind back to the technique you are practicing and begin again. Initially your mind will drift frequently to other subjects, but with practice you will find that your mind’s strength quickly grows.
Think of your mind as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it will become. However, if you neglect to develop your mind through proper concentration and meditation exercises, it will atrophy and become weaker.
At the end of each meditation session, bow your head toward the ground. Give away your meditation away to the universe. Whether you feel you have done well or poorly, simply give your efforts to the universe. Also remember, if you are properly using the secret meditation techniques, you cannot have a "bad" meditation. The only bad meditation is when you don’t meditate at all.
Use the previous techniques in rotation. It will prevent your meditation experience from becoming stale, and the different techniques will place you in touch with different fields of auric empowerment, creating a balanced development of your practice.
Yantras are traditional visual aids that are used both externally and internally in the practice of Tantric Buddhism. Yantras are geometrical designs that enable you to focus on an image that will help you to quiet your mind. When you become more advanced in your practice, you will be able to fully visualize a yantra with your eyes closed. Any of the standard yantras in the Tantric texts are suitable for practice.
Another popular form of meditation is to repeat a mantra and focus on its sound, or its sound in conjunction with a visual image, while practicing meditation. Your root guru will provide you with a personal mantra for you to use. If you don not have access to a root guru, the best general mantra for practice is: OM mani padme hum.
Repeat this mantra, or your personal mantra, for the full period of your meditation session. Do not merely "parrot" a mantra when you are repeating it. Focus your full attention on the mantra when you are repeating it. Focus your full attention on he mantra you are using until all other thoughts are excluded from your mind.
SOME FINAL CONSIDERATIONS
It is perfectly acceptable to vary your practice. If you wish to use one of the secret techniques for one session, focus on a yantra for another session, this is perfectly acceptable. What is of greatest importance is keeping your mind focused during your periods of meditation and not letting your mind drift. It is far better to do a shorter meditation with little or no concentration.
When, during a session, you enter into a period of no-thought, you can stop practicing your visualization, repeating your mantra, or focusing on your yantra. Allow the emptiness, peace, and ecstasy of the thoughtless realm to overwhelm you. When you find yourself staring to think again, refocus on your visualization, yantra or mantra. Keep practicing in spite of all adverse conditions, and great success will be yours. May all sentient beings attain enlightenment!