Visualization Meditation: Techniques and Guidance for Success
What if you had the power to make your dreams a reality? What if the key to achieving all your ambitions and goals lay in your ability to visualize them?
Visualization as a concept is nothing new, and when you think about, it’s something we all do all the time, whether we are daydreaming about going on our dream holiday or feeling nervous about how some difficult future event might play out. Visualization is part of being human; the magic is learning to harness its power for positive effect instead of feeding our anxiety and magnifying the negative.
To understand visualization and how it works it helps to have a basic grasp of the concept of how the brain works and the subconscious mind.
Quantum science has shown us that everything that exists is connected. The Universe is made up of energy vibrating at a certain frequency. That includes all of us, also vibrating at a certain frequency, along with everything we desire and don’t desire. Therefore, vibrations attract like vibrations, and we attract what we focus on, whether it is positive or negative.
The subconscious mind is incredibly powerful. Scientists believe that the brain does not know the difference between thoughts that are real and thoughts that are imagined.
Molecules, called neuropeptides, link our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to our physical bodies. Basically, neural pathways get activated in the same way whether we are literally experiencing the thing or just imagining experiencing it.
The primal center of our brains – the sympathetic nervous system, rules our fight or flight response, meaning that we can easily ‘fool’ our nervous system to believe that what we are envisioning is actually happening, and our ability to achieve that result is enhanced. This explains the placebo effect. It also explains why professional athletes have long been using visualization techniques to improve their results Tiger Woods, for example, has been employing visualization techniques in his golf game for years.
When you see and feel yourself achieving something, you are in the moment not only playing it out in your mind but in some way attracting the experience to you as a physical experience.
Meditation and Visualization
These two practices are not exactly the same thing although it’s possible to develop a practice that incorporates them both for the best complimentary effect.
Meditation is generally speaking a much less active state of being than visualizing although there are many different types of meditation of course. Concentration meditation tends to focus on a sense of going beyond the conscious mind to a space inside us that is more about being than thinking. It’s that place of calm existence that does not invite active or specifically directed thoughts; it’s a restful, mindful state that allows the body to linger in deep non-judgment and calm. In short, meditation brings you to the present moment, a place where you’re not needing, yearning or regretting anything, you are just being.
Visualization, on the other hand, is much more focused in a specific direction, and therefore more consciously active. It invites the brain and therefore the body to be guided in a particular way for the desired result.
Combining the Methods
The two do work excellently together, and you can easily incorporate visualization into your meditation practice.
The part of our brain that meditation activates is helpful for visualizing. It can be hard to just go into a state of imagining the best-case scenario, especially if you have developed negative thoughts habits over time. That’s why regular meditation is an excellent accompaniment to visualization because when you meditate you train your brain to go to a place of non-thought, a place where you can then create a fresh reality from and reprogram old negative mindsets – a perfect bouncing off place for visualization.
Guided Visualization Meditation: Step by Step
If you are new to regular visualization, you could begin generally at first and slowly incorporate creative visualization techniques into your meditation as in the example below.
This is also a good place to start because for many people it’s actually easier to visualize things that are not such tightly held desires or so close to their personal lives as a way to get into the practice of the method. For example – by wishing others well.
- Begin as you would any meditation – comfortable and in a quiet place with your eyes gently closed and your hands in your lap. Start by centering yourself at the moment with the movement of your breath. Gently bring your focus to your inhalations and exhalations and allow your mind to settle.
- After a few moments of this, bring to mind someone you love. It could be the first person (or even pet) that comes to mind. It’s probably someone who you find very easy to love. Imagine that person sitting in a comfortable place before you. Don’t worry about things like what they are wearing or doing. Just conjure the essence of this person in your mind. Be completely present and grateful for the impact that loved one has on your life.
- Feel the sensation of love that you have for them, and allow to it extend out towards them. Imagine them bathed in the golden warm light of your love and happiness. Feel their joy and imagine them at peace. In your mind, you are creating a beautiful sense of love all around you and this person.
- You can say to yourself something like ‘may you always be happy and well.’
- If you like you can repeat this with various people. It becomes more challenging if you start to imagine people with whom perhaps you have had some issues, the pure feelings of love may feel harder to access, but even more reason to practice them.
Ultimately this is an excellent way to start honing the skill of visualizing and a positive way to cultivate feelings of love and well-being. For even more information on how to meditate appropriately in different circumstances, our review of the best meditation books may be useful.
Visualizing Specific Intentions
If you want to focus in on a more specific, intentional desire that you have, you could try the following method once you have practiced the kindness meditation technique. In the future, who knows, this type of visualization may be carried out with the help of a meditation helmet.
- First, identify what it is that you would like to change in your life. Is it an area where you have been struggling? Perhaps a health issue, or a dream you have of achieving a specific goal. Whatever it is, get really clear on the details of what you would like to manifest.
- Allow your mind to conceive the best-case scenario, the dream version of this goal. Do not hold back – allow yourself to go to the extreme ideal. Picture yourself living with this goal already achieved. Imagine all the details. It’s not just about seeing a picture in your mind of you walking down the beach with your dream partner (for example), it’s about feeling the sand between your toes and knowing how you would feel as you walk, the emotional and the physical sensations. You have to really put yourself into a new state of being with all your intention. That is where the power of visualization lies. You have to actually feel different. Believe you are worthy of having what you desire.
- Now insert this goal into some kind of achievable timeline for yourself, so it does not just remain in an intangible future. Make it realistic but still ambitious, you just want to be able to feel that you have the ability to achieve this goal in your near future.
- Then if you like imagine the date of when you will achieve this goal. See yourself between then and now, and all the incredible things that will line up to facilitate the achievement of this goal. Make a clear connection between you and the success that is to come. As a general rule, the more specific you are the better but if a date panics you, just make it a general three-six month time frame.
- It’s important to note that you do not want to get hung up on any judgment from your negative mind creeping back in to tell you it’s not possible. The visualization should be as pure and intentional as possible. Always come back to the feeling, rather than the thought. It is the pure feeling of living in that new way of life that is the fuel behind the success of mental imagery.
- Breathe and linger here as long as you can, really as long as you remain feeling positive in the experience you are conjuring. Then slowly bring yourself back to the now with your breaths.
- It can help to write things down immediately following the visualization; whatever works to maintain your vision and focus. Perhaps collecting pictures, music, anything that gets you into that high and powerful state of feeling like you are inside your new reality.
- Adjust your actions to strengthen the communication between mind and body. Remember that the process is really the most important thing. When you focus on why you want something you will automatically change some of the behaviors that perhaps have previously hindered your progress.
- When you focus on what is within your control, you start to get really authentic about your life decisions. Start being the kind of person that has whatever it is you are aiming for. What does that person do every day? Practice being that person and do something practically every single day towards the manifestation of your vision.
- If you combine actual action steps with the visualization techniques you are on the path to success. Practice the visualization every day or night or as much as you can on a regular basis until that goal becomes your reality! Then you can focus on the next thing! Because the more you create, the more you allow into your life, it becomes a never-ending beautiful expression of who you are.
If you can see it in your mind you can attract it into your experience, it just takes confidence and practice. You have to believe in the power of your mind and the miracles will reveal themselves.