Using visualisation as a transition object in meditation

I wanted to write about visualisation since I have had an on/off relationship with it over the years. Initially, I used to think it was a bit gimmicky and lightweight - if you really wanted to meditate you'd sit in silence staring at a wall or something. However, over the last few years I see visualisation as a useful aid in getting the mind to settle down.

How does this work? Say we want to get the mind to move in a certain direction (in this case, towards calmness) but the object of intention is too far way - let's say we feel stressed out and scattered - then it seems an impossible task to get from A to B. So, we can use a calming transition object to get us from where we are to where we want to be - in this case, a guided visualisation. Then, once we are in the proximity of the destination and the calmness starts doing its business, we can become absorbed into some aspect of the visualisation and generate a concentrated state of mind.

Here's a short example:

1. Imagine you are on a boat sailing on the mediterranean sea. Your friends and family are there and everyone is relaxed and having a good time.

2. You arrive at an island covered in pine trees and with an enticing looking beach.

3. The beach is deserted and you enjoy the solitude.

4. At the back of the beach, there is a ravine leading into the center of the island.

5. You walk up the ravine following a fresh water stream through a pine forest.

6. Up and up you climb, getting hot, but feeling energised.

7. You reach a clear forest pool fed by the stream cascading gently over some rocks.

8. You enter the pool - it is cool and refreshing.

At this point, you would absorb yourself into the pool and expand your mind to fill the Universe with your limitless awareness - if possible.

It helps to pick a visualisation that actually refers to some pleasant experience in your life - this makes connecting the pleasantness dots a little bit easier.

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