Thinking involves making associations, letting our thoughts and imagination expand and develop freely and naturally. In meditation, not only do we have to use our imagination and our ability to think, but we also need to be able to monitor the various thoughts and feelings that arise spontaneously in us.
Try detaching yourself and observing the thoughts, images and ideas that flow in and out of you. Imagine they are clouds drifting across the sky.
As you watch these thoughts, let them pass through your mind without engaging with them. Do not influence or judge them. Simply be aware of them.
Notice the calming effect as you enjoy these quiet moments of observation and reflection. What better way could there be to spend a few minutes than in the observation of your thoughts in a spirit of positive acceptance?
Sometimes during meditation you may find yourself distracted. If this is the case, go with the distraction for a moment or two then gently discipline yourself to return to the focus of your attention.
The key is to be passive, aware, non-judgmental and patient. If you feel disappointed with the result of a meditation, then you are being judgmental. Expect nothing. Assume nothing. Open yourself up to all possibilities.
Consider what thoughts and feelings preoccupy you during the day. Try to identify them and write them down. Do you expend a great deal of energy worrying about what will happen in the future or what has happened in the past? Are you often preoccupied with trying to control events or situations over which you have no control? Perhaps you often experience negative feelings (such as anger, hate, regret, fear, sadness) or negative thoughts, such as “nobody cares what happens to me” or “no one pays any attention to what I do”? Maybe your thoughts are daydreams and you find yourself wishing you were somewhere else, or in a different occupation?
Become an observer of your thoughts and learn to identify your thought patterns, gradually introduce this routine not just into your meditation sessions, but into all areas of your daily life.
Using our imagination in meditation enables us to focus clearly and to delve more deeply into our innermost thoughts and feelings. Meditate on a sound or an image and observe closely the effect that it has on you.
All of us have the ability to conjure up and hold images in our mind’s eye, but if you find it difficult, perhaps your imagination is out of practice. Persevere, and you will find that making mental images becomes easier with time.
Allow images in your mind to grow and change, and to take on a life of their own. Think of this as your unconscious painting a magnificent masterpiece for you every day. When you work with your imagination during meditation, you are building a bridge to your unconsciousness. Crossing the bridge will bring you to a greater realization of your full creative potential.
A Simple, Yet Powerful, Meditation
For Overcoming Negative Emotions
This exercise will help you to deal with overwhelming or negative emotions that may arise at any time, but especially during meditation.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes. When you feel calm, imagine that you are holding a large stone, rock or crystal in your hand. This is your “worry stone”. What is its texture and color?
Now bring to mind the negative emotion that you wish to control or dispel. Imagine that you channel this emotion along your arm, down through your hand and fingers, and into the stone, which is able to absorb it.
Visualize the stone absorbing all the thoughts that trigger a negative emotional response in you. Allow the stone to soak up these thoughts until you sense that they are dying down and ceasing to trouble you.
When the thoughts (and your emotions) have receded, imagine that you wash the stone to cleanse it, in doing so you wash away all your negative emotional energy.