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Daily Meditator Newsletter

The Power of the Mind
November 18, 2010

Dear Meditator,

Success in meditation is determined by how dynamically we channel our mind and consciousness. In her book Grace, Nancy Mair tells how we can use our minds to attune to the subtle truth of anything we do. Her story below has great implications for everyone who meditates.

I first understood the power of the mind and how greatly it can effect change when it was demonstrated in my own life. I was an avid downhill ski racer during my high school years.

Two climbers near the top of a mountain peak

Painting by Swami Kriyananda

One year, I returned from summer racing camp with high enthusiasm and began my preseason training in July. I trained hard and diligently, three to four hours every day.

In early winter, the snows finally came. Going down my first practice course of the season, I caught a tip on a gate, fell, and tore a tendon and ligaments in my ankle.

I was in a cast until nearly the end of the ski season. I missed skiing tremendously, and under the circumstances, the only way I could enjoy it was by visualizing myself going down the slopes. I added to my mental pictures the many new pointers I had received from the coaches at ski camp. I mentally skied any time of day or night that I felt like it. It was the only way for me to appease my deep longing for the exhilaration of skiing.

My cast was eventually taken off, and I was ready to get back on the slopes the final few weeks of the season. My first day out, I discovered my skiing had improved to such an extent that my coach didn’t even recognize me as I made my first enthusiastic runs down the mountain. I couldn’t believe the change myself. My coach approached me at the end of the day and asked me how I had managed to improve so dramatically without being able to practice. I told him that I had been skiing in my mind, executing turns over and over again. He was astonished by my answer.

That summer when I returned to racing camp, the coaches there could hardly believe their eyes. They, too, asked how I managed to makes such phenomenal progress in my skiing, because they had never seen anyone change so much in just one year. I told them that I did as they had suggested the previous summer and pictured in my mind the way I should be skiing. I was unhindered by the actual physical practice, and I never failed to make the turns correctly in my mind. Once my mind “understood,” my body simply followed along.

Every day I mentally skied exactly the way I wanted to — and my body learned how in reality by my focusing clearly, and with deep concentration. I had no idea that my thoughts were actually making any changes. It wasn’t until I was back on the slopes that I realized the importance of what I had been doing.

Just as Nancy became more proficient in her sport by “skiing in her mind,” practicing visualization techniques can greatly enhance your experience of meditation. Visualizations, Swami Kriyananda said, “help awaken the memory of your deeper reality.” Visualizations are effective because they powerfully direct and attune your will, mind, and consciousness to God.

I once had a dream that taught me about the power of thought in an exhilarating way. In the dream, I was standing on a hill overlooking a small lake. While I was gazing at the lake, a friend walking by said to me, “Go ahead, Bharat. You can fly.”

So I began to fly.

My flight path rose and fell with the rolling topography of the surrounding foothills. After going a short distance, I thought, “Why not fly in a straight line and become free of the land below.”

Immediately, I found myself flying strong and true — free from earthly limitation.

Then, feeling that there was more to experience, I said to myself, “Why not just ‘go’ there?  Flying seems so slow.”

Instantly, I arrived at my destination. Time and space were seemingly conquered — at least during my flight-dream!

This dream taught me that by focusing and directing the mind I could experience increasingly deeper levels of being. Similarly, Swami Kriyananda’s visualization, The Spiritual Eye Meditation, guides you beyond physical limitation to subtler and subtler levels of soul awareness.

The spiritual eye is the reflection of the inner spine, which is composed of three concentric channels of energy. Its outer golden ring represents the astral world; its circular blue field, the causal world; and its silvery star, Cosmic Consciousness. When the life force is interiorized after meditation techniques like Hong Sau, this visualization directs your energy and consciousness more deeply into the channels of the inner spine where soul bliss resides.

In this visualization, you imagine the golden tunnel of light of the astral world and “feel… a glorious sense of happiness and freedom,” and visualize the blue field of the causal world, and “expand your consciousness into that light” and experience “infinite freedom and bliss.”

During meditation, we often use visualizations. For example, we may imagine the guru sitting within our body magnetizing our effort, or we might imagine we are sitting on a bluff overlooking the ocean, feeling the waves flowing in and out as our breath.

“Imagination is the beginning of creation,” said George Bernhard Shaw, and imagining spiritual realities is a dynamic step toward perceiving these realities. Jesus Christ said to pray believing; it is essential that we imbue every moment of meditation with positive, soul-affirmation. God is a God of joy; to experience His bliss we should meditate with the strong mental attitude of inner joy and freedom.

Two excellent resources for visualizations are Swami Kriyananda’s book, Awaken to Superconsciousness and the Metaphysical Meditations CD, which contains thirteen guided meditations based on the mystical poetry of Paramhansa Yogananda.

Paramhansa Yogananda wrote:

As your body is the little body,
so God’s body is space,
and if you want to feel Him,
feel space in the body,
and all space beyond it.

Do you have a favorite visualization you’ve found extremely beneficial? If you have one, would you please share it with us?

May you always delight in the joy of your soul,

Nayaswami Bharat for the Daily Meditator

 

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22 Responses

  1. Raja Ram Kalipiremal says:

    Really inspiring and nail the message right away.
    Will try them, lacking and slacking in meditation
    recently though. Need a booster and hope it
    will come my way.

    Joy
    Ram

  2. Kaushik Jani says:

    My favourite visualisation is that of singing love songs to Dakshineshwar Ma Kali.

    I find her face extremely sweet and lovable.

    During Kriya also, I visualise her. In fact, it is the only visualisatioin that I have done actively and enjoyed so far and I dare say I may not do any other. Such is the bliss that I experience.

    In my imagination sing to her and speak to her costantly.

    I am sure she will appear in person and talk to me also someday.

  3. Barb Walley says:

    Dearest Bharat:

    What a delight to open my email, and immediately find one from you. My heart was lifted! Thank you for this great example of visualization, wow… what a realization to have had at such an early age. You have inspired me to get a copy of Swamiji’s visualization meditations for my new Ananda Meditation group in Toledo.

    Many Blessings and much love, Barb

  4. Davy says:

    Hello, I can only agree , and thank the Lord for Yogananda and Kriya Yoga. I play music. Every time before I write a song, I ask the Guru’s of SRF to help me write a great song. I was once homeless. And I met Babaji. Someone gave me a copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. It was 1976.
    My life has been so blessed, with Yogananda Christ and krishna and Babaji. I’m overjoyed to help travel and play our songs. It started with a begining. Now in 2010 I’m 100% healthy, sober and clean with the help of SRF Gurus and The GRACE of God and the 12 step program. I owe it all to the book “Autobiography of a Yogi”
    you can hear the quality of the songs at http://www.davidmunyon.com http://www.mobilehomerecords.com http://www.stockfisch-records.de and David Munyon MYSPACE. My heart was totally restored physically and spiritually, with His Grace and “with a little help from my friends” I’m forever grateful to all the Guru’s of Self realization fellowship. Wishing you all, all the very best, always

    Davy

  5. hanuman says:

    Thank you Bharat for sharing! I use Swami’s spiritual eye meditation in my conscious exits workshop. Very powerful.

  6. Candice says:

    I use a Vision Board to help me with visualization. I put pictures on a piece of poster board to represent my goals. For example, I put a photo on President Carter on my board and, unexpectedly, he came to town the next month. I have Mother Teresa to remind me to seek Christ in all persons, and Paramhansa Yogananda to remind me to go deeper in meditation. I put a picture of a radio on the board and the next month my husband got a better radio position in which I will participate. I have found that this Vision Board helps me focus on my goals. I look at it every day and think of the pictures during my meditations.

  7. Tara says:

    What a blessing to read this morning. I’ve had a headache for 3 days, and this gave me such lightness to read. I’m going to sit for a long time to meditate today, visualizing space all around me!

  8. maria farias says:

    I.am bless whith your teachings…I am practicing some of your ideas in visualisation……My Life is peacefull and Great.. Bless be all of you…….my mentors….. I am greatfull to you from the bothom of my been,,,,,,,

  9. John Melka says:

    I often use self-guided meditation as part of my practice. My routine is as follows:
    Imagine yourself in a prep room. In that room is a white robe hanging on a hook, a large iron bound trunk and a door on the far side of the room. I open the trunk and place all my worries and cares within it. They will stay there for the length of the meditation, locked away and safe for later. I then put on the flowing white robe and open the door. I walk through into a beautiful field with sunlight and warmth about me. I walk forward into the field and there find a bench. I take my seat on the bench. At that point, I do one of two things. I may ask to speak with past masters, in which case a guide will appear and talk to me. He is an ascended master and was a guru to Yogananda. Since we do not use names, his name escapes me right now but checking online I remember it as Sri Yukteswar. We then talk about things, spiritual. When I am done I thank him for his insights and walk back to the prep room.
    In the second case, there is a beautiful apple on the bench. I love apples, so I pick it up and admire it. After I give my appreciation to the apple, I take a large bite. Its flavor fills me with joy. I continue to appreciate it and eat it until only the core remains. I then gently place it upon the ground and thank the earth and the universe for it. I then walk back to the prep room.
    In the prep room, I return my robe to the hook, and open the box with all the cares and woes of my world within it. I take them back and then complete my meditation.
    My second method is to make myself be “in the moment”. I turn on some restful instrumental music. During this exercise, I listen to each note until I can hear just one note and not anticipate the next one. I continue this for as long as it takes for my mind to become calm.
    As I have mood disorders, these practices both center me and give me releif from the anxiety about my problems. They act as part of my treatment program and allow me to relax and alleviate some of my symptoms. They are not a substitute for anything else in my treatment regimine, but are a useful adjunct in maintaining a more even disposition.
    Namaste’

  10. Judy Durham says:

    This is a beautiful article which touched me powerfully, as I myself love to use affirmation and visualization. I particularly liked the observation that once the mind gets it, the body goes right in step, as I have experienced that myself. My current project is making my first speech in 40 years and I have visualized it as being fun — and it was a “no-jitters” speech!

  11. Padma Mohan Kumar says:

    I wish I could convey how much encouragement your newsletter gave me. I am learning driving and I too am trying the mental visualization method. Your experience comes as a shot in the arm for me. The portion dealing with the power of thought was extremely fascinating. Thank you for this newsletter.
    Padma

  12. pradeep shah says:

    The article was very good and encouraging will try and get good results

  13. Joy Perrin says:

    Thank you dear Bharat, for this wonderful newsletter. I’ve been listening to the Sunday sermons, sometimes everyday, in my car for years now. Now I have them in my iPhone. They really help through my days and keep God on my mind Your light and rays lo love ARE spreading out outward and REALLY helping me attune to God and Master. Loving Thanks, Joy

  14. Brian Caits says:

    thank you,love needs to over power,

  15. James Johnson says:

    After finishing my morning meditation. I went to my e-mail opened this and it was as if my inner self sent it. The sense of onward was there the how was missing thank you so much …

  16. BO says:

    Thank you for the beautiful article! Always a treat to read your writings!

    A visualization that I was given has been very powerful. Imagine the master sitting at your crown chakra (a miniature version) upon his crown chakra visualize his master (a mini miniature version), and upon his head his master, etc.

    While you are doing your practice, for example the Hong Sau, imagine they are doing it with you. Hear their voices and feel their enthusiasm and joy. Become one with them in your practice. Let the depth of their practice become the depth of your practice.

  17. Kimberly Palm says:

    Here is my favorite visualization for healing and energy for my day. I begin by practicing Hung Sau and focusing on my breath at the tip of my nose, then I move my minds eye to an image of Jesus standing in front of me in his robe and sandals. There is light emanating from his body. He takes his hands and holds them up to me. The light flows from his hands into my body and the light goes from the tip of my head to tip of my toes. The light comes out the tips of my hands and feet. I hold this thought for several minutes and then go back to focusing on my breath. This excercise always helps me feel better, stronger and more energy when I do it.

  18. Diana says:

    This book excerpt was something I could TOTALLY relate to, perhaps because of my own past of competitive sports and joy in skiing. That identification thrills me, because I understand it so completely. So much of this awakening process is new learning and sprinkled with doubts, that visualizations can lack the energy and ‘verve’ needed to bring them about. Maybe it is more my identification with the JOY Nancy feels for skiing that is most helpful, for that is what motivated her to practice in her mind in the first place. I will begin sharing the absolute JOY I can feel from any experience in this life in my daily meditations. Thank you for putting these two ideas together on your post. It is very helpful for me.

  19. kamini bhasin says:

    Dear Bharat,

    Thankyou for sharing these pearls of experiences. I am inspired to put these visualisations in practice.

    Om,

    Kamini Bhasin

  20. Chandi Holliman says:

    Thank you for this beautiful visualization.

  21. Sahaja says:

    Thank you for the reminder about this valuable spiritual tool. I’ve been struggling with mental restlessness recently and visualization gives my mind something very helpful to dwell on.
    Blessings,
    Sahaja

  22. sabyasachi ghosh says:

    Hi, I like this article about visuliazation and spiritiuality .. It was inspiring and motivating

 
Nayaswami Bharat

Nayaswami Bharat

Director of Meditation Support

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