My students really like it when I do an extended Savasana (sometimes 20 minutes) with visualization. I recall that Swami Kriyananda had some of these types of visualizations on tape and wonder if they are printed anywhere. Or if anyone has any mind visualizations, as well, I would be more than happy to know some of them.
Answer from Nayaswami Savitri
Ananda Village, California
These are guided meditation suggestions from Swami Kriyananda, but many might be nicely adapted to deep relaxation.
They are taken from the book Awaken to Superconsciousness by J. Donald Walters (Swami Kriyananda).
Tense and relax the whole body, then take several deep, slow breaths to a rhythmic count. Now visualize yourself surrounded by infinite space. Vast emptiness stretches before you—below you—behind—above. After some time, concentrate on your body. Release into vast space, like thin wisps of vapor, any lingering tension in the muscles.
Release your awareness of the body. It, too, is becoming part of the vast emptiness all around you. Now, bring that feeling of space upwards in the body—from the feet to the calves, the thighs, the hips and buttocks, the abdomen, the hands, forearms, and upper arms, the back, the chest, the neck and throat, the tongue and lips, the facial muscles, the eyes, the brain, the very top of your head.
This body is no longer yours. You are the essence of which it is but an expression — the subtle consciousness of absolute peace that permeates all things, but that is untouched and unaffected by anything.
From Body Consciousness to Planetary Consciousness
To relax completely, first inhale deeply and tense the whole body. Next, exhale forcibly and relax. Repeat this exercise two or three times. Now, holding your body very still, think of your skin as the outer crust of our planet Earth. Within this crust is contained everything. The earth’s rivers are the blood coursing through your veins. The oceans with their mighty tides are your lungs. The woods and forests are the hairs on your head and on the skin of your body. The plains are the broad expanses of your back and abdomen. The humble receptivity of the valleys is expressed in the upturned palms of your hands. The hills and mountains are your shoulders and cranium. The wind blowing over the earth is your breath. God’s love for all the world radiates outward like a light from your own heart. Send love outward in blessing to all humanity, to all creatures, to all things, moving and unmoving, everywhere.
The Boundless Lake
Visualize your heart’s feelings as a boundless lake. Strive to see reflected in that lake the full moon in the sky above. Ripples in the lake’s surface, and deeper vortices churning below its surface, disturb that reflection. This agitation is due to disturbances in your heart’s feelings, past as well as present. Calm that movement — not by suppressing it, but by seeking at the center of every ripple and vortex the undistorted reflection of the moon above. You do not have to work to develop divine love. The calmer your lake of feeling, the more clearly and spontaneously will love and devotion appear, reflected, in the heart. Love is the very essence of reality.
The Heart as a Lotus Blossom
Meditate on the heart. Think of it as a lotus, its petals, like rays of energy, turned upward toward the brain. Visualize each petal as a specific aspect of your feelings: love, aspiration, enthusiasm, longing, tenderness, fiery devotion, self-dedication, renunciation of lesser goals in life. Direct all of these aspects upward, toward superconsciousness. Visualize, now, the mud out of which the lotus grows, as it lifts itself high into the air to absorb the sunlight. The lotus looks upward, away from the mud of its origins. Yet it cannot deny those origins, lest it die. Think of it as sustained by them—turned away not in contempt, but gratefully, in its aspiration toward higher realities. Do not mentally reject what you’ve been in the past. See God’s presence there also, in the mud of your human origins. See God rising through long, arduous effort to reclaim Himself in the Great Self; God in the sunlight; God as the eternally shining, ever-blissful Sun.
Changing Your Level of Consciousness
(Subconscious, Conscious, Superconscious)
Develop the ability to pass at will from one state of consciousness to another. A helpful practice in this regard is to ally your state of consciousness with the position of your eyes. You will find, when you look down, that the mind tends more easily to drift into subconsciousness. When you look straight ahead, it is easier to shake off sleep’s lethargy. And when you look up, it is easier to soar up into higher consciousness and to feel inspiration.
Practice this exercise:
1) Look down, closing your eyes. Feel yourself drifting downward as if sinking through water—through forests of waving seaweed—ever deeper into a green, misty world of fantasy. Enjoy this pleasant sense of freedom from earthly responsibility, from demanding projects, from fears, from worldly ambitions. Affirm mentally, “Through slowly drifting waters, I sink into subconsciousness.”
2) Now, with a quick burst of will power, open your eyes and gaze straight ahead. Shake off the last clinging tendrils of passivity. Affirm, “With a burst of energy I rise to greet the world!”
3) Remain in that state a few moments. Then look upward and affirm, “I awake in Thy light! I am joyful! I am free! I awake in Thy light!” Practice alternating between these three states of consciousness, accompanying them with a corresponding shift in the position of your eyes. Gradually, you will gain the ability to control your states of consciousness at will.
Moving Energy Through Your Spine
Sit upright with a straight spine. Concentrate in the spine. Remember, the spine is not your backbone (those knobs that you feel along the back). It runs more or less through the center of your body. Feel that as your center. Sway the body left and right. Feel a resistance to that movement in the spine—as though you were perfectly still at your own center. Now, feel yourself breathing in the spine: up with every inhalation, down with every exhalation. Let the movement begin in the region of the heart, starting at a point slightly below it and extending slightly above.
Lengthen the flow gradually, beginning lower in the spine and ending higher up. At last, take a slow, deep breath through the nostrils, beginning at the base of the spine and ending at the point between the eyebrows. Hold the breath at that point as long as it is comfortable to do so. This time, with your exhalation, feel your breath and consciousness soaring out through the forehead, taking you with them into infinite space. Concentrate, now, on infinity. Feel that from your own center all things are cognizable.
Spiritual Eye Meditation
Concentrate at the point between the eyebrows. Visualize there a tunnel of golden light. Mentally enter that tunnel, and feel yourself surrounded by a glorious sense of happiness and freedom. As you move through the tunnel, feel yourself bathed by the light until all worldly thoughts disappear. After soaring through the tunnel as long as you feel to so do, visualize before you a curtain of deep violet-blue light. Pass through that curtain into another tunnel of deep, violet-blue light. Feel the light surrounding you. Slowly, the tunnel walls disappear in blue light. Expand your consciousness into that light—into infinite freedom and bliss. Now there is no tunnel. There is only the all-encompassing blueness and bliss of infinity.
At last, visualize before you a silvery-white, five-pointed star of light. Mentally spread out your arms and legs, assuming with your body the shape of that star. Give yourself to it in body, mind, and soul as you surrender every thought, every feeling to absolute, Self-existing Bliss. Bliss cascades gently over you, like a waterfall of mist, filling your heart with ineffable peace.
Set the photograph of some great saint or master before you. Not a painting, merely: a photograph. Gaze intently into his or her eyes. Attune yourself to the magnetism you feel there. After some time, close your eyes in meditation and try to feel a response in your heart. Feel yourself bathed and uplifted by that person’s superconsciousness. Then pray deeply: “Draw me closer to God.”
Being in Harmony with the Cosmic Choir
Imagine a choir composed of every atom in the universe, each one an individual, but all of them singing together in blissful harmony. In your own mind, join that mighty choir, composed of all life. Determine from today on to sing in harmony with the universe. Don’t impose on the great anthem of life your little wishes for how you want the music to sound. Unite your notes to that Infinite Sound. The more you do so, the more deeply you will know yourself to be an expression of the soaring anthem of Infinity.
Surrendering to the Light
Visualize a great ocean of light—nothing but brilliant, pure, golden light everywhere. Feel that the little ripples on the ocean are ripples of peace, drawing your restless mind into new, delightful rhythms filled with happiness and understanding. Now visualize, slowly rising out of the ocean depths, that particular form of God which you yourself hold most dear. As it rises, see that it, too, is composed of light. It rises from the ocean and belongs to the ocean. Claim it, if you will, as your own, but know that it belongs to that ocean of light. It is yours to the extent that you recognize that light also as your own. Visualize that divinely beautiful form calling you—not to itself, but to that radiant, golden light, which it would share with you. To be embraced by that form is to be embraced by that light. Open your heart, and, with deep love, surrender everything you have, everything you are, to that infinity of peace and light.
Meditation on the Moonrise
It is evening. Mentally watch the moonrise on a boundless lake. Ripples lap against ripples. In endless counterpoint of restless rhythms. Now here, now there—see, a few crests have joined, and the ripples proudly swell, becoming waves. But how fleeting their pride! Watch: See how the waves reach upward, but soon dip to form humble troughs! Bobbing, the waters tell us: “All is change.”
Bright moon-shapes dance upon the water. Like laughing children. They run gaily on a lambent ripple, or pause breathlessly, in shining triumph on a wave crest, ere sinking again in darkness to wait for new life on another rise. Here, too, the fickle moon-shapes say: “All is change.” Now see your mind contained in these boundless, dark waters. the surface ripples are your restless thoughts—conscious and subconscious—your emotions and feelings, dancing, playing, rising hopefully, or sinking in discouragement, proud one minute, humbled the next. Here, too, the waters tell you: “All is change.”
But the moonlight above caught imperfectly on the water’s surface remains ever calm, serene, unchanging. This is the light of Spirit. We reflect it so fleetingly, so distortedly, In our restless minds! Now feel that the calm sky has formed a single, radiant drop of liquid peace. This drop falls, striking the water. Ripples of peace spread outward in all directions, soothing the dancing rhythm of your thoughts. Wave on wave of peace spreads over you until, slowly, your mind reveals not a ripple. Far, far out into the boundless night, no quiver of movement to disturb your calm! And everywhere the moonlight on the water shines—almost as motionless as in the sky above. Gaze upward; release your mind from its watery heaviness. You are now the sky! Moon-rays of your peace spread quietly over the heavens, their calm light reaching out to infinity. You have no boundaries, no physical or mental weight, no need to worry, to struggle, and compete. You are the endless sky! With the cool moonbeams of your calmness, you have claimed the universe, and made it your own. You and the endless light divine are One at last!