Apech

Visualisation - any good?

Visualisation - is it any use?  

33 members have voted

  1. 1. Is visualisation a useful tool in meditation or not? Please vote and then post below to give your reasons. Thanks to everyone. (This follows from the Adam Mizner vid discussion thread).

    • Yes, a useful tool in meditation etc.
      16
    • No, it doesn't work.
      3
    • Other
      10
    • Don't know
      4


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Posted (edited)

Just a poll to get your views on visualisation in meditation etc.

 

Please vote and then leave a post below with your reasons if you wish.

Edited by Apech

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Posted (edited)

With practice visualisation extends from imagination into actual sight - lo res to start with but progressively improving and extending up the spectrum from matter to spirit.

 

Sight is actually a two-way process - regardless of whether the eyes are open. 

 

Open eyes - move your eye-beam slowly back and forth crossing the palm of your hand.  Usually the palm will feel warmth.  If not, do it more slowly and with intent.

 

Then run your eye-beam across a smooth floor on to carpet and back.    Feel the change in the eye sensation.  Now do it with the eyes closed.  It still works

 

Now, eyes closed, move your eye beam through the nearest wall and feel for objects/spaces/entities on the other side

 

 

Edited by Lairg
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Posted (edited)

Just have to sort the right information that’s all. Otherwise I’d say visualization can do crazy stuff like create pictures that generate silence. It’s really the step towards efficiency.

 

 I’m fairly certain you can start from visualizing rocks and throwing them somewhere you don’t see them. Whatever you’re running your visualization on will become enormous pretty quickly, and you should be able to survive psychic extremities with your sanity intact.

 

A little more advanced is searching the rocks you don’t see for gold or gemmed objects. Then you’ll start losing your sanity pretty quickly, but hopefully in pleasant circumstances.

Edited by Mithras

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I voted ‘other’, IMO the usefulness of visualisation is entirely dependent on getting the timing and what is being visualised and it’s purpose right, and the chances of these three things coming together are very very low without some sort of personalised psychic guidance. Doing a visualisation without proper guidance can make something happen, but to my understanding what it makes happen can be entirely useless in the grand scheme of things, if not detrimental to the authentic energy body that is the ultimate achievement. 

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Posted (edited)
Quote

How to practice creative visualization

  1. Accept that you have the power to create the world you want to see. ...
  2. Reframe your beliefs into a positive affirmation. If what you want feels far away from your current reality, you might doubt that it’s actually available to you.
  3. Sit in a daily visualization. The next step is to start visualizing! ...
  4. Allow your visualization to become a feeling. ...
www.surfertoday.com/surfing/visualization-how-to-use-m…

I don't have a good definition of visualization. This the closest description that I can come to. Unless, otherwise, someone else can give a better one.
Edited by ChiDragon

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I voted yes because it’s clear to me that many people in multiple traditions have benefited from visualization practices over millennia. The questions for me are who benefits, certainly not everyone, and what is meant by visualization, as we may not all agree on a definition. Any question about whether or not a technique is useful in meditation is dependent on ‘who’ as much as ‘what’ IMO.

 

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Thank you for steering this conversation is a far more useful direction :) 

 

To give my opinion, I voted other, and will explain why

 

The problem, as I see it,  is the use of the term, and  that's what got us into this mess in the first place

 

To visualize, as I have been taught, actually means to see, it does not mean, imagine, create or contrive

 

When you start to develop subtle vision, There is no doubt that these things do not need to be imagined.

 

Moreover, all this talk of colours, lights, etc, this takes on a different meaning entirely 

 

Im going to quote an older post I made about 15 months ago, and follow up on it now

 

Quote

I think the confusion with visualization is what it is used for, what it can do, and where the mistakes are

 

Very often you hear visualise the qi moving this way, or visualize this beam of light, or these currents/colours running in and out

 

The problem, from what I have understood with that is two fold...and this is just an opinion

 

Firstly, it is engaging the mind in a way that can be counterproductive to practices involving energy....by the way of over-engaging the mind with a mental "stimulus"...The second issue, is that it can lead to false sensations....I don't think elaboration is required there

 

That being said, I'm fairly certain visualization is not entirely useless. For example it can be used productively in certain cases to train certain mental qualities as it is done in certain Buddhist lines (though its been relayed to me that this is only initially) , but my guess is that, it is the distinction between training a mental quality vs working with energy that people fail to make.... but if one is training a mental quality, then it may lend itself to other practices later on that do involve the physical energetic bodies....I assume this is a sequencing issue?

 

What further muddies this line is that in deeper meditative training, you do start to see very strange things. Colours lights etc...but what seems to have happened is wires appear to have been crossed, and so,  the understanding of the causality chain is incorrect

 

Before the misunderstanding

 

Person begins meditation -  Person's visual field becomes engulfed in white light

(Cause/Action)                                    (Effect/Response)

 

After the misunderstanding

 

Close your eyes a visualize a white light engulfing you in order to sink into a meditative state

                                 (Error)        (Effect/Response)                                                 (Cause/Action)

 

Based on my own practices and experiences, this is very much the case.

 

The stuff you see heard and spoken of are exactly as Adam said. Real as real can be

 

I would also add that, not only is imagination not needed, in some cases practice may not even when it happens. It just sets up the conditions. The effects aren't always so sudden. For example, you could be walking through a park and "whack", right there, eyes fully open. (not saying its always this way, but it can be like this rather) 

 

This is why Adam is saying, if you want to imaginary practice, you'll get imaginary results.  Because seeing something is very different to imagining it

 

Based on all of the above, allow me to return to the question

 

Quote

Is visualisation a useful tool in meditation or not?

 

To be able to absorb into a non contrived image of something in the subtle vision that isn't imagined but rather, arises, I would say yes, it is a useful tool to work towards meditation.

 

But my definition both visualization and meditation of is very different from most peoples

 

To answer the question as it would be understood by others, I would personally phrase the question more as

 

Quote

Is imagination a useful tool in the development of certain mental qualities

 

In this case I would say it can be useful for the development of concentration. I know of a few who use these methods and have managed to deepen their concentration skills, and I know one or two of the methods myself

 

Personally I prefer to use a different approach, one that uses concentration in a different manner, but that's personal preference in one sense, and also instruction in another. 

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Context matters.

 

Visualising the movement of qi does not work. I had done years of this sort of practice - subtle sensations happened, yes - but real qi is about as different to visualised qi as a visualised slap in the face is different to a real slap in the face…

 

Visualisation is directly the opposite to what I’d call meditation (samadhi, Jhanna etc)… just as mental arithmetics is diametrically opposed to mental stillness.

 

I have, however, used something like visualisation for mental practice - to sharpen the mind, increase mental concentration, work with memory functions etc. That works. 

 

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I don't think there is big difference, if at all, between feeling something in various parts of the body, and visualising certain things like colours, shapes, etc. Both are senses and I can't understand why one type of sense would be preferable to the other. Ideally we need to cultivate all of them.

 

I still voted for 'Other' to highlight two things. First - visualisation should not be used as imagination. Pure imagination is just a waste of time. Second - visualisation could become a waste of time either if it becomes a goal. As any somatic experience, BTW. 

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Posted (edited)

I agree that context matters, and so do definitions. 

 

One thing that is seldom mentioned is that we are typically engaged in forms of visualization and imagination all the time. This is exactly what delusion is: projecting something unreal and taking it to be real. This can be simple, for instance, projecting various negative motivations into other drivers on the highway. Or it can be complex, such as imagining that we and the world around us aren't in a state of constant change. Anyone who is not fully realized is engaged in some level of delusory imagination. So it isn't a matter of imagining or not imagining--- we're constantly imagining already. 

 

So it isn't really a question of imagining or not--- it is more of a question whether the tendency can be studied and co-opted for spiritual purposes. 

 

 

 

Edited by forestofemptiness
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Adam Mizner says that if you use imagination as a meditative technique you'll get an imaginary result.  That's a snappy line but doesn't comport with my experience.  I believe that in some contexts, for some people, "imagination becomes reality."  

 

(Adam also says that men should not cheat on their wives because cheating leads to guilt and guilt is an obstacle to meditative stillness.  He's clearly a hardcore meditator.  When most wives think about reasons for marital fidelity, jhana isn't uppermost in mind.)

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12 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

we are typically engaged in forms of visualization and imagination all the time. This is exactly what delusion is: projecting something unreal and taking it to be real.


Yup. Well said.

 

Wouldn't dropping visualisation in this context be taking us closer to meditation (or even just stillness)…

 

And wouldn’t adding a whole other layer of contrived visualisation be taking us further from meditation and closer to delusion?

 

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I’m curious why people get so sensitive around visualisation…

 

Is it a case of sunk cost fallacy? As in ‘well I’ve spent the past 15yrs visualising - and I’m doing alright by my reckoning - so the anti visualisers must be wrong’.

 

Is it the case that they’ve never made it past the mind in their internal practice - and so never experienced anything other than imagination/visualisation?

 

Is it coz a teacher/tradition they’ve grown fond of teaches using visualisation, and so questioning its validity would be like stabbing them in the back?

 

To me, it was SUCH great news that all this stuff isn’t based in imagination! It’s like I finally could access a whole new world of direct experience - even though I kinda got humbled and had to admit to myself I’d wasted years on imagining results… 

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

I’m curious why people get so sensitive around visualisation…

 

Most humans develop clairsentience (feeling energy) before they develop clairvoyance (seeing energy).

 

It may protect one's ego to declare that what is not yet developed is not so important

 

 

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My observation is that different people need different things at different times. Some aren’t ready to drop all supports right away. Whatever gets us closer is valid and precisely what we need in the moment. When we are ready to let go, I trust that we will. Until then it is good to work with what we can access in ourselves and with whatever methods our karma provides, here and now.

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I’m agnostic.

 

It’s not a technique I’ve been taught, and I have no experience with it.

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3 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

Adam also says that men should not cheat on their wives because cheating leads to guilt and guilt is an obstacle to meditative stillness. 

 

Can we do a poll on whether cheating on your wife is a useful tool in meditation next? :D

 

(Is this an all-male fraternity, by the way...?)

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Just a quick question. If I'm holding a ZZ stance and I imagine a gentle wind blowing against me, is this visualisation?

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The general view of meditation is that the one who engages with/in meditation withdraws engagement with the very limited range offered by the six sense faculties and takes on an inner path or journey.... a flighty, limitless vista as vast as space unfolds before the  meditator...

Buddafields, pure lands, bejewelled heavenly realms where tutelary deities and spiritual guides await to offer blessings and to reveal spiritual maps and treasures, to offer sacred union.... an endless array of delights for the spirit that can be accessed for the purpose of inner fulfillment and progress. 

 

The opposite of this, in some instances, and for some seekers and practitioners, is to sit in blankness, like drudgily walking in circles in an acrid, arid desert desirous of arrival upon an oasis. 

 

There's always a choice. 

 

I voted yes. 

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I wasted fifteen years practicing this technique and my meditation didn't start to improve until I realized that practicing those was a waste of time

 

我浪費了十五年練習這種技術,直到我發現練習那些都是浪費時間之後,我的靜坐才開始進步

 

Meditation should be to let the energy evolve naturally, so that the more you practice, the deeper you will be

The intervention of any technique will only create more obstacles

 

靜坐冥想應該是要讓能量自然演化,這樣才能越練越深入

任何技巧方法的介入,只會製造更多的障礙

 

 

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8 hours ago, freeform said:


Yup. Well said.

 

Wouldn't dropping visualisation in this context be taking us closer to meditation (or even just stillness)…

 

And wouldn’t adding a whole other layer of contrived visualisation be taking us further from meditation and closer to delusion?

 

 

The impression I get, is it like saying, I think I'm going to break my addiction to drugs, by, taking more drugs 

 

Actually, what I am going to do, is take myself away myself and take these stronger drugs and make sure there is as little outside interference as possible so I can get a stronger effect off of said drug.

 

Maybe if I am persistent enough, I will be able to control the effect the drug has on me

 

Im not sure how this computes, but to each their own really

 

8 hours ago, freeform said:

I’m curious why people get so sensitive around visualisation…

 

Is it a case of sunk cost fallacy? As in ‘well I’ve spent the past 15yrs visualising - and I’m doing alright by my reckoning - so the anti visualisers must be wrong’.

 

This is probably the biggest reason I've seen. It is peppered throughout so many texts that it is impossible to get away from. You have the academics writing about it, false teachers writing about it. So its almost expected that people looking, naturally run into this immediately

 

8 hours ago, freeform said:

Is it the case that they’ve never made it past the mind in their internal practice - and so never experienced anything other than imagination/visualisation?

 

Like you said, the "slap" in the face is probably as good as an example as any. There are few people who like to get hit though. Plus, in the context of applying Yijinjing principles, its bloody uncomfortable.

 

People like to relax. You tell them that every move feels like a puppet being manipulated and all these weird tension lines pulling in different directions. Its a lot of hard, tough graft, and a lot of folk dont want to go through that to be perfectly honest

 

8 hours ago, freeform said:

Is it coz a teacher/tradition they’ve grown fond of teaches using visualisation, and so questioning its validity would be like stabbing them in the back?

Most people are vessels for teachers, and just swallow their words, unquestionably. Belief forms

 

The good thing about having a teacher who teaches you in a non-dogmatic way, is they will give you a method, and let you go and experience it yourself.

 

Belief isn't required here in my own experience :) 

 

8 hours ago, freeform said:

To me, it was SUCH great news that all this stuff isn’t based in imagination! It’s like I finally could access a whole new world of direct experience - even though I kinda got humbled and had to admit to myself I’d wasted years on imagining results… 

 

We do seem to live in a time where imagination seems to be the most important factor driving peoples beliefs about things. Given that, I am not surprised by Adams comments regards this being a symptom of the Kali Yuga

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, freeform said:

I’m curious why people get so sensitive around visualisation…

 

I just think sometimes it's just a question of who do you believe more: a tradition that has endured for hundreds or thousands of years, and produced many sages, or the casual dismissal of Adam Mizner or Damo Mitchell.

 

I think there are very few, if any, people in the world who should be able to claim the final word on anything relating to these arts. 

Edited by Vajra Fist
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Is visualization a tool in meditation?   I would say it depends on the end goal  and depends on the stages.   If the goal is more towards to "emptiness" (or meditation traditionally means), visualization can only be used in the initial stage.  Because it still activates the conscious mind.  If the goal is related to other things like magic, healing...  Then visualization is rather useful or even essential.

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15 minutes ago, Vajra Fist said:

 

I just think sometimes it's just a question of who do you believe more: a tradition that has endured for hundreds or thousands of years, and produced many sages, or the casual dismissal of Mizner or Damo.

 

That is a somewhat troublesome statement for a few reasons

 

#1 Both have instruction in traditions that have existed for said amounts of time

#2 Have you seen these sages? Or are you just going on what are essentially stories? I don't mean this disrespectfully, but you can head right on up to any event Damo or Adam run, and see what they are all about. 

#3  If these stories are true, How do you know those teachings are presented as they were taken to get there? Does it require more faith? 

 

Having had some access to a very old Buddhist discipline, Adam and Damo's sentiments were shared, and emphasized. By a person who has no knowledge of either of them.

 

However, there has already been something published on this which has, yet again confused the cause effect relationship and claimed that a bunch of visualizations are needed, when in fact the actual practice was nothing like that at all.

 

I'm not surprised really, but then, this has only been happening since forever.

 

It doesn't take long to see where Adam and Damo are coming from, when you've literally seen it play out in another area that neither are involved in (or perhaps not even aware of. I'm not sure)

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10 hours ago, freeform said:

I’m curious why people get so sensitive around visualisation…

 

Is it a case of sunk cost fallacy? As in ‘well I’ve spent the past 15yrs visualising - and I’m doing alright by my reckoning - so the anti visualisers must be wrong’.

 

Is it the case that they’ve never made it past the mind in their internal practice - and so never experienced anything other than imagination/visualisation?

 

Is it coz a teacher/tradition they’ve grown fond of teaches using visualisation, and so questioning its validity would be like stabbing them in the back?

 

To me, it was SUCH great news that all this stuff isn’t based in imagination! It’s like I finally could access a whole new world of direct experience - even though I kinda got humbled and had to admit to myself I’d wasted years on imagining results… 

 

When I first had a meditation teacher - he gave me a visualisation to do.  I struggled with it for months and completely failed to stablize the image or get anything out of it.  I even went to another teacher who gave me some unhelpful advice.  Eventually I was chatting to a friend, also a meditator, and he said why not forget about the visualisation and just focus on a point in your mind?  I did this and quite quickly started having break through experiences.  So in this case visualisation acted as a barrier.  My teacher wasn't skilled enough to recognise what was happening with me.

 

Years later when I took up Buddhism they told us to do a lot of visualisation - which I didn't take at all seriously.  I just went half heartedly through the motions thinking 'when do we get to actually sit and practice?'.  But after a while I realised that the trick was not to put great mental effort in constructing the mandala (or whatever it was) but just to put it there in front of you - in the same way as when someone says think of a tree, you see a tree in your mind.  (I know there are people who can't do this but most people can).  From then on something clicked in that my awareness was expanding, if you like, or that there was a whole other dimension to meditation which I had missed.  So whereas a few years ago I would have voted no, I now vote yes (to my own poll).

 

 

 

 

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