The Benefits of This Meditation
This article explains a three stage meditation on our creative imagination. The aims and benefits of doing this meditation are various:
- It strengthens general mindfulness and overall awareness of the contents of our mind, and gives us a greater appreciation of our own imaginative power
- It develops our concentration and skill in learning how to visualize and hold images in our mind
- It helps us to let go of the thoughts and images in our mind and relax into the deep formless space that lies ‘behind’ the normal daily chatter of our mind.
This meditation can be done in as short a period of time as three minutes, but optimally somewhere between ten and twenty minutes is a good time. Whatever period of time you set aside, your time should be spent equally between the three stages below. So for example in a nine minute meditation three minutes would be spent on each stage.
Stage 1: Watching the Mind and Writing Down its Contents
During this stage I recommend that you actually get a pen and paper/notebook and actually write down all the thoughts, images and feelings that pop up in your stream of consciousness. The point of this exercise is to see and realize clearly how your mind is continually and imaginatively generating thoughts, images and feelings. Whether we like it or not we and our mind are tremendously and powerfully creative. When we start to see this we can start to appreciate and take responsibility for our imaginative creativity.
Stage 2: Focusing and Concentrating on a Single Positive Image
During this second stage simply select one of the more positive and meaningful images that has been flowing through your mind and focus on it exclusively, trying to build it as a clear image in your mind eye. Please note that when I say “image” this includes sounds such as a musical refrain.
For example if I remembered a woodland from my childhood I see and picture myself in that place as clearly as possible, paying attention to the textures, colours, forms, smells, tastes and sounds of that environment. Generating and holding pictures in the mind clearly takes practice at first, but you will find that over time it can be resurrected as a natural skill that we all have.
Initially it can feel a little difficult visualizing because we are so used to having images provided for us by TV and cinema, thus our imaginary powers have become a little lazy.
Stage 3: Relaxing Into the Formless Source of Your Creativity
The final stage of the meditation is to relax your mind as much as possible and allow all images and thoughts to fade from your awareness; so that all is left is the clarity and inner space of your own consciousness. This inner space is actually the hidden source from which all the creative images of your mind arise, very much like the way in which the space and unconsciousness of deep sleep give rise to the inner worlds of dreams. Practice watching and staying with this inner space and clarity for the remainder of the meditation.
© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com
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