Author Topic: Difficulty with visualizations  (Read 2175 times)

Offline KarmaPolice

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Difficulty with visualizations
« on: January 31, 2010, 11:46:27 am »
I've listened to a few guided visualization meditations lately. I've found that I have great difficulty visualizing the image the teacher is describing. This doesn't come as much of a surprise to me; I've never been a person who thinks in images or pictures, but in concepts, so visualizing anything has always been difficult. Generally speaking, I'm only able to visualize that which I've already seen, such as a picture or event, and sometimes I can't even do that. Does anyone have suggestions as to what I should do? Perhaps visualization meditation is not for me.
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Offline humanitas

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Re: Difficulty with visualizations
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 11:56:03 am »
I have tremendous difficulty with visualization. My teachers said that it's harder for many people, that there are a. many other techniques to meditation, b. with practice it gets easier.  I don't really apply much visualization anymore as it just tends to stump me and frustrate me for now.  So I count breaths. 

You can try other techniques as this difficulty is probably in the top 10 challenges of meditation for anyone who struggles with visualization. 
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Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Difficulty with visualizations
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 11:58:34 am »
Its strange isn't it.
I think relaxation is the key. If you're trying too hard, and are not relaxed it will be more difficult, same thing if you worry about it.
If I practice Chakra meditation, then visualising red (primary chakra) is dificult, but yellow, 3rd chakra is easy. First I visualise a daffodil, and it follows from there (maybe I stared at a lot of daffodils as a kid!) Yellow is the easiest followed by green. (same order as eye sensitivity)
If I go back to red, after doing the rest, its easier. I think its because I'm more relaxed by then.
Of course it  must vary from person to person.
Don't know if this helps.
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Offline Tsongkhapafan

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Re: Difficulty with visualizations
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 12:08:37 pm »
I've always been taught that we should be satisfied with a rough image and then, as we again familiarity, a more detailed image will naturally develop.

I think perhaps we try to 'see' things too clearly, but holding complex visualizations is not easy.

The main thing about visualization is belief, so if you're visualizing a Buddha, for example, what's important is if you believe there is a real, living Buddha in front of you, not whether you can see the folds in his robes clearly or not.

Offline Caz

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Re: Difficulty with visualizations
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2010, 02:07:38 pm »
I've always been taught that we should be satisfied with a rough image and then, as we again familiarity, a more detailed image will naturally develop.

I think perhaps we try to 'see' things too clearly, but holding complex visualizations is not easy.

The main thing about visualization is belief, so if you're visualizing a Buddha, for example, what's important is if you believe there is a real, living Buddha in front of you, not whether you can see the folds in his robes clearly or not.

Yes this is true a rough generic image will do if you have trouble doing that then the beleif that said deity is in front of you will do, an image will naturally develop with faith and become clearer with familiarity, i was annoyed that i couldnt visualize well when i first started but now it has really picked up the more familar you become the greater faith is developed the better the practise gets.  :pray:
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Offline Tsomo

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Re: Difficulty with visualizations
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2010, 05:37:43 pm »
 :dharma:
About practicing visualizing a deity, or yidam, I have read in a dharma book (I can't remember in which book) that for beginners
using a rather small picture, or small statue is advisable, as well as always following the same given sequence (in the sadhana) of
the to be visualized parts of the Buddha on the picture, avoiding going into details, and doing the the visualization rather quickly.
I am happy to have discovered that a small picture/statue is best to start with.
I was using a poster size print, thinking 'the bigger the better'.

Funny thing is, since I have put a simple picture of the by me to be visualized Amitabha Buddha as screen saver on my mobile phone,
I notice that I can easier visualize Amitabha Buddha now.
Throughout the day my mobile might stop me in my tracks five times or more (incoming texts), and now offers the opportunity to quickly study, in the proscribed sequence, the bright small picture for maybe 5 to10 seconds, until the light goes off.
Sometimes, when walking around the house and my eye catches the mobile on the table, I might stop, do 'an imprint action',
and carry on with whatever. 

All these small doses of imprints have helped me to visualize the outline, lotus throne, color deep red, hair and head, eyes, mouth,
bowl in hands, of Amitabha Buddha more clearly, and little by little I am adding more details.
Wherever I close my eyes a more detailed image of  Amitabha Buddha than ever before, various colors included, appears in my
mind's eye. (I am using a mobile-phone since a year).

What helps me to stay focused when gazing for that short period of time at the picture, is to fast softly recite my mantra, and quickly imbue the two dimensional colorful picture with (my as yet feeble) calm, unconditional loving kindness; sometimes it feels a bit like merging with that aspect of Buddha Nature there and then, because somehow the picture seems to become 'alive'.  :)
I do understand now a days that to help keeping focused, rapid but clear recitations heard by yourself, and swift well focused visualizations are better than slow ones.
I also read that when sitting/standing in front of a big statue/picture of a Buddha loud recitations are appropriate,
and when being in front of a small statue/picture of a Buddha softly spoken recitations are appropriate. 
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Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Difficulty with visualizations
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 05:46:18 pm »
When I have trouble visualizing something I draw it.

I am an audible learner, so visualization for me begins with hearing an explanation rather than seeing it.  If I see something, such as a drawing, or even a written description I must say what I am reading in my head, or discuss what I am seeing by describing it in my head.  Give this a try and see if it helps.

By the way, I am an accomplished musician (woodwinds) and this may be one of the reasons that my mind functions in this way.
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