A Conversation about Visualization [ December 2003 ]

Shakta 1 [S1]: In a lot of things visualization plays an important part especially in healing and Sadhana. We are to visualize Devi etc. Now my question is how do we visualize. It is said if you look at the image and try to visualize it inside, it's like looking in thepast. How does one visualize the present? I am trying to understand this visualization with body and mind connection.

Shakta 2 [S2]: Yes that is so. Sadhana is 100% visualization

Shakta 3 [S3] why do you say visualization is like looking into the past?

[S2] What S1 meant probably is "like remembering"

[S3]: I would say this you both know my voice, you've both seen my photo (just as you've seen representations of Devi), and I can tell you my exact height, and what I am wearing right now and etc. A dhyana, so to speak. What I am holding ...what my surroundings are, and I can say, now S1 visualize that I am not typing to you right now nor is S2 but we are all sitting together in a room, a white room, flooded with sunlight. The smell of flowers wafting from outside; the sounds of birds specific flowers, specific birds and all of this is happening right now, at this moment look to your right, you see S2 looking back at you, mildly entertained by my chatter. Look to your left, I am looking back at you gabbing away.

[S1] But isn't that remembering. Hw do we know the flowers smell like, its part of the experience we have before and the flowers might not smell the same now.

[S3] No, it is now. You know what I look like. You have never seen the clothes I am wearing, but I will describe. You've never been in this room before, but you will make it real and we are talking now, at this moment, the rose has a scent; the hibiscus has a scent They evoke certain feelings and memories in you every time you smell them, and yet they are new each time. Each time we meet, you bring your memories of me accumulated over two years or three, which help you, contextualize what I am saying.

[S1] But doesn't evoking this feeling is remembering. The mind remembers all these. A past experience we had once.

[S3] But each time we meet is new. You use memory to deepen the experience and add new layers of meaning and subtlety.

[S2] I could never have said it in such depth.

[S3] Your memories of me are not false, but I am adding something new today, your visualizations of Devi are not made of new components; but that is as it should be -- she is older than Time, but each time is new.

[S1] Now this is the statement I got "they look at the picture of their chosen deity and close their eyes and try to remember what they have seen, this holding to the past event"

[S2] ok? Then visualize? Then you get the PICTURE of Devi not Devi.Look at the picture then give life to it.

[S1] Visualization must come from within; you create the picture inside the mind?

[S2] Then GIVE life; make her come alive just like you and me and S3.Alive with thoughts emotions. That forms the basis.

[S1] What is the difference between visualization and meditation?Aren't they the same?

[S3] Focused visualization is a kind of meditation but meditation is not necessarily a form of visualization. You can meditate on a flame or counting or on just trying for blankness. Visualization is of the school that you give your brain something to keep it busy one- pointed. I think it works for Shakta approaches, because you are embracing rather than rejecting the natural. The brain doesn't want to be empty any more than the body wants to be tortured. The renunciation torture, mortifies the body; reins in the brain -- it is a philosophy of control and conquer the natural. I think we say, let the brain and body do what they love to do -- but let us focus these movement toward the glorification of Devi.

The brain may think and create -- but it thinks and creates Her. The body may do what it does -- but every function and act becomes Her worship as Saundarya lahari sez

[S1] So can I say then that visualization is an active state and meditation is a passive state, because if you visualize you are creating a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious.

[S3] No meditation can be many things -- active or passive, visualization is a subset of meditation, but not vice-versa. The mind responds strongly to habit, repetition, and primal symbols.Visualization pushes all of those buttons, once again, giving body and brain what they want, but focused on Devi rather than denyingwhat they want gentle direction rather than radical denial.

[S1] Visualization works well with people who are visual. People who are able to form an image etc How about those who are not and having problem trying to visualize even a fire or light? If you try to force yourself to visualize its like unreal. Visualization should be natural,

[S3] That is not an uncommon problem; there really are people who can't do it.

[S2] Every one can visualize some take longer that is all.

[S3] It is like modern educational theory. It depends on whether you're a traditionalist.

There are tactile learners, visual learners, aural learners, and one other group. Modern educational theory says if you try to force a student who is not visual to learn visually ... they may learn something ... but never reach their full potential.

[S1]. Or they form a distorted image.

[S3] There are websites on this: "Your student's style"

"People obtain information through their senses. How they interpret and assimilate information is a function of their personality and which side of the brain they prefer to use. The acquisition styles of the senses are labeled as visual, aural, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory. If you acquire information through sight, you are a visual learner. If you acquire by listening, you are an aural learner. Touchier are tactile learners, smellers are olfactory learners, and tasters are gustatory learners. This does not mean that your preferential style excludes all other senses. Most people are visuallearners. The number could be as high as 75 per-cent. The next largest group is the aural learners, and then tactile learners. It seems the principles would apply to meditation technique as well

[S2] Yes it does

[S3] Incense helps smellers right -- and fruits and flowers. The statue of the deity might be more appropriate than a flat painting, for the tactile learner. Don't know -- I am just guessing; tossing around ideas

[S1] So what you are saying that for non-visual learners we used other methods to enhanced the sense like using incense or music and through this stimulation of senses images are created.

[S3] Yes, something to help their bodies and minds create the necessary visualizations more naturally. You're just acknowledging that everyone is a little different, and making some allowance for that.

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