There are two broad styles of meditation: mindfulness meditation and concentration meditation. Beneath these two headings are many schools, techniques and ways of meditating.
Where mindfulness meditation encourages us to let go, concentration meditation helps us to focus our awareness on a concept, thought, image or idea that contributes to our wellbeing in someway.
Many people find concentration meditation easier or more accessible initially as it gives us something to put our energy and effort into. I would also suggest that most of us are far more practiced at holding on than we are at letting go, and it’s helpful to start with something we are already good at :o)
You might already have an image, statue or picture in your home or office that is inspiring or acts as a positive affirmation for you in someway. There are many traditions of using imagery in meditation and most are designed to help you move toward your goals or aspirations.
One technique is to meditate on your ideal self.
Before you begin have some ideas about who your ideal self is, is this someone who is happier, or healthier? Someone who is pain or stress free? Someone who is 5kg lighter or who can run 10k? Who is it that you aspire to be? Does this rest on being able to do something new or are you working on something more fundamental to your self, something that runs much deeper than the size of your jeans?
– Find a comfortable meditation position, preferably a sitting position but it this brings you suffering please shift around until you find some comfort.
– Begin your meditation with your usual techniques, perhaps a body scan for physical relaxation or breath awareness or a combination of these.
– Once you are in your meditative state bring your awareness to rest on an image, a visualisation, of your ideal self. Bring up the colours, the textures of the clothes you are wearing, develop a sense of what it is like to be around this person. Is this someone you would like to spend a lot of time with? How would you benefit from being around this person?
– after spending a good amount of time meditating on your ideal self, bring your awareness back to your present self, the person you are now and begin to track a path in your mind between where you are now and where you are heading to. What changes need to occur in order for your present self to become your ideal self? What are the differences between these two people?
– now bring your awareness to the similarities between your ideal and present selves. Be aware of how far you have already traveled and be grateful to yourself for making this effort and taking the time for your own personal growth and development. Be thankful, on behalf of all of the people you love and interact with, for the person you are becoming.
– finally, imagine your present self and ideal self there in your mind together, perhaps standing side-by-side, perhaps facing each other like an image in a mirror, and watch as these two images begin to merge and become one, begin to invoke the feelings in your body as if you have already become your ideal self. Imagine and feel as if you have already realised this aspiration, as if you have already transformed.
– Then finish by repeating an affirmation to yourself a few times, something like “I am calm and happy”, “I am strong and healthy” whatever best suits you.
Techniques just like this one are used in performance enhancement all over the world in sports psychology, with CEO’s and other corporate leaders and by regular people just wanting to be their best.
Use this technique regularly over a period of time and you will notice a convergence between the present moment and where you are heading. It seems ridiculously obvious to say, but the more energy and effort you put into being the person you want to be, the more likely t is that you will become that person, probably more quickly than you would have thought possible!
With great respect for your potential and the unveiling of your true self