June’s teaching theme of “Visualization” was developed by Carol Putnam and Silver Frith, Yasodhara Yoga Teachers in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Their reflections were shaped by these thoughts from Swami Radha’s Kundalini Yoga for the West:
Visualization is invoking an image or directing imagination. (p 114)
Sight (inner sight) is strongly linked with concentration. (p 148)
Thank you Carol and Silver.
Developing Inner Sight
1. A very important pair of opposites is the power of positive thinking and the power of negative thinking. Negative thinking exerts such a strong power because of the pushing up of the emotions, which are controlled by the ego. The power of positive thinking needs to get its push from repeated (cultivated) visualizations of ideal responses to situations in the mind’s eye.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 145)
Make a commitment to include one visualization exercise in your daily practice for this month.
Take note of your observations. What feelings arise, physically and emotionally? What thoughts come to mind? How do you see yourself? Is there a change you would like to make?
Below is a list of visualization exercises from which to choose:
Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha
- Visualizing an image of the Most High (male and female counterparts), p 115-116
- Filling your body with Light (body as a mass of Light), p 116-117
- Flame visualization, p 143
- AUM visualization, p 143
- Silver Disk Visualization, p 143
- Visualizing an image of perfection on top of your head, p 143-144
- Meditation on the Light (pinpoint of Light), p 256-57
- Filling the Spine with Light, p 266
- Inhaling white Light, p 266
Living the Practice, Swami Radhananda
- Silver Disk Visualization, p 118
- Flame visualization, p 125
- Expanding Light, p 125-126
- Light filling heart centre (gratitude), p 126
- Filling your body with Light (body as a mass of Light), p 161
- Visualizing Light showering down all around you (as in the Divine Light Invocation), p 137
Hidden Language of Hatha Yoga, Swami Radha
- The Lotus Visualization, p 255
2. Dhanurasana – Bow Pose
…the mystic syllable OM is the bow, the arrow is the mind, and the Higher Self is the mark. Unwavering concentration is the action.
(Hidden Language of Hatha Yoga, Swami Radha, p 110)
- Move into the Bow with the question, “Is there a large target, in the distance, with many intermediate ones along the way?” Draw your experience.
- Take 30 minutes, moving between the Divine Light Invocation and the Bow, asking “Is the main target well defined?” Continue to work on your drawing as insights arise.
- Each day, do 4/4 Breath for 2 minutes, then gaze at your drawing. Close the eyes and visualize your drawing in detail. Write about your experience; at the end of the month, summarize what you have learned.
3. When you have listed desires from the past and noted the influence they have exerted on your life, it is not difficult to see the effect of emotions and imagination, and to understand the need to cultivate and direct both.
(Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha, p 115)
- Reflect on desires in your life. Choose one that comes up repeatedly in your life.
- Note the influence it has exerted. Make a decision to withdraw your energy from this desire and its associated emotions.
- Choose an image that embodies a quality you wish to develop. Describe what this image means to you symbolically.
- Practice bringing to mind the image of the quality you wish to develop whenever you notice this desire emerge.
4. As Arjuna later understands, his friends and relatives are his own personality aspects that have to be killed before he can progress spiritually. And attachment, which is often mistaken for love, must also be overcome in order to achieve the needed concentration.
(Hidden Language of Hatha Yoga, Swami Radha, p 110)
- Reflect on your personality traits and identify a negative personality aspect. Create an image of this aspect – draw or shape it in clay (or materials that appeal to you).
- Work with Kukkutasana, the Rooster Pose. As you do the pose, or visualize yourself in the pose, bring to mind the rooster awakening the sun, dispelling the darkness. Keep your focus on the Light. Make notes.
- As Arjuna understood the need to destroy certain personality aspects in order to progress spiritually, what ritual can you create to support yourself in destroying this negative personality aspect? Notice how the image you have created contributes to this process.
Divine in Our Image
- Close your eyes and let the word “God”, or “The Divine”, come to mind. Write, describing the image that arises.
- In the audio recording, “Divine in our Image”, Swami Radha says:
…you have to deal with this on a very personal level, and really think, when I say this, (God, the Divine) what do I mean? You have to deal with the fact that the idea of God, or the idea of the Divine has already crystallized in your unconscious. And you have to give it time, and the freedom – that means no restriction of what you want it to be – but you have to give it the freedom to emerge from your unconscious. Then only, can you attach such a statement like “reality” to it.
- Once each week over the month, practice 4/4 Breath then Chant Hari Om for 5 minutes, concentrating on the mantra. Sit in silence with eyes closed and invite your image of the Divine to emerge. Write or draw your experience.
- At the end of the month, review your notes. Has your image of the Divine changed? If so, how? Write a reflection on discovering your image of the Divine.
The Divinity Within
1. The practice of visualizing Light is very powerful and creates a feeling of oneness. Light has the ability to make changes on all levels of our being.
(Living the Practice, Swami Radhananda, p 136)
Foster the habit of visualizing Light as a constant part of your daily life. Here are a few suggestions:
- When going for a walk, notice the sunlight all around you and visualize that Light coming in and filling you. Take stock of what is happening at every level.
- When meeting with others, imagine Light pouring down all around you and entering your body and then see those your with surrounded by brilliant white Light. Keep the Light flowing around each person. Notice how you feel and the nature or quality of your interactions.
2. If divinity exists within us, then why do we need to invoke the Divine Light? Because we need to change our old habit patterns of identifying with the mind, the body and the emotions. We need to realize in our heart, with our whole being that we are all one in our divinity and only differ in our awareness of the oneness we share in the Light. We need help in changing our identification…”
(The Divine Light Invocation, Swami Radha, p 27)
- Do three rounds of Sun Salutation while repeating the Divine Light Mantra. Sit comfortably, asking “Who am I?” Write.
- Repeat the Divine Light Mantra 10X audibly, then 10X whispered, then 10X silently. Write.
- Do the Divine Light Invocation and then enter Savasana (corpse pose). Observe the feeling of no resistance or surrender. What is your experience?
- Repeat the whole exercise.
Finally, chant mantra and review your notes. What have you learned about identification?