It seems to me that many people consider meditation to involve elaborate fantasies, imaginings, and visioning in the mind. This seems to be facilitated and encouraged by many guided meditations. I perceive that these kinds of meditation can have many positive benefits in creative pursuits, visualization, and problem solving, to go on adventures and vision quests in the mind. However, I think meditation can offer much more than this.
I perceive that this kind of meditation may not be conducive to bringing the higher benefits that may come from more traditional meditation and contemplation. When one is visioning, one is caught up in the conceptual mind, in the imagination, the world of forms, images, ideas, words, and symbols. The mind’s eye visual systems are extremely active.
But when one brings their mind to silence, to stillness, by focusing on a center point, an object, a singleness of mind, whether it is the breath or a mantra or something else, and continues to gently return their attention to that object when the mind wanders, then eventually something remarkable happens.
That center point will fall away; it will dissolve. Then consciousness is flooded by an awareness of the Fullness of all things and a Union with it all as One. Then one becomes aware of the reality of their Awareness. Then one realizes the illusion and impermanence of the ego, the psychological self, and of what the true Self consists. And this is pure Joy and Love, Infinite and Eternal.
This may not be a popular perspective with many meditation teachers, as many seem to make a part of their living by giving guided meditations. I don’t think there is anything wrong with those meditations, per se, as they have their place, particularly for beginning meditators who are just starting to train their mind, and need continual support and reminding.
But I would hope that people would also be aware of and eventually seek the further exquisite benefits and grace that are available by allowing the mind to become absolutely still and pure, devoid of all those thoughts and images. We may become simply aware and observant of Reality as it is, all sensation, with a mental eye that is single, without any other mental chatter, words, or images. This is where we may reach greater heights and depths of meditation and consciousness, beyond symbols, beyond words.
What do you think? Do you perceive that guided meditations can help one discover these depths still? In what ways? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments.