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Excerpt from "The Best Meditations on the Planet"

by Dr Martin Hart and Skye Alexander

What if I Can’t Visualize?

You’ve probably heard the terms “creative visualization” and “guided imagery” in connection with meditation. One of the problems with these terms is they imply you must “see” mentally what you’re experiencing internally. This is not so.

Just as our physical senses make our outer world real to us, our inner senses make our inner world real. Although most of us have five physical senses, we do not use them equally. Some senses are stronger or weaker than others. For some people, taste is the strongest physical sense. For others it’s hearing, touch, smell, or sight.

In meditation, the same holds true. Some of our inner senses are not as developed as others. Maybe you find it hard to visualize, yet you can hear, smell, touch, or even taste the inner experience. That’s fine. Not being able to visualize in meditation does not limit or detract from the experience or its benefits. The most important experience you have when meditating is the experience of whatever it is you feel.

Most people who claim they cannot internally visualize actually can visualize very well. The static caused by their resistance to meditation––and more particularly, to the potential benefits they may derive from meditation––accounts for their lack of “inner seeing.” Face your resistances as a separate issue; if you process through them using the methods described in this book, you’ll be surprised at how well you can visualize.

A Visualization “Test”

Close your eyes and relax in whatever way is comfortable for you. Take a deep breath and exhale. Do this two more times. Sit quietly for a few moments.

1. Now, imagine the outside of your house or apartment. Is it a single or multi-story structure? What color is the building? What material is it made of?

2. Do trees or bushes grow in front?

3. What do you notice (from your memory) of its exterior appearance? Does it have a porch? What type of windows?

4. Now, change the image you see. Change its color. If the building is white, make it blue. If there are no trees in the yard, add one or two. If lots of trees grow there, imagine the place without trees.

5. In your memory, add or take away various features from the building. You can change anything you like.

6. When you feel you’ve finished making changes, open your eyes.

If you were able to visualize changes to your home in this little exercise, guess what? You can visualize.

From The Best Meditations on the Planet: 100 Techniques to Beat Stress, Improve Health, and Create Happiness-In Just Minutes A Day

Dr Martin Hart and Skye Alexander

Fair Winds Press, 2011, 9784592334599


Dr. Martin Hart is the founder and president of the American Society of Alternative Therapists (ASAT) and has been in counseling and alternative health education for thirty-five years. Since 1978, Dr. Hart has taught meditation both in the U.S. and internationally, at some of the largest corporations in Asia, as well as top colleges and research facilities. He has certified more than 1,700 practitioners in his unique system of counseling and self-healing. His courses and workshops have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the London Sunday Telegraph, and other publications. He has also appeared on national and international television and radio programs discussing his work.

Skye Alexander is the author of more than two dozen fiction and nonfiction books, many in the field of mind/body healing, including 10-Minute Feng Shui, The Care and Feeding of Your Chi, and The Pocket Encyclopedia of Healing Touch Therapies. She has practiced meditation and yoga for 35 years.

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