The Power of Visualisation Can Aid in Overcoming the Limits of the Logic-Bound Mental Consciousness in Achieving Realisation in the Spiritual Endeavour and the External World

The mental being tends to accept that if it has an intellectual understanding of something, that it has ‘accomplished’ that thing. It does not tend to concern itself with the vital or physical world per se, and thus, if it ‘knows’ that it is one with the rest of the universal creation, or if it ‘knows’ that it has had an experience of liberation from the ego-consciousness, it accepts that it has ‘accomplished’ the task at hand, even though the external nature, and particularly the physical and the vital consciousness, remains mired in duality and the sense of being ensnared in the material world.

The mind tends to work using the logical thought process and thus processes its activities most of the time in a linear, sequential fashion based in language. When a seeker recognises these limitations and tries to shift the mental paradigm, a number of paths have recommended and described a process of visualisation as a mechanism to aid in making the consciousness take hold of external forms more precisely and powerfully. The Tibetan Buddhist path, in particular has highly detailed visualisation exercises, using mandalas or thangkas or detailed constructs that the mind has to build to visualize certain forms, forces, deities and specific locations within oneself, specified colors and shapes, etc.

Some people have determined that the power of visualisation also aids in the realisation of actions in the external world. Modern-day science has applied this concept in particular to various sports, where the participant is asked to visualize the steps, the strokes, the development of the process, and thereby to create a formation for the eventual action to be realized.

Others have recognised this power and used visualisation to achieve success in many fields of outer endeavour, even though the best use of this power is to apply it to the spiritual activity, to use it to, for instance, move the awareness to the psychic being, or to visualise the rising of the coiled force at the base of the spine through the various chakras to join the individual human consciousness with the divine consciousness residing above the head in the 1000-petalled chakra that can be experienced there.

The Mother notes: “Some people are just intellectuals; for them everything is expressed by ideas and not by images. But if they were to go down into a more material domain, well, they risk not touching things in their concrete reality and remaining only in the domain of ideas, remaining in the mind and remaining there indefinitely. Then one thinks one is making progress, and mentally one has done so, though it is something altogether indefinite.”

“The mind’s progress may take thousands of years, for it is a very fast and very indefinite field, which is constantly renewed. But if one wants to progress in the vital and physical, well, this imaged representation becomes very useful for fixing the action, making it more concrete. Naturally it doesn’t happen completely at will; it depends on each one’s nature. But those who have the power of concentrating with images, well, they have one more facility.”

Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Visualization for Discovering One’s Being, pp. 131-134

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