See The Triangle

A simple meditation method 

by One Who Visualizes

“Wax on, wax off.” – Mr. Miyagi

Visualization has long been an effective method of increasing our mind’s ability to focus.  Focus in meditation is a useful skill, both in focusing on a SOMETHING and focusing on NOTHING. It’s not something to acquire—you already have it—only something that can be exercised and refined. 

That said, we’d be kidding ourselves to think that increased focus has no applications in every day life. Whether you’d benefit from paying attention as your spouse tells the same story for the six-thousandth time, or just in feeling less scatter-brained at the workplace, increased focus and attention has a ton of practical uses. Along with increased focus, this method exercises the skill of EMPTYING your mind.

Like a bodybuilder who does sets of reps with barbells, we’re going to be pumping mental iron by alternating periods of intense visualization and empty-mindedness. Arnold Schwarzenegger has muscles, but you have MIND POWERS.

A unique meditation style described by a unique teacher who wishes to stay anonymous

What is visualization?

Picture in your mind a white cat with a red balloon tied around its tail, floating off into the stratosphere.

You’ve just visualized—and you’re a horrible person for doing that to a kitty.

Visualization, simply put, is the act of seeing something visually in your mind. It’s often associated with daydreaming and fantasizing, but can also be a very effective tool when used to flex your focus. Just as with the breath awareness meditation, visualization is useful because it requires focusing your awareness on a single point. And like the breath, your imagination is always with you (unless you’re a Hollywood exec).

A handmade knit figurine of Meditato
Meditato Amigurumi available in our store click the pic for details

Imagine the cat again, but this time it’s wearing a yellow sombrero, with a red kite and a blue balloon tied to its tail. Now FREEZE the image in your mind, and hold it for as long as possible without it shifting. Not so easy huh? 

When we visualize, our minds are conditioned to act like more like kaleidoscopes than movie projectors. The images tend to be flooded out by other imagery, just like our thoughts tend to flow from one to the next. Holding onto a single image can be very difficult at first, but like weightlifting, sets of steadily increasing reps builds your mental muscle.

The Routine – No agony, no bragony!

There are two equally important components to lifting weights. The first, lifting weights, is rather obvious—it’s the name of the activity. But a period of rest is also essential, and the same is true with this meditation practice.

Mental effort needs to be balanced with mental relaxation, or emptiness. In this exercise, you will be visualizing an object and holding it for as long as you can. When you lose it, you’ll let your mind become empty and still for as long as you can.

What you choose to visualize is largely up to you, but the more complex the object, the harder it is to maintain. For that reason, it’s suggested you choose something simple, like a shape. You can also use something like a color or a simple word. For this example, we’ll use a simple triangle. Whether it’s solid or an outline is up to you.

You may want to begin with a short meditation to clear your mind and put yourself into a relaxed state. When you feel ready, imagine a triangle.

It can be big or little, green or purple or vantablack, whatever kind of triangle you prefer. Hold it steady in your mind.

< TRIANGLE >

Other thoughts may flash by, but as long as you can maintain the mental image, keep holding it. As soon as you completely lose it, immediately let your mind become empty and still.

< EMPTY >

As soon as thoughts begin to stir again, whether it’s after a second or a minute, form the triangle in your mind again, and hold it.

< TRIANGLE >

And when you lose it again, let your mind become empty again.

< EMPTY >

< TRIANGLE >

< EMPTY >

< TRIANGLE >

< EMPTY >

Repeat this alternating routine four times, then let your mind wander for a few minutes. Think about what went wrong with The Hobbit Trilogy. When you’re ready, repeat the sequence, followed by another period of mind wandering. You can repeat this several times, but when you’re first starting out less may be better.

As your ability to maintain the image then empty your mind increases, try increasing the complexity of the image as well (ex. red ball on a white cloth table, ace of spades card, etc.).

Paired with other methods of awareness meditation, you will likely begin to notice your ability to focus increasing. But it’s not just about being able to focus. Sometimes, the ability to empty your mind—to dump all the chaotic, frenzied shit floating around in there—is even more welcomed. Don’t neglect the second half of the routine with a period of emptying your mind.

Hit the showers!

Visualizing can be a powerful tool for tidying up our mental halls of madness. Therapists often use it with patients to break negative patterns of thought. Athletes use it to help win games. Soldiers use it for strategy and war tactics. Meditators use it to strengthen focus (and summon fireballs).

By alternating periods of intense focus with periods of mental stillness, we can train our minds like a bodybuilder to become better than it was before; better, stronger, faster. And like a puny wimp who wants to become ripped, we start small and get bigger. Simple imagery—shapes, colors, simple words—is easier to maintain in the mental projector at first, with more complexity being added as our focus grows.

Where bodybuilders do it for sweet gains, meditators do it to help in letting go and attaining nothing. And that’s what really impresses the chicks.

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