People often ask me questions about meditation and visualization. One common question is, “How to visualize or meditate without words?”
Here is a question someone has asked me a few days ago, which is a typical question:
“How can I meditate or visualize without words? My meditations, visualization etc. are always accompanied by explanatory words in my mind, and I find it difficult to remove them.”
Meditating and Visualizing with Words
When you visualize something in your mind, do you use images, or describe in words what you are trying to visualize?
Do you need to explain to yourself what you are doing when meditating?
It is very common for people to use words when they visualize or meditate.
It might seems strange to you, but it’s possible to meditate or visualize without using any words.
The mind has been taught to think in words. This actually is a bit limiting. Pictures for example, can describe more than words. This means that if you imagine something in your mind, you might learn about it much more and faster than when using words.
While looking at a beautiful scenery do you use words to analyze what you are seeing or just enjoy the view?
When in love, do you enjoy the joy of love, or do you try to turn your feelings into words and analyze what you are feeling?
In both situations words are not necessary.
This habit of the mind often distracts the mind and disturbs its concentration. Instead of focusing on the subject of visualization or meditation, you constantly find yourself explaining to yourself what you are doing, or thinking about other unrelated topics.
This happens because the mind is constantly active with thinking, comparing, analyzing and commenting on everything.
This is a deeply embedded habit, and while it is useful for certain activities, you don’t need it when visualizing or meditating. Actually, you focus better without words.
Focus and Attention
Visualization, and to a greater extent meditation, require focused attention, without constantly verbalizing and explaining in words what you are doing.
This means that you need concentration, the ability to focus the mind on one subject and ignoring everything else.
Concentration directs all the energy of the mind toward one aim, one thought, one topic, instead of dissipating it on all kinds of distracting or irrelevant thoughts.
There are no shortcuts to overcome the habit of constantly thinking and mentally telling yourself what you are doing.
To be able to visualize and meditate without repeating words in your mind, you need to train your mind with concentration.
The ability to concentrate the mind is not acquired overnight. Developing this skill is a gradual process that takes time, but if you are earnest you will start to see improvement in a few weeks.
Overcoming, even partially, the habit of verbalizing, of repeating words in your mind, while visualizing or meditating, is a great achievement.
When able to do so, it means that you can direct all your mental energy to the mental image you are visualizing, or to your meditation when meditating.
How to Visualize or Meditate Without Words
Here are a few actionable steps to visualize without using words to describe what you are doing, and to meditate without words.
1. Train your mind with concentration exercises.
2. Before you meditate or visualize, tell yourself several times that you are going to concentrate much more deeply this time, and that you are not going to use words. Repeat and think about these words a few times, every time you sit down to visualize or to meditate.
3. Whenever you catch yourself using words during visualization or meditation, acknowledge this fact. Do not become angry, frustrated or discouraged. Just try to focus more attentively on what you are doing.
4. Cultivation of a peaceful mind is most important for obtaining the ability to hush down and remove distracting and disturbing thoughts.
A peaceful mind enables you to overcome the habit of constant inner verbalizing and inner-talk. In fact, attaining even a small degree of inner peace brings better chances of success with visualization and meditation.
5. When the mind is quiet, you see, understand and perceive everything easier and faster. When constructing a mental image in your mind, just look at the mental image and strive to make it clearer and more detailed, abstaining from using words.
6. When you meditate, just meditate, without explaining in your mind what you are doing or asking yourself whether you are doing it correctly.
“Meditation gives you an opportunity to come to know your invisible self. It allows you to empty yourself of the endless hyperactivity of your mind, and to attain calmness. It teaches you to be peaceful, to remove stress, to receive answers where confusion previously reigned.”
“The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”
“Our thinking minds deprive us of the happiness that comes when we are living fully in the moment.”
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