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Visualization of the Divine in the Heart Center:
The aspirant should assume his meditative posture, close his eyes gently, and allow the breath to flow smoothly and easily. One next draws upon his imagination to create an attractive image that symbolizes his highest spiritual ideal or concept. He places this image in his heart, where he surrounds the image with an ocean of light, and holds it there, mentally visualizing it. Any beautiful image may be visualized according to the imaginative capacity of the practitioner.
Some of the original visualizations described in the scriptures are so elaborate that it would require many pages to describe a single image. One must build one’s mental image as perfectly and completely as possible, and meditate on this alone. One must remain constant in selecting one image and not change from one image to another. Neither should he change his meditative posture from one day to the next.
At first the mind can be held still only for a few moments; it will constantly pursue other ideas. When this happens, bring the mind back to its focus again and again and continue with the meditation. Eventually one will find the mind becoming less restless. When the mind becomes calm and one-pointed, it abstains from brooding on the external objects. It becomes inward, subtle, and acquires the ability to penetrate those unfathomable levels that were not known before. A one-pointed mind, when it starts flowing inward gradually, penetrates all the levels of consciousness.
While remaining attentive inwardly to the energy of life in the heart, and with the mind and breath stilled and absorbed, light is directed steadily forward without moving the eyelids. The eyelids are opened as if seeing everything, while actually seeing nothing outside oneself. This mudra brings about the absorption of the mind and a feeling of happiness and joy. To accomplish this mudra, gaze steadily forward into space without seeing anything and without blinking the eyelids. The eyelids must be slightly ajar. Adopt a steady stare and contemplate space by rendering the mind void of all thoughts, achieving a state of emptiness. Let no external objects make an impression upon the retina, even though the eyes are wide open.
This practice will bring the breath under control, correct nervous conditions, enable one to overcome fluctuating moods, remedy all undesirable mental states, eliminate self-consciousness, and help one to fully understand what is happening around oneself. When the mind is given this monotonous task, it empties and becomes like a vacuum or magnet. Thus, the internal world rushes into it. This practice puts the mind in a state of watchful waiting, and truth becomes its natural companion. Those whose sleep has decreased through practice and whose minds have become calm will benefit by performing the shambhava mudra.
Sukshma Dhyana: Luminous Meditation
The practice of visualizing one’s image by the shadow method is also called luminous concentration. The method of luminous concentration may also be practiced by fixing one’s gaze in space without blinking. When these practices are perfected, the yogi attains the capacity to create any sort of picture upon a dark screen in order to see what he desires to know. He also attains the power to visualize kundalini, which cannot otherwise be seen due to its subtlety and great changeability. This, however, only takes place after kundalini is awakened.
In kundalini, the jiva appears in the form of a candle flame, and this may also be used for luminous concentration. In the naval chakra (manipura) resides the solar light related to the fire tattva. Concentrating on this light is called the fire meditation. If the student repeatedly visualizes this light until he becomes aware of it throughout the day and feels as if he is walking in this light, he will be able to realize certain siddhis or powers of special value.
The Frontal Gaze
This is a very important practice. It is a good exercise for the unsteady mind and a useful preparation for unmani. One begins by fixing the eyes on the space between the two eyebrows and allows the eyelids to find their own natural resting place. They will tend to remain slightly open with the whites of the eyes visible. This frontal gaze may be practiced either in siddhasana or in any other meditative posture. As in the nasal gaze, those whose nerves are easily excited must practice with caution.
As a result of this gaze, one will be able to visualize the luster and light from within and his attraction to worldly objects will be eliminated. One must suppress the strong desire that will arise during this practice to open the eyes and to look about just for a moment. This is the action of the physical body seeking to express itself and release itself from the control imposed.
Nasagra Drishti: Meditation on the Tip of the Nose
In performing this concentration, fix the gaze on the light visualized at the bridge between the two nostrils with the eyebrows raised slightly. Let the mind concentrate on the energy of life in the heart, as in shambhava mudra. One must think of this life energy inwardly, while apparently looking outwardly. This is a good exercise for the wandering mind, if taken up with zest and practiced faithfully for a few months. One should be aware of the flow of the breath through the optic nerve. Initially this should be practiced for brief periods of time, and one should gradually increase the length of the practice period. Those with weak nerves should not undertake this practice without personal supervision of an expert. This practice is done in siddhasana.