Is there a difference between visualization and meditation?
Meditation can mean all sorts of different things. It can embrace different practices, different techniques, and different goals.
But usually, meditation involves either training the mind to achieve a benefit or simply to bring some soothing order and structure to our cluttered thoughts. Meditation can range from ways to grow our feelings of relaxation, to create new sources of internal energy, such as chi or prana, and to create the deep ability to concentrate for a long period of time.
It is this use of meditation to improve concentration where visualization techniques often come into play.
Concentration seems like a harsh and rigid concept, where the freedom of flitting from one thought to another has been stripped away, and where the creative benefit of making interesting and innovation new connections between these thoughts is lost.
But concentration is typically more liberating than restrictive, because it allows us to build a barrier to block out unwelcome thoughts, thoughts that can be negative, destructive, or unworthy.
When you visualize, and concentrate on holding an image in the forefront of your consciousness for as long a time as possible, you are practicing one of the many aspects of meditation.
So what exactly is meditation? Here are some of the ways this difficult question has been answered.
The flowering of love is meditation.
Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or Pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.
Meditation is all about the pursuit of nothingness. It's like the ultimate rest. It's better than the best sleep you've ever had. It's a quieting of the mind. It sharpens everything, especially your appreciation of your surroundings. It keeps life fresh.
Meditation is the life of the soul: Action, the soul of meditation; and honor the reward of action.
Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
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