Knotty Veneer wrote:I think secret to good visualisation is the same as meditation on an actual or object or on the breath - stay focussed but relaxed. If you let your mind wander too much then obviously it will be difficult to maintain a clear visualization. Similarly if your mind is too tight, you will tire and lose the visualization that way.
This is great advice as well. I have been thinking about going back to meditation on the breath, which I set down for a while to focus on other practices. I think I will begin to incorporate a session of this before and after my daily sadhana.
Knotty Veneer wrote:I think it's important to to remember that when visualizing your are not using your eyes so you will not see the deity as you would if they manifested physically in front of you. You can hone in on details or draw back and imagine the entire scene.
Knotty Veneer wrote:Other tips I have found useful, especially if getting distracted, is to "sweep over" the visualization - imagine the details from the top down, then from the bottom up and from left to right and then right to left and so on. It's great if you can rest your attention comfortably on a detail like the seed syllable of the deity but if you can't (and we all have days when it's easier than others), move the focus of your attention around to different aspects of the visualisation like the jewelry, mantra syllables, mudras, retinue etc. Remember too that your point of view is not limited to being in front of the deity - you can go beneath, behind, above or either side. You can move in right up close or even inside - the deity is made of light after all. SImilarly if you visualizing yourself as the deity you do not have to "look the deity's eyes", you can put your awareness outside and view the deity from without.
I am very thankful for these tips. In my practice I was much more focused on trying to visualize everything all at once, all the details, sort of like I was viewing a 3D picture, but I wasn't 'looking around', like you suggest here - beneath, behind, on either side, etc. I will explore this for sure.
Knotty Veneer wrote:When learning a sadhana I often pause just before the section which describes the field of merit and build the visualization in my mind before reciting the text. If I am practising with a group I will often wait until the mantra recitation to build it up if I cannot do it during the recitation of the text.
This is very helpful as well. I have done some of this during sadhana practice at home (pausing to build up the visualization before reciting the text) and have found it to be very effective. During group practice, since we are reciting a text together, I was not able to do this so much at times. I will try what you suggest though, to build up the visualization during the mantra.