Unable to visualize

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Inge
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Unable to visualize

Postby Inge » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:33 am

I saw this in the "smoking tobacco" thread
Namdrol wrote:
Fa Dao wrote:Is it possible from a Tibetan medical or spiritual standpoint or any other for that matter that smoking could effect my ability to do visualization?...


Yes, by disturbing your wind/vatta/rlung.
...

N


I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.

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Karinos
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Karinos » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:43 pm

I wonder - how do you try to visualize? do you actually try to see it? in 3d picture in your mind?

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catmoon
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby catmoon » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:58 pm

A good way to get a visualization rolling is to work from a real object. You look at the object for a bit (in my case Buddha statue) then close the eyes and visualize it a small bit at a time, then check the visualization against the real thing, rinse and repeat.

Have you tried this? Images of the white A/Ah are readily available on the internet and should print up to a useful size on standard paper.


Something else you can do is put a tiny black dot in the center of the A image a stare at it intently for fifteen minutes or more. Retinal fatigue will set in and the letter will flare up in a surrealistic brightness, sometimes multicolored.The ethereal brightness and unbelievable saturation of the colors is memorable and transferable to visualization.

Btw be prepared for a bit of a shock if you should accidentally look at a white wall after this practice. :D
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Malcolm
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:05 pm

Inge wrote:I saw this in the "smoking tobacco" thread
Namdrol wrote:
Fa Dao wrote:Is it possible from a Tibetan medical or spiritual standpoint or any other for that matter that smoking could effect my ability to do visualization?...


Yes, by disturbing your wind/vatta/rlung.
...

N


I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.


Well, visualize a western Letter A in a thigle. That is fine.

IN terms of deity practice, in Dzogchen, it is sufficient to think you are the deity. There is no need to focus on all details.

N
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Lhug-Pa
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Lhug-Pa » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:52 pm

This could help too, if for whatever reason you ever want to go into more detail:

http://www.fpmt.org/education/programs/ ... e-3.html#4

Additional advice I've read on visualizing our self as the Deity, is to not merely imagine that we are imagining we are the Deity, but to visualize that we actually are the Deity (which you probably already know anyway).

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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby purple rose » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:42 pm

As this topic has turned into a general discussion it has been moved to Alternative Health.

Regards,

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conebeckham
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby conebeckham » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:43 pm

I dunno if this is really an "Alternative health" answer....but I think folks who say they are unable to visualize may be trying too hard, or missing the forest for trees, or something like that...

Anyway--calling an image to mind is something almost everyone can do. If I say, for example, "Think about a Stop Sign" you will call to mind the image of a stop sign. Then, if I say, for example, "now concentrate on the letter "S" on the sign" most people can do this, for an instant or so, at least..... Visualizing deities is the same--one needs to be familiar with the image, and call it to mind. What's hard, much of the time, is thinking of oneself as that image. If such is the case, than recall that it is one's mind that is the nature of the deity, --what is called to mind, as an image, is of a piece with the mind itself.

That advice has helped me, in the past--perhaps it will help someone else.
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Paul
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Paul » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:36 pm

I think Cone is very much correct.

I read this yesterday, which seems excellent advice:

"If we are practicing visualisation and have no expectation, then whatever kind of deity we visualise, we will spontaneously see Wisdom Deity. Too much serious concentration is the cause of grasping neurotic mind." Magic Dance, p51 Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Visualisation does come a lot easier if it's done with a very relaxed attitude.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:57 pm

Inge wrote:I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.
This thread is full of excellent advice. You should also make regular offerings, give alms, do prostrations, recite Vajrasattva, recite this http://vajrasana.org/35buddhas.htm, and make prayers that you attain Shamatha.
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby kirtu » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:18 pm

Inge wrote:I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.


Do you think in images? Can you imagine an image of a circle in your mind?

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Inge
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Inge » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:37 am

kirtu wrote:
Inge wrote:I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.


Do you think in images? Can you imagine an image of a circle in your mind?

Kirt

No I don't and no I can't.

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Malcolm
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:01 am

Inge wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Inge wrote:I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.


Do you think in images? Can you imagine an image of a circle in your mind?

Kirt

No I don't and no I can't.



Hi Inge,

Then just sound A and relax into that state -- don;t worry about the visualization. It is not important.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


So called “sentient beings” are merely delusions self-appearing from the dhātu of luminosity.

-- Ju Mipham

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Inge
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Inge » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:24 am

Namdrol wrote:
Inge wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Do you think in images? Can you imagine an image of a circle in your mind?

Kirt

No I don't and no I can't.



Hi Inge,

Then just sound A and relax into that state -- don;t worry about the visualization. It is not important.


That's a big relief, as this has been a source of frustration and doubt for me. So thank you Namdrol and Kirt, and also the other posters for their advice.

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Fa Dao
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Fa Dao » Tue Jan 17, 2012 5:35 pm

I am also relieved. This was one of the primary reasons that I left Vajrayana practice 20 years ago for Chan. Well, that and that other "advanced" practitioners told me that I couldnt do Dzogchen without first completing the ngondro. Was really bummed about that especially after reading ChNN's book "The Crystal and the Way of Light" so many years ago. Funny how life works, isnt it?
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby zangskar » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:07 am

One thing I found helpful is to walk with closed eyes. This seems to make the mind try pretty hard to imagine what comes ahead, spurred by fear of tripping, thereby forcing a visual image to appear. You could start with something like 5 steps keeping your eyes closed and then 1 step open eyes. But since the object isn't to become world champion of blindwalking then if you decide to try it, be careful, do it somewhere safe, and don't get hurt. :)
I guess you could do other things while trying to keep your eyes closed too. Maybe cooking (except when using knives)?
Best wishes
Lars

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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby mzaur » Thu May 10, 2012 9:14 am

Good discussion!
Why is this in alternative health? lol. Weird place for this.

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mzaur
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby mzaur » Thu May 10, 2012 9:19 am

Inge wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Inge wrote:I have been trying to learn to visualize for a couple of year now, but it is as if I lack the ability to do so. Could this be a result of my rlung imbalance? Is it something specific that can be done in order to overcome this problem.

I feel that much of the practice I try to do is ineffective because I can't do the visualisations. Especially the guru yoga of white A.


Do you think in images? Can you imagine an image of a circle in your mind?

Kirt

No I don't and no I can't.


I find that hard to believe. I was at a retreat and my roommate who was an engineer said he couldn't visualize... He thought that you're supposed to make images out of the light you see behind your closed eyelids. Perhaps you're just doing it wrong. I am not the best at visualization, but i am sure everyone can do it. We all had imaginations as children, and we all dream. It's just a matter of connecting to that same state while awake.

One thing that may help is to look at a candle or something and then close your eyes and 'remember' the image that you just saw. Do it back and forth until you can recall the image. Then try to recall other memories, like what the room looks like, what your dog looks like, then change the image with your intent.

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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Punya » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:41 pm

I'm adding to this thread since I recently heard about some advice Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave to one of his students which I find helpful. It's similar to Cone's comments above. (Apologies if I've got the details slightly wrong but hopefully you get the drift).

CTR: You are a New Yorker, right? Can you picture the yellow cabs on Fifth Avenue?
Student? Sure.
CTR: That's it!

I'm curious about the apparent inability to visualise described by Inge. I would have thought we all have this ability to a greater or lesser degree.

BTW, I don't understand why this thread is in Alternative Health either.
Knowing how to sustain the spontaneity of innate naturalness directly in whatever occurs, without having to fabricate, reject or change anything is extremely rare.
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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby madhusudan » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:53 pm

"My master Dudjom Rinpoche used to say that it does not matter if you cannot visualize; what is more important is to feel the presence in your heart, and to know that this presence embodies the blessings, compassion, energy, and wisdom of all the buddhas. "

-Sogyal Rinpoche

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Re: Unable to visualize

Postby Admin_PC » Sun Nov 22, 2015 5:57 am

Moderator note:
This seems like it belongs more in Meditation than Wellness, Diet and Fitness
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