Meditation and visualisation techniques should fit together like a hand into a glove. Many people enjoy meditation as a method of relaxing, finding inner peace, self-healing and reducing daily stress levels. However, the visualisation dimension of mediation is hard to describe for many meditation practitioners, as they feel that it is a natural part of the whole process. We are going to take this concept a stage further and separate meditation and visualisation techniques. Specifically, we are going to focus on 2 visualisation techniques and add some yoga poses into the mix. It is then up to you if you want to add them to your meditation time or to keep both disciplines separate. Ultimately the choice is yours…
1. The Dickens Process (DP)
Close your eyes and enter into the corpse, staff or mountain pose and let’s begin the journey. The Dickens Process is a method of transformation and change. It is based around the Dicken’s character scrooge, when he meets the ghost of Christmas future and it shows him what the future holds, if he carries on with his the way that he is. This flash forwards causes so much agony, that he alters his life forever and it affects all of his family and himself in such a positive way!
The Dickens Process works on changing three levels: the consciously, subconscious and emotional. It works on what we should be doing in life and what needs changing for the better. Unfortunately, as human beings sometimes we never change. The main rationale behind this resistance to change is little or no emotional attachment to the negative beliefs, thoughts or behaviours associated to the change (1).
However, if you can fully relate to the huge pain of a limiting behaviour pattern, then this will give you enough momentum to change it. The additional part of the pattern should be placed with an empowering alternative and you will be ready to move the change. It becomes easy to replace a limiting pattern, once you have enough momentum and leverage to make the change. When using the Dickens Process, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your life right now?
- What is the missing parts your life?
- What barriers stop you from making progress?
- What emotional barriers to you have that slows down your progress?
- How does your behaviour stop you from making progress?
- Do you have restricting beliefs?
Try to focus on the emotional attached of the pain, in terms of what you are missing out on at the moment. Then lift above your life, look down on your life and to see it above the stream of time. Then travel backwards and drop into to a place of pain and regret that you would like to change. Focus on the sights and sounds of the moment and try to emotionally associate with it, as if it were starting all over again.
Still above the stream of time, travel back to the present and evaluate what your limiting beliefs and patterns have cost you. Then move forwards three months in your live and evaluate what your limiting patterns have cost you, because of your resistance to change.
Then travel backwards to the future after you have visualised changing your limiting patterns, beliefs and behaviours. Relate the huge passion and pleasure that you feel due to removing these patterns forever. Really focus on changing the parts in your life, that need changing!
Research has indicated that anchoring can help you with weight loss, addiction and mental disorders such as anxiety (2). Anchoring is a very simple way of allowing you to change any unwanted feelings to resourceful feelings within a short period of time. Think of a desired emotional state how you want to feel and then recall a particular time when you felt that desired feeling.
The next step is to recall a powerful example of this particular emotion by reliving memories that were dominated by this desired emotion via visualisation. Visualisation allows you put yourself back into the experience, as if it were happening right now. Also absorb the smell, visualise what you can see and hear all the noises, associated with that memory.
You may feel a peak and dip in this desired emotion and is this natural. Hold this peak emotional state for as long as possible and make a hand gesture. Then release the anchors and break this emotional state. During the breaking of this state, think of a completely different emotion and change your posture from the corpse pose into the staff pose. Go through this whole procedure about six times, as this builds a very powerful anchor and repetition is vital for the success of anchoring.
Test the power of the anchors using gestures and words that evoked the desired emotional states; this will determine whether or not you are in the ‘zone’. You will be able to determine the success of the anchor within 10-15 seconds, and if the anchor is unsuccessful don’t be afraid to start the visualisation stage over from the beginning, with a new experience. The following list is an overview of successful anchoring:
- Attempt to anchor an intense state and strong experience.
- Select a feeling that is pure and not mixed with other feelings.
- Timing is absolutely vital, use the anchors before the desired emotional peak and release before they dip.
Allow 15-25 minutes of anchoring per session, the main objective is for you to use the anchor when you want to reach that desired state. This can be done without anyone else noticing. In terms of using anchoring for weight loss, addiction or taking back control a part of your life; visualise the emotional state that you want to control. When you feel that you want to take back control, fire out the anchor that you have been working on. This will take some time to master, however during each session work through the key emotional states that are interrelated to your life goals.
Think of how these emotions, are relevant to your life goals and how they are causing barriers. A good strategy is to make notes on how you are feeling, when you have used these anchors and any triggers that have instigated the use of these anchors. This procedure may be alien at first but it will soon become second nature, and you will start to use more emotional anchors in many different scenarios.
Set an initial target of using three anchors per day, and when you become more skilled in using this approach; you will be amazed at the control that you have on many issues in your life.
The Yoga Exercise
Why not try these 3 yoga poses and equal breathing when you performing both of the visualisation techniques. By changing your body positions will help you to add another dimension into your visualisation and meditation sessions. Yoga is an excellent activity, when combined with meditation, as it helps you to enter into a state of ‘visualisation’.
1. Corpse Pose
Advice on Technique
- Start by laying back with your knees bent, feet flat to the floor and arms out to the side
- Gently lift your hips and start to lengthen the pelvic area, slowly lower the hips back down
- Release one leg out fully at a time and have them slightly apart
- Bring your arms out to 45 degrees by your side
- Close your eyes and relax and focus on your breathing
- As you breath focus on the feeling in your body sinking into the ground
- Starting with your toes start to scan the body for any tension and relax
- Roll the outer thighs out to the side as you relax the pelvic area
- Feel the heaviness in the whole of your body as you slowly breath
- Keep the neck, shoulders and face relaxed including the jaw bone
- To release from the pose start to slowly move the fingers and toes, gently moving the arms and legs.
2. Mountain Pose
Advice on Technique
- Begin by standing tall with your legs hip width apart
- Feet flat to the floor and begin to press your weight through your feet into the floor
- Keep the thighs strong without locking out the knees
- Hold your body tall and strong with your arms strong by your side and hands stretched out
- Open up your chest by rolling your shoulders blades up and down your back
- Keep the neck tall yet relaxed and your face looking forward with a relaxed jaw.
3. Staff Pose
Advice on Technique
- Begin by sitting on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you
- Hold the torso tall and straight with shoulders rolled up and dropping back to open up the chest
- Keep the neck relaxed with the face looking straight ahead
- Without engaging the core engage the thighs into the floor slightly rotating them towards one another
- Flex the ankles as you push into the heels
- With a tall torso and engaged thighs hold the pose for as long as you can.
4. Equal Breathing
Advice on Technique
- This exercise can be done either sat down on a chair or the floor or lying down
- If you are sitting on a chair make sure you are sat upright with your shoulders rolled back and relaxed, have your feet flat on the floor, legs slightly apart
- Have your hands relaxed on your thighs with palms facing upwards
- If sitting on the floor sit legs crossed with an upright torso, hands relaxed on your knees, with palms facing upwards
- If choosing to lay down, make sure you are laid on a flat surface, legs slightly apart with your feet relaxed
- Have your arms at your side, slightly away from the torso, palms facing upwards
- You may want a small cushion for your neck or lower back
- Once you have chosen your desired position, gently close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
- William L.GardnerClaudia C.CogliserKelly M.DavisMatthew P.Dickens (2011). Authentic leadership: A review of the literature and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly Volume 22, Issue 6,