In Part One of this article I talked about the how of concentrative meditation and it's general results. Now I want to talk about how you can use this form of meditation for specific purposes.
Affirmations and Creative Visualization
I'm sure most of you have heard of and maybe used affirmations and creative visualization. An affirmation is a positive statement that embodies a personality characteristic you want to develop or something you want to exist in your life. You repeat this statement over and over to until your mind makes it part of its programming and begins to create the reality that it embodies. Creative visualization is similar except that instead of working with words, you work with visual imagery. You build up the image of a desired state and concentrate on it. Eventually the mind makes it part of its programming and begins to create the reality that it embodies. The highly focused, alert state of consciousness that concentrative meditation creates is perfect for the use of affirmations and creative visualization.
Stages of Meditation
Meditation goes through a number of stages. In the beginning you are easily distracted. Many thoughts and images flow into your awareness. Your body develops itches. Washing the dishes can become very important to you. As time goes on and you acknowledge these things, but refuse to follow up on them during your time of meditation, they begin to give up and it becomes easier to focus on your object of meditation. You reach a state where you are aware of what you are meditating on, and yourself meditating, but that is all. As you further advance in your practice you become aware only of the object of meditation. Just as with the other distractions, your sense of I recedes from consciousness, though you retain full awareness.
This is why concentrative meditation is invaluable in the use of affirmations and creative visualization. Whatever you meditate on is a verbal or visual belief. During the process of meditation you are automatically incorporating that belief into your world view. The better your meditation is going, the stronger the belief becomes in your system of beliefs. It becomes more likely to actually become part of your personality or life.
It is here that the thoughts and images that occur to interrupt your meditation assume greater importance. Beliefs and attitudes constellate together to form interlocking structures. As you concentrate on your affirmation or visualization attitudes and beliefs that you currently hold about what you are trying to achieve will rise to awareness. Again, don't let them distract you, but do remember them to think about and work with later. These current beliefs will shape the form in which your desired state will come about, or even show you why it won't come about.
Say you perceive yourself as impatient with your children. You develop an affirmation that says I am patient in dealing with my children. You meditate on this affirmation, and while you are meditating you see an image of yourself getting angry with your child when you see the clothes they left all over their bedroom floor. You know now that this is one circumstance in which you will find it harder to maintain your patience, and may want to modify your affirmation to work with this specific issue.
Another example may be that your wife or girlfriend wants you to be more physically affectionate. You decide this would be a good idea and develop a visualization in which you see yourself kissing her on the cheek or brushing her back of the hand as you walk past her. As you meditate on this, you may see an image of your parents and realize that they showed little physical affection where you could see it. You realize that without thinking about it, their example led you to build a belief that physical displays of affection aren't appropriate. You now know a source of your lack of physically affectionate behaviour, and can tell yourself that even though your parents didn't engage in public displays of affection, you don't have to be that way.
Concentrative meditation is an excellent tool to use in personal growth and development. Though it is designed for, and most useful in spiritual growth, it is a powerful tool in restructuring your world view both by instilling more postive beliefs and attitude than you currently hold, and by bringing to the surface the negative, limiting beliefs on which you currently base your life.