Lama Yeshe at Yucca Valley, 1977, photo Carol Royce-Wilder, courtesy Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive
Lama Yeshe at Yucca Valley, 1977, photo Carol Royce-Wilder, courtesy Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive

Using visualizations can be a powerful form of meditation—but don’t imagine visualizations are something new and foreign that you have no experience with. In reality, you visualize all day long. The breakfast you eat in the morning is a visualization; in an important way it is a kind of projection of your own mind. You are visualizing that your breakfast has some kind of independent existence. Similarly, whenever you go shopping and think, “This is nice,” or “I don’t like that,” whatever you’re looking at is a projection of your own mind. When you get up in the morning and see the sun shining and think, “Oh, it’s going to be nice today,” that’s your own mind visualizing. Visualization is not something supernatural; it’s scientific. So the challenge is to harness that already well-developed skill and make it into something wholesome and useful. Accordingly, consider the following practices:

Visualize yourself as a buddha, standing upright or sitting on your cushion, with your body completely transparent from your head down to your feet. Your body is utterly clear and empty of all material substance, like a balloon filled with air. Nothing at all is inside. Contemplate this for several minutes.

Or try this: Instead of looking at others, telling yourself your usual story about who people are, visualize every person you see as the Bodhisattva of Compassion, the very embodiment of compassion. Deeply doing this, there’s no way you can feel negative toward them. It’s impossible. Instead of misery, they give you blissful energy. This practice is a powerful way to purify negativity.

Another visualization you can experiment with is this: When you wash, imagine that you are washing your divine body with blissful energy instead of washing your mundane, suffering body with water. Then dress your divine body with blissful, divine robes instead of ordinary clothes. If you start your morning like that, the rest of your day will be much easier.

From When the Chocolate Runs Out by Lama Yeshe © 2011. Reprinted by permission of Wisdom Publications.

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