Turn Your Eyes Inward: Visualization
What It Is: The eyes are a powerful sensory organ, and they’re typically hyperalert, focusing on the outside world. A visualization meditation can help you reverse this natural tendency.
“Let’s say you’re walking down Broadway in Manhattan,” says Nikki Costello, a yoga and meditation teacher based in New York. “Your eyes get pulled toward the flashing lights, the neon signs, the shop windows. When you sit for meditation, a visualization gives your mind an image to focus on, and it pulls your eyes inward.” The mind naturally follows, and meditation becomes more effortless.
Most of the visualizations Costello teaches are based on images from nature: light, water, earth, sky, and mountains. They’re soothing to the senses, they have a quality of purity, and they tend to bring us into the present moment. As a result, Costello finds, the mind relaxes and the breath deepens. Once you’re able to relax, you can begin to invoke the qualities of the images you’re visualizing—and this is where visualization can be transformative. “The idea is to picture something that’s soothing or balancing,” she says. “If you want your mind to be more clear, visualize a cloudless sky. If you want to feel grounded, visualize a mountain. Instill the quality of the mountain inside yourself.”