Today, these two techniques are often confused. For some they are even considered to be the same thing, but, according to our philosophy, there are many differences between them and they have very different objectives.
So let’s break it down, not with the intention of “splitting hairs” but so you can really maximise the use of both of these important and powerful practices.
First, let’s remember what meditation is...
Meditation (dhyána) is when we focus on a single object (an image or a sound, for example) to halt the instability of the mind (“vrittis”) in order that a higher, and more subtle, state of consciousness can appear; what we refer to as a “superconsciousness”.
Often confused with relaxation techniques true meditation demands intention, effort, discipline and constancy to achieve, and must be supported by several other techniques to allow you to achieve it, for instance, advanced breathing techniques.
Meditation should be practised when you are awake and alert because it demands energy and focus. Your efforts will be rewarded however, as after a period of committed practice your will discover meditation to be a deeply pleasurable, and enlightening, practice.
And now to visualisation (mentalisation)...
The aim of mentalization/visualization, unlike meditation, is not to stop your thoughts. In fact, it’s purpose is the very opposite! In mentalization we utilise the thinking mind to create new archetypes in the subliminal mind to affect the course of your life. You can plant new “templates” in your subconsciousness that are aligned to a particular goal or in shaping a new future, for example, visualising yourself with more courage or discipline, in better health, or manifesting something you desire.
Mentalization can also be used to influence our physical body - where we bring our attention, we bring our energy - so if, for example, you are practising ásana, you can visualise a bright orange colour enveloping the area where you want to promote strength, or a celestial blue to stimulate relaxation and flexibility.
However, a more commonly known technique is yôganídra, a sensorial practice in which a deep state of relaxation and powerful potentiality is utilised to make impressions on the subconscious mind, helping you to overcome old habits, learn new things, and bring radical changes to your life. Only a few schools master this ancient technique, because an initiation from a more experienced teacher is necessary to learn to teach it.
When yôganídra is practised over and over again, with the same mentalization, what is imagined becomes real to your subconsciousness, which will later reflect on your consciousness and your life.
Below is a short but complete practice of yôganidra, recorded by the DeROSE METHOD instructor Joanna Griffin from Ady Centre. You can start using this recording every day to create some new and better archetypes for your future.