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Practice the "Moon On Lake" Taoist Visualization

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In this beautiful meditation practice, we use our mind's natural tendency to visualize - to create internal "forms" - in a productive and powerful way. Enjoy!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: ten to twenty minutes, or longer if you'd like

Here's How:

  1. Sit with your spine straight, either on the floor (in a comfortable cross-legged position) on on a chair. If you are on a chair, place your feet hip-distance apart, and directly below your knees.
  2. Take a couple of deep, slow breaths. With each exhalation, release any unnecessary tension, allowing your belly and neck and shoulders and face to be relaxed. Smile gently and - if you'd like - touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth, just behind the upper front teeth. Close your eyes. (It's possible also to do the practice with eyes open, but for most people it is easier with them closed.)
  3. Bring your attention into the heart-space: right in the center of your chest, between your spine and your sternum (breast-bone). Become aware of a feeling of spaciousness in this part of your body.
  4. Now imagine that within this heart-space there is a beautiful lake - its surface perfectly still. Visualize this beautiful lake, and imagine that you are sitting along its banks. Imagine that it is night-time, and in the sky above the lake there is a full moon, shining brightly. Now see this full moon reflected on the surface of the lake, as though in a perfectly-smooth mirror. Let yourself be amazed and inspired by the beauty and serenity of this scene, as though you were saying "Ahhh ... "
  5. Now - maintaining this image of the moon reflected on the lake - become aware of your breath, without trying to change it in any way. Simply notice your inhalations and exhalations, each following the other.
  6. Imagine, now, that your breath is a gentle wind, which is flowing across the surface of this lake in your heart-center, creating small ripples. See the ripples flowing across the surface of the lake. Are they flowing toward you or away from you? See how the reflection of the moon is now rippling too, as the wind-breath moves across it. Feel the energy of this gentle rippling.
  7. Now allow that rippling - the surface of the lake carrying the light of the reflected moon - to expand in all directions. From your heart-center, the rippling ripples outward into every cell of your body, infusing each cell with rippling reflected moonlight - so beautiful! Feel your entire body alive with the beauty and energy of the reflected moonlight, of the rippling surface of the lake. Continue with this part of the visualization for as long as you would like.
  8. Now reverse the process: allow the rippling reflected moonlight to return to its "home" in your heart-center. Once again see the lake, with clearly-defined banks, its surface rippling gently with your breath, there in your heart-center. See the moon shining brightly above.
  9. Now allow the rippling once again to subside, until the surface of the lake, with the reflected moon, is once more perfectly still, mirror-like. Appreciate its serene beauty.
  10. When you feel ready to end the practice, simply allow the visualization to dissolve, leaving in its place a feeling of warmth and/or spaciousness in your heart-center. Notice how you feel - and let that feeling infuse the activities of the rest of your day.

Tips:

  1. Different people "visualize" in different ways. For some, it may be more of a kinesthetic, or auditory experience, rather than "visual." If you're new to this kind of practice, just let yourself be curious about how the visualization process works for you - and go with what feels most comfortable and natural.
  2. If your mind wanders, no problem - simply come back to the practice. Over time, you'll develop the capacity to maintain a mental state that is both relaxed and gently focused - which is most supportive of visualization practices like this.
  3. Interesting aside: this practice is used in some of China's qigong hospitals, as part of treatment for a wide variety of emotional and psychological disturbances. It's a powerful tool for harmonizing body and mind!
  4. Over time, this practice may offer clues to the relationship between perception and creation.

What You Need

  • A precious human body.
  • A quiet place to practice (indoors is best).
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