There are many versions of the White Skeleton Visualization. Here's a very basic one, which tends to be quite relaxing, and is a wonderful tool for nourishing our qi. If we include the final "dissolution" phase, it can also support an experience of emptiness. Additional variations can be found in William Bodri & Lee Shu-Mei's Twenty Five Doors To Meditation.
Time Required: 10-15 minutes, or longer if you'd like
- This practice can be done sitting on a chair or meditation cushion. It can also be done lying down - either flat on the floor (e.g. in the yoga "savasana" position) or on your bed. It's a wonderful practice to do right before going to sleep at night.
- In whatever position you've chosen, take a couple of deep, slow breaths. As you exhale, release any unnecessary tension, especially in your neck, shoulders, face and jaw. Smile gently, and close your eyes.
- Starting from your left big toe, begin to visualize your skeleton, shining with white light. First visualize the bones of your left big toe; then all of the toes on your left foot; then all of the toes of your right foot; then the bones of your left foot; and right foot; left ankle; and right ankle; left lower-leg; and right lower-leg. Continue like this, gradually working your way up your body, ending with a visualization of the various bones of your skull -- all shining with a bright white light.
- Once the visualization of your entire skeleton is complete, use a relaxed focus to maintain it, in your "mind's eye." Notice any sensations that arise as you do this - without grasping or rejecting them. Maintain a joyful, curious state of mind -- seeing and perhaps also feeling your shining white skeleton. You can end the practice here, or ...
- ... continue in this way: Now visualize your shining white bones becoming dust - dissolving completely. See the bone-dust being blown away, so that where your shining white bones once were, now is nothing but empty space. Notice any feelings that arise, without clinging to or rejecting them. Sit (or lie) in this space for as long as you'd like.
- Carry the energy and insight generated via this practice into the rest of your day, or into your dream-time.
- It's important to be as anatomically correct as possible, when visualizing your skeleton. Use an image of a human skeleton - say from an anatomy book, or an online site - to gradually train yourself, so that over time your visualization becomes more and more precise. Before you begin each session, take a couple minutes to look at the printed skeleton image -- so that when you close your eyes to practice, the image will be fresh in your mind.
What You Need
- a precious human bodymind
- a chair, meditation cushion, floor or bed
- a printed or digital image of a human skeleton