If you have never used visualization before, I recommend that you take an object of meditation and place it at an appropriate distance at eye level. Now take a good look and memorize all details of the object before you start with the meditation itself. This process will assist you with more precise and effective visualization in the subsequent step.
Every description of an exercise in this book will instruct you about which kind of image to use. There are also certain hand movements, mudras, and healing syllables, mantras, associated with many of the exercises. Mudras and mantras intensify the effect of each specific exercise. If you do not feel at ease with the visualization, you can first do the exercise without the use of the mudras and mantras, and then add them later.
On the CD you will find mantras, organized by number, associated with each exercise. These numbers are indicated in parentheses in the book's text. It is up to you whether you play the mantras during an exercise or recite them yourself right away. However, you should not start reciting the mantras until you are well accustomed with the visualization process. My drawings will assist you with the course of the exercise.
Mudras are certain gestures, movements, or body positions. The finger mudras are best known among all of them. Here, the fingers are held in a prescribed position in order to cause a physical, mental, or spiritual effect.
Mantras are syllables that are very powerful, and they are known to have healing properties. The literal translation for mantra is "guarding the mind from negative influence." The origin of these ancient healing syllables goes back to the Vedic civilization, over 4,000 years ago. A mantra is generally an act of respectfully addressing a designated deity for the purpose of requesting his or her cleansing nectar to purify one's transgressions, such as hate, greed, and ignorance. In addition, one uses the mantra to ask for the protection of these same deities.
Mantras have a central role in Buddha's teachings; therefore, the mantras that were passed on through Buddha are believed to have particular healing power. To avoid losing any of the healing quality, one recites the syllables in their original form. Some of the longer mantras have an abbreviated version that is equal in strength and effect to the shorter versions. It makes for a particularly beautiful encounter to join in singing the mantras and be engulfed in their vibrations. It is also very relaxing to simply listen to the steady repetition of the sound of the syllables, allowing yourself to sink into your deepest inner states.
You may do any or all of the following: say the mantras to yourself in a low voice, sing them loudly, recite them mentally, or simply listen to them. The effect will be enhanced when you recite them in a steady, repetitive sequence of sounds.
When taking up meditation, one follows a learning process similar to that of other subjects. In challenging yourself, it is important to neither overdo it nor ask too little of yourself, in order to avoid frustration or boredom. Do not fall prey to unrealistic ambitions; it is very important to find the correct measure, which is equivalent, in principle, to the dosage of medical drugs. Take ample time to experience and live through the various steps. Whenever you get tired, relax by doing the massages or exercises. Beginners in particular are strongly advised to become well acquainted with the first part of this book, and even those who are advanced will find many details and helpful hints with which they are not yet familiar.
In Part One you will learn about the preliminary practices. I list nine points to assist you in harmonizing body and mind and to prepare them for the meditation session in the best possible manner. At the times when you are unable to observe and follow all nine steps, you still should complete the part on renewing your motivation, before you proceed with the meditation.
Part Two of the book deals with meditations, such as the nectar purification, ray-of-light purification, or the concentration of healing power, performed for the purpose of easing various forms of suffering. These exercises have a noticeably comforting and energizing effect on your mind and body and have a spontaneously direct way of guiding you back to your center where you will be able to find peace. This kind of serenity is particularly needed to face the ups and downs of everyday life in our hectic times. In addition, you will also learn to get in touch with the source for loving kindness and compassion that is present in all of us.
I have dedicated one of the chapters to the subject of helping people who are dying. You will find many valuable guidelines, which are meant to assist the dying person in the process of transforming an apparently hopeless situation into a state of meaningfulness. Here, I also wish to address the relatives and other people who are close to the dying person and help them with useful advice and specific instructions for the meditation.
Part Three describes the exercises that teach you how to overcome the cause of your suffering. Not only will you learn about how to ease your suffering but also about how to avoid the source of suffering in the future. There are, for example, valuable instructions on concentration and analytical meditation, such as the meditation on patience and tolerance, the meditation on impermanence, and the meditation on emptiness. These instructions offer a logical and analytical angle to go to the source of our suffering and to help us avoid suffering in the future.
Also in Part Three are the seven Khum-Lho [massages for relaxation, as well as seven Lu-Gom exercises to relax and loosen up your body. These may be employed at any time, whenever they are needed.
All three parts contain exercises that cater to beginners and advanced students of meditation.