The first step towards meditation is trance, and trance is the engagement of the conscious mind. The conscious mind in turn can be engaged using a number of methods, the first being breath awareness and another being about using the sounds around us. You might also want to listen to this podcast introducing meditation.
Keep in mind that there’s no preferred, right or wrong way of doing this. If a method works for you, go ahead and keep using it. If you’d like to try another, please do so by all means.
The ideal location for using this method is a quiet, private place with comfortable seating. Sit upright with comfortable neck support, but not so comfortable that you fall asleep; place your hands on your lap or other location where they’re comfortably resting, breathe evenly, and close your eyes.
There are multiple ways in which visualization can be used to achieve trance.
Method #1 – You and Yourself
- Feel yourself – Feel everything that’s happening in your body. Observe your breathing, feel the rising and falling of your stomach or chest as you breathe. Are your eyes moving around behind your closed eyelids? Did you just lick your lips? Did your nose twitch? Keep this going.
- See yourself – Imagine there’s a phone camera pointed at you, as you’re sitting now, eyes closed. Visualize yourself on the screen of that phone and see the various physical changes happening to you reflected on that screen.
- Continue doing both step 1 and step 2 nearly simultaneously.
Method #2 – Explore a room
- Choose a room you’re quite familiar with.
- Imagine this room in your mind’s eye, start from one end of the room and move to the other end, seeing every item along the way in as much detail as possible. Every table, decorative object, scratch, dust, fingerprints, clutter, everything.
- Keep going as long as you can.
Method #3 – Explore a street/area
- Choose a street or area you’re familiar with. I generally choose Matia Mahal at Jama Masjid for this; a place I’ve spent hundreds of hours exploring.
- Start from any place you want, the intention being to finish exploring the area or reach the end of the street.
- Look around you in your mind’s eye. What do you see? Who do you see? What are they doing? Who else is there?
- See the details of what’s going on around you. Are they selling food? What food? What does it look like? What color is the food? Observe the texture, the steam and every other attribute of the food accessible to you.
- Keep going until you finish exploring the area
Other methods include visualizing or closely watching (just watching, without analysis etc.) dynamic objects like flames and fish tanks among others. The point is to immerse yourself completely in that visual.