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Two Paths, Both of Value: Mindful Meditation & Healing Through Mental Imagery
Within the community of universal seekers there is much discussion about mindfulness and imagery, I would like to clarify my views, based on my practice of meditation many a year ago, and my singular dedication to one path for many decades.
Imagery process is an active, creative act emulating the creative act(s) of God/Divine Consciousness that created us and this Earth, as examples. We are here to emulate God. Furthermore, imagery is active prayer, thinking together with God in an active alliance, an active form of contemplation (thinking together, here actively). Imagery is a state of consciousness, having its own singular and distinct characteristics from mindful meditation. It is not to be used as an adjunct to meditation or vice versa. It is meditation in action. I would refer you to my paper (lead author Dr. Dan Brown, a Tibetan Buddhist, meditator, and hypnotherapist) on “Phenomenological Differences among Mindfulness, Meditation, Self-Hypnosis, and Waking Dream,” published in The Journal of Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, Vol. 214, 1982-83 pp. 291-309, available on my website www.drjerryepstein.org.
My personal experience of over forty years in my work has shown me that what is more often the case is that dedicated meditators cannot image or have difficulty doing so. Why? Because Eastern meditative practices, by in large, seek to rid the mind of images and thoughts. Imagery seeks to turn our senses inward to plunge into our inner perceptions that access higher realms of consciousness. To do both together is a form of mixing, an adultery of both forms, that is an example of the violation of the 7th cosmic divine law called “adultery.” To adulterate is to contaminate, pollute, or otherwise weaken a system. Thus, the Eastern teachers I knew admonished their students to stay pure within their own meditative practices and not “have each half of your behind on two different cushions at the same time.” A Zen Roshi I once knew was invited to attend a Sufi mosque. He found the practice of prostrations and zikr practiced there incongruous to his austere sitting (and walking) meditative practice, the former holding no value for him.
In elucidating these differences, I am not seeking to compare one against the other. Everything in life has value. My aim is to be sincere, meaning, amongst other things, pure. To do so it is important to make distinctions between imagery and meditation - without comparing them. Meditation, concerned with what is real and what is illusion, is a practice dedicated to correcting the error(s) of ignorance. Imagery, concerned with truth, is a practice dedicated to correcting the error(s) of illicit knowledge based on usurping the knowledge and power of God. By the way, there is a method of active meditative cognitive practices in the Monotheistic spirituality I teach to deepen the self-knowing processes of our evolutionary spiritual quest.