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This next meditation is designed to be much more self-directed than the last one. This visualization practice is similar to the intention visualization that we did in the previous section except instead of visualizing an intention, you’re going to pick something else. This can be a great way to sort of “try on” various intentions or if you want, get totally crazy and work on visualizing something a bit more fantastical. The point here is to really work at developing your ability to visualize in detail so make sure you’re really activating as much of your imagination as you can.

To begin with, this might look like you imagining a very short scene, maybe no longer than 30 seconds or even a sort of “freeze frame” and going through and trying to really work on experiencing this moment in as much detail as possible. Engage all of your senses. What does the scene look like? Smell like? Feel like? Sound like? If you’re having a particularly hard time with one sense, you might take the time to hone in on only that sense. Can you imagine the taste of chocolate? What about the smell of freshly cut grass?

When you’re comfortable imagining short scenes in detail, stretch your imagination a bit. Maybe try visualizing your ideal day. Or an entire meal from start to finish. Visualize yourself reaching a long-held goal or doing something you love but don’t get to do often like skiing, traveling, or having a spa day.

The possibilities are endless so be sure to go into your practice time with a clear idea of what you want to work on visualizing. Below are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Visualize having a meal at a fancy restaurant with someone you love. Get specific about the details of the room, what each of you are wearing, what you order and how it would taste, etc.

  • Plan your dream vacation. Pick a location and imagine what you would do, how you would feel, the kinds of experiences you would have, and the people you would meet.

  • Imagine meeting someone you’ve always wanted to meet. It might be a celebrity, a personal hero, an athlete, maybe an ancestor or even someone who might be dead but would still be cool to meet. Imagine the encounter in detail. How do they sound? What do they look like? What do the two of you talk about?

  • Visualize a habit you want to build. This can be anything from flossing your teeth more often to exercise to eating healthier. Walk through all the steps necessary to accomplish the habit and how great it will feel to have that new habit. (Tip: for really effective habit building, follow the trigger, action, reward formula. Attach the habit to a trigger, or something that already happens in your daily routine, and then make sure to reward yourself with something that feels good after. You’ll be surprised how effective just visualizing this process can be in building new habits!)

  • Try to recall a favorite memory in detail. Remember to pull up as many different senses as you can and see how much you can actually recall.