After two decades of enjoying vajrayana-style meditation, I dropped it all when I discovered that institutionalised abuse was rampant in the tradition. I no longer wanted to have anything to do with visualising gurus.
However, I couldn’t forget the incredible peace and power that the practices gave me, and I found myself turning to an essentialised form of the practice, one free of the cultural and religous issues documented on this website, but that nevertheless includes all the elements of the original. I use my imagination to connect with my own guru, my own wisdom mind – which, after all, is exactly what the guru/lama represents in the Tibetan tradition anyway. I just cut out the middle man.
I can imagine the kind of response something like this might get from the traditionalists, but it’s actually not watered down. It’s just essential. It has all the core elements of Vajrayana without the optional extras. And actually, one of the things Sogyal Rinpoche was good at was essentialising the practices, so I thank him for leaving me with a clear sense of the core elements. Ian Maxwell also contributed hugely to my understanding of how the practices ‘worked’.
I finally created an actual guided practice using my animated AI generated art to help those unused to visualising, and also because it’s just so easy to put aside 6 minutes and listen to myself tell myself what to do!
You’ll notice that the practice as I’ve laid it out could be used for a refuge, healing or loving kindness practice. It can also easily go into tonglen. So it’s a very flexible practice, one you can be creative with depending on your needs on any one day.
Anyway, here’s links to the guided practice with visuals and music. Give it a go and see how it feels. I figure that it might appeal to the ‘younger’ generations – that makes me sound very old!
Is it far enough from the original to not trigger aversion and close enough not to lose its power? Let me know what you think.
Guided Imaginative Meditation with Visuals
More advanced versions will come later in a book on the practice.
If you download the written guide, you’ll also get the key to the Growing page of my latest passion project, the illustrated webbook at https://psychemagination.net/. Do pop over and see what I’ve been up to. It’s animated art illustrating a psychological and spiritual journey.