Angelic Imagery for Meditation

One of the things that drew me to Vajrayana Buddhism was the imaginative aspect, the fact that I filled my mind with beautiful and powerful imagery as part of my meditation practice. I found the imagery along with the light rays and chants very inspiring. Since leaving the religion, I have allowed myself to be creative with this idea of using the imagination as a focus of meditation. I don’t ‘do it’ in any formal way (mostly), I just create art videos that I find inspiring which I then watch as a focus/anchor for meditation.

Angels in imaginative meditation

I started creating images of angels because though I have never believed they actually exist, I have always found the idea of them and their artistic depictions inspiring. I realised that they can be used as a deity that can assist me in my prayers for peace in the same way that I used Tara or any of the other Vajrayana deities.

So I can sit down, turn my mind inwards and visualise the 10 cohorts – groups – that make up a legion of angels in the 10 directions around me – the eight compass points plus up and down. I make sure the visualisations of them are full of light life and stable in my mind, then I send them off to Gaza, Israel, the Ukraine and other places where there is war to heal the wounded, comfort the bereaved and fight the neurotic mind states that drive the aggressors. I visualise them in hundreds of thousands doing just that, driven by the power of my intention and infused with all the compassion of my innermost being.

Sending them out is similar to sending out the healing white light in the compassion practice of tonglen, but I have given that healing energy a form and the power of the angelic presence, the spiritual warrior. So they ‘work’ in the same way as a Tibetan Buddhist deity; they just have a different form.

Are angels real?

I discussed this in terms of mental health in a blog post on my Psychemagination website. Read on for the metaphysical view of how deities such as angels ‘exist.’

Deities, angels and the sambhogakaya

Though angels are, like all deities, essentially imaginative constructs, they do have power. Just as those deities we used in our Vajrayana practice felt very powerful in their actions as we imagined them zapping out light and so forth, so too do angels used in the same way. Just as the light pouring into us from the Vajrayana preliminaries refuge tree felt soothing and loving, so too, we can sit an angel in the sky before us and have him or her send us the same soothing, loving, healing light. Form matters only in that be something that for us symbolises the universal power on which we call.

Remember the 3 kayas, the three ‘bodies’ of a buddha according to the Mahayana tradition? They relate not only to the three aspects of the essential nature of mind in us, but also to the three layers of all reality. They are the:

  1. dharmakaya – non-physical reality, potential unmanifested. The quantum field.
  2. sambhogakaya  – the realm of light and energy, imagination and emotion. The quantum wave. The process of the unmanifest becoming manifest.
  3. nirmanakaya – physical reality, what we perceive around us. The quantum particle.

You may have heard Vajrayana deities being referred to as sambhogakaya deities. That’s because they ‘exist’ as light, energy and imagination in the sambhogakaya ‘layer’ of reality. They do not exist as separate entities; they are manifestations of the compassion and wisdom aspects of our own essential nature, and they appear because we call them up with our imagination. In Vajrayana terms, they manifest at our call for the benefit of beings.

In order to keep all this grounded, it’s important to remember that the sambhogakaya realm isn’t separate to either the nirmanakaya realm or the dharmakaya realm; they all manifest at the same time and in the same place. All are embodied in us and our environment.

Form is emptiness; emptiness is form; form is no other than emptiness, and emptiness is no other than form.

The Heart Sutra

The sambhogakaya layer of reality has power because it’s the process of the unmanifest becoming manifest. It’s the point at which the quantum wave of potential becomes the particle that’s the basis of form. This is where, and why, our prayers can actually make a difference. They push waves of energy to form into particles of matter in a particular manifestation, and when we ‘pray’ using light, sound and energy – native to the sambhogakaya realm – it can be particularly powerful.

At least that’s my understanding of it!

So instead of surrounding myself with Vajrakilaya’s pantheon of deities with their animal heads and fearsome weapons sending sparks out everywhere to banish obstacles and negativity, my angels do it with their flaming swords of wisdom and compassion.

As I said in the article on Psychemagination about the reality of not of angels, the question of their reality really doesn’t matter. What matters is that they do have power. They have the power of the imagination and with it the ability to be a mental health support and spiritual inspiration.

A prayer of Angels

I send these angels to wake up those who commit atrocities: torture, murder, terrorist attacks, crimes against humanity. The blinding light of the power of their compassion and purity of soul, unfettered by delusion, is too bright for the perpetrators of such crimes. It brings them to their knees, and they cower before the angels in fear.

But these angels will not take life with their swords of wisdom. They battle ignorance, greed, jealousy, hatred, and prejudice until those who cause suffering understand the gravity of their crimes, are consumed by regret, change their ways, and make restitution for their crimes. May it be so.

Angelic Imagery

So with all that said, you’re ready to immerse yourself in the celestial realm of the animated AI art generated angels I created with music by Kris Newland. (The video is just a little over 6 minutes). I hope it will lift your spirits and inspire your heart.

If you like this imagery and music, you’ll love my audio-visual illustrated webbook Psychemagination: Journey into the Psyche, so do visit http://psychemagination.net and while you’re there check out the blog post ‘Are Angels Real‘ to read about the role of imagination in mental health.

Have you ever used non-Vajrayana imagery in a similar way to how I use my angels? Does the idea appeal to you?

2 Replies to “Angelic Imagery for Meditation”

  1. Hi Tahlia
    Thanks for this post – I love how you’ve added the quantum fields into the three kayas then added the heart sutra. I’ve often thought of the heart sutra and its “forms is emptiness/emptiness is form”, but hadn’t gone as far as thinking about the kayas.
    I guess I didn’t study the kayas so much back then in our Rigpa days.
    Anyway, great to see you’ve found a really wonderful artistic outlet. I love your angels!
    As for me, I’m still enjoying my daily Ngondro, some silent meditation and reading all around me. I find I’m reading Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg and watching Tara Brach on YouTube. Feeling much more grounded these days and over the “big betrayal”. As Jack Kornfield says in “Path with Heart”, “sometimes it takes a misguided or false teacher to create a wise student”.
    Lots of love from France! 😉
    Take care xxx

    1. Great to hear from you, and I’m glad to hear that someone is still doing vajrayana practice after the ‘big betrayal’ – a good term for it. I know the power of vajrayana practice, and I’m so very glad I did the amount of practice that I did. I’m just concerned that people starting out now know to be very cautious and have their eyes wide open before ‘accepting a teacher’ in the way that we did. I am also aware that the wake up I got in 2017 was a very necessary jolt that I needed to get out of a stuck place. Now I’m following my art and seeing where it takes me. The audio-visual story of my explorations of my neurodivergence at Psychemagination.net is where it led first, and I’m finding it natural to use the imagery I’m creating in the same way I did a Vajrayana deity.

      If you haven’t taken a look at http://psychemagination.net, do pop over and let me know how you feel about it. There’s a review page there https://psychemagination.net/reviews-of-psychemagination/

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