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Boundless Healing

The four healing powers are positive images, words, feeling, and belief. Bringing these qualities of mind to our meditation strengthens the power to heal our mental, emotional, and physical afflictions. POSITIVE IMAGES When we visualize positive objects, the exercise of our imagination engages and absorbs our minds. If we can maintain the images in our minds for some duration, the healing will be more intimate and effective. The mind tends to wander about, especially if we are new to meditation. If we practice staying with the image as long as we comfortably can, eventually our concentration will improve. Although visualization is a pillar of Tibetan meditation, many Westerners find it rather strange at first. Forming mental images is universal, even if we are not used to doing it as part of meditation. With few exceptions, we all visualize constantly in daily life. Most of the time, our minds are occupied with neutral images or negative ones. If we develop the habit of seeing positive images instead, the peaceful nature of our minds begins to emerge, and we give joy a chance to flourish.


Words can have a great power, for good or ill. As thinking creatures, we constantly have inner dialogues going on in our minds. We put labels on things and name them. It is our way of recognizing and confirming the quality of something.

Meditating upon an image as positive and even comment to ourselves on its positive nature. For example, if we are visualizing a flower, we might think "Its color is so spectacular, the whole atmosphere is radiant with its brilliance"; or "The dew is dripping from its healthy, fresh petals"; or "It is so pure, as if made of rainbow light"; or "I wish everybody could enjoy such a feast for the eyes."


The mind not only thinks and recognizes; it feels. If we involve our awareness of the positive qualities of an object through emotion, the healing of mind and body is much stronger. For example, in meditation, if we imagine a beautiful flower, we might just think, "How beautiful that flower is," but then the positive impression is a shadow of what it could be. Instead, we can open up to the flower on the level of feeling–feel the enchanting beauty, the freshness of dew dripping from it, the clarity of its colors, like immaculate light. We can feel the qualities of the flower in our hearts and bodies and celebrate the flower, instead of just thinking of it intellectually.

We can bring this same openhearted approach to appreciating the beauty around us every day of our lives. Opening ourselves to feelings in meditation can bring more zest and enjoyment to everything we do.


If we do not trust in the power of our meditation to heal, its strength and energy will be weak. Belief gives the meditation a firm foundation; it engages the mind in a way that is effective and total. This is not blind faith, but a faith and trust based on knowledge that the healing power of mind can be fully called forth with the help of images, words, and feelings. We need to believe that we actually can improve our lives in this way. Even if meditation moves us one step forward, we can fall right back if we are always harboring doubts in our minds.

Intellectual and material-minded people like ourselves can find it hard to trust and believe in anything. We need to remember that the mind is a powerful source of healing and that the purpose of healing meditation is to awaken our inner resources. We need to rely on the help of mental objects and believe in the power of the mind. If we tend to be skeptical of everything and say, "How can I believe this will make me feel better;" it will be best to simply suspend such judgments. Even if it is only for the duration of the meditation, we should give ourselves completely to feeling and belief. Our intellects can get in the way by fighting and struggling. We may just need to take a leap into a trusting attitude.

We might think that by believing, we are only pretending to do something. If necessary, we should go ahead and pretend that we believe, but we should do so with all our heart and feeling. Remember that actors can call up emotions fully by pretending, but only if they believe in the roles they are playing.

If we can just keep seeing, thinking about, and feeling the positive qualities of the meditative object, slowly some benefits will come, though they may be simple. When we start experiencing these results, a more trusting attitude will flourish in us spontaneously.

If we like the meditation, that is the beginning of believing. We could start with just the thought of liking to visualize a particular image. As we become more familiar with the image, our enjoyment may increase. We should notice any positive feelings; that is where trust begins.


BOUNDLESS HEALING Tulku Thondup Rinpoche Shambhala Publications, Inc.