Exploring Symbols for Meditation
A reader asked me to provide her with a symbol that represented meditation. She also asked if there are symbols that helped with focus, concentration and visualization. I responded by pointing out the beauty of symbols is that their meanings (and purposes) are all in the eye of the beholder. For example, symbols for meditation may range from focusing on a rose window commonly found in many gothic cathedrals to contemplating a triskelion. Furthermore, an anchor of focus doesn’t have to be a physical, literal symbol. It could be a rose, a river or a rabbit found in Nature.
So, if you want to know about symbols for meditation, you’re in luck because it could be pretty much anything that resonates with you. It’s a broad concept, and no single, solitary could possibly capture its entire meaning to all people. In other words, one size does not fit all.
Identifying the Purpose of Symbols for Meditation
I would recommend getting in touch with your own thoughts and feelings about what you want to accomplish here. Ultimately the best symbol for you is what YOU determine. For example…my idea of visualization deals with creative determination and focus….when I think of these things, I think of water…specifically, a river. So…to me, a symbol of visualization would be a river.
When identifying the objective for having a symbol for meditation, ask yourself:
- What does visualization mean to you?
- What are you trying to accomplish by visualizing?
- When you think of “visualization” what images come to your mind?
If this is very important to you, I know you will invest the time and effort in searching your own heart to obtain a meaningful symbol that is perfect for your purpose.
Mandalas as Symbols for Visualization
As mentioned, symbols for visualization vary in type according to the viewer and purpose. If you’re looking for a symbol that stimulates mental focus or even promotes spiritual sight, I might suggest researching mandalas. Mandalas are inherently circular in nature, and therefore transform the physical act of vision (see with our eyes) into seeing with inner vision (seeing with the eyes of the soul).
You may want to create your own mandala. The process of drawing, and seeing into the swirls of a mandala has a tendency to draw you in and pull consciousness into an uncommon depth. Mandalas are kinda like bulls eyes, or shooting targets. Their circular patterns tend to zone in attention that allows the consciousness to focus and get centered. This makes mandalas great symbols for visualization and focus.
Yantras might also provide excellent symbols for meditation. They are similar to mandalas in that they are usually circular and promote a sort of spiritual tunnel vision for the viewer. Yantras are a geometric embodiment of a god or goddess depending upon its design. They are meant to connect the viewer with a deity, arouse spiritual awareness and wrangle concentration into a divine direction. Interestingly, mindful practices is especially good for students who are learning to meditate to improve academic performance.
Other (actual) Symbols for Meditation and Concentration
As mentioned, the universe is replete with loads of potential symbols that enhance our inner visions, help with meditation and promote mental or spiritual focus. In fact, the galaxy itself is an example, the Milky Way for example, is a swirly twirly gem of a symbol for meditation. Here are a few other ideas.
- Yin yang symbols
- Sacred Geometry Symbols
- Eyes, like the eyes of Buddha
- Rose windows in stained glass
- Galaxies, such as our Milky Way
- Yantras, mandalas and chakra symbols
- Targets, bull’s eyes, concentric circle designs
Symbols for Meditation in Nature
If you ask me, just about everything in Nature opens up the channels of higher awareness and concentration. Mother Nature is infinitely generous when it comes to opening the doors for meditation and relaxation. Here are a few common (and easily found) elements in Nature that facilitate deeper contemplation:
Water: Rivers, oceans, or even a water fountain can stabilize an overactive mind and render clarity. Water (symbolically) is also a cleansing element, which reinforces the idea of clearing out a cluttered mind.
Flowers: The lotus flower is particularly popular among Eastern cultures for meditation. However, any flower will do. As you focus upon the petals, consider how your consciousness is in constant flux. Visualize a flower closing its bloom as a focal point, with all the petals tightly wrapped into intense focus. Conversely, see the flower unfolding, revealing its expanding petals to the sun. This is a sign of broadening awareness and consciousness.
Trees: The ancient Celts used trees for meditation all the time. This culture and many others used the tree as a meditative tool. It represents varying degrees of consciousness. The roots symbolize being grounded. The core trunk resembles the body. Lastly, the branches and leaves reaching for the heavens are symbolic of branching out to the cosmos to attain unity or oneness.
Fire or Flame: There’s a reason why candles are a common feature in a meditative practice. It’s symbolic of energy, life, and the ever-changing nature of both. Focusing on a candle flame is alluring, hypnotic, and has an effective way of lulling the mind into a meditative lullaby.
Last Word on Symbols for Meditation
Whether you are learning how to meditate or you’re an expert, there are tons of potential candidates when searching symbols for meditation. For example, I didn’t even mention animals. While they might not be a symbol, your dog or cat can be an awesome gateway to attaining a meditative state. Simply stroking your pet has been proven to be relaxing, reduce blood pressure, and yes – even lull one into meditation.
The symbol is in the eye of the beholder. Look to Nature, or research various traditional symbols used by gurus, shamans or yogis in various cultures. Experiment and explore to the point where you find the perfect symbols for meditation that suits your needs. I hope you found this helpful. As always, thanks for reading!
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