( By Dr Ramesh Kapadia )

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Visualization is creating a picture in your mind. It is easy to do after meditating because meditation helps to focus one’s awareness. Visualization is not wishful thinking or fantasy, both of which are unfocused and passive. It is direct and active, it is a therapeutic use of meditation. During meditation the patients of coronary heart disease can visualize the clearing up of blockage in their coronary arteries and the resumption of blood supply to the heart muscles. Visualization is most challenging and perhaps the most powerful of all the techniques in this program of coronary healing. At one time or the other, all of us are apt to be treated unfairly. We often respond by getting angry. When this anger is not resolved in a constructive way, we may internalise it and carry it with us from day to day. Anger is not always inappropriate. Sometimes it is quite healthy to be angry, long after it has served its purpose, that it may become destructive. After a while this emotional stress may produce chronic injuries to the walls of arteries. Such a stress can be resolved by forgiving the person during visualization. Forgiveness is a concept which is often misunderstood. It need not be viewed as unselfish. We forgive not to be a good person but simply because it is in our own interest to do so. By forgiving, we feel free of stress, pain and disease. During visualization you may imagine the person you wish to forgive as a small child or an ignorant adult - who should know better but does not - or you may view him with a feeling of compassion. ‘Is it not sad that he is that way, but I do not have to get affected by him. I can forgive him for what he did, it does not matter any more.’ When you forgive a person, it does not absolve him from the responsibilities for what he has done. It does not excise him, but simply frees you from being affected in a harmful way. After you feel comfortable with visualization technique, you can go a step further. Keeping your eyes closed, imagine an experience in your life that you regret - something that you did not did not do for which you never have forgiven yourself . ( You do not have to tell anyone what it is, just visualize it.

When you visualize this way, notice the changes in your breathing, heart rate, muscle tension and so on. Now feel the same compassion for yourself thatyou felt for the person in previous visualization. Hear yourself saying, ‘ I made a mistake and learned from it. I was ignorant, perhaps I should have known better. Past is past. I have suffered enough. I forgive myself for what happened. ’ You probably will feel very relaxed. After you have completed this process, continue to observe your breathing for a few minutes. Open your eyes when you are ready. Again, forgiving yourself does not absolve you from your responsibility. It will help to relieve you of the pain, stress and guilt that you may impose on yourself. You will be able to see more clearly and accomplish whatever needs to be done in a more constructive way.