Is Every Visualisation a Meditation?

An excerpt from the book, There Are Only 7 Ways to Meditate : Make Your Meditation Amazing

Within the framework presented within the book, I call the mind-technology Visualisation or Imagination (VI).

Shamanic Journeying

Shamans use Visualisation or Imagination (VI) when journeying. They may start by imagining standing at the foot of a tree. Visualising a hole between the roots, they imagine shrinking to journey down a tunnel into the underworld. Or instead, they may envisage becoming as light as a feather so they can clamber up the tree toward the upper realms.

These are not the only realms a shaman may explore. Nor is this the only way for them to nudge themselves into the journey. But you get the picture. Shamans say your intention is like an arrow pulling you into other realms. You relax as your mind travels into a dreamscape where communication with other beings can emerge.

The conversation on the reality (or not) of shamanic journeys is beyond this book. What matters is the message they receive is beneficial.

Journeying is meditation because you allow inspiration to surface once your intention and initial nudge are set in motion.


Hypnotherapy uses visualisation. There are two major forms of hypnosis: directed and non-directed.

Suggestions that command your mind characterise directed hypnosis. To use direct commands, you tell your mind what you want. To do this, you must know what the best result will be. Notice how this is about control.

Non-directed hypnotherapy makes suggestions your mind can employ or not. When a hypnotherapist uses non-directed suggestions, they allow the highest parts of the person’s mind to decide what’s best.

You want confidence? The guide will use metaphors to show confidence as a wholesome quality you possess. Encouraging your mind to choose and expand your natural qualities.

Directed hypnosis is not meditation. Non-directed hypnotherapy is meditation with specialist techniques.

Sports Psychology

A sports psychologist will advise players to visualise themselves going through a routine with perfect precision. Are they therefore meditating?

It depends. It is a mental activity. You are focusing your attention inward. You may intentionally know what you are doing in your imagination.

Are you relaxing? Are you moving toward, or further away from, Restful Absorption (RA)?

Visualising in a way that’s tight, controlling, or trying to make the visuals clearer is not meditation. However, if you bring fun into your visualisations, then you are probably meditating.


Daydreaming is not meditation without intentionally nudging your mind to explore.


Visualisation or Imagination (VI) can lead to many distractions. Apply the One Breath meditation to settle your mind.

Remember (from the chapter on Myth: I Cannot Visualise), there doesn’t need to be any visual elements. You use the story from the guided VI to nudge your imagination.

Always use minimal effort to visualise anything. Focus instead on being aware of the story elements that pop into your head, or the feelings that arise. If you have a vague sense of the story elements, that’s all you need.

On the app, there is a VI to help with the Authentic Attitude (AA) of kindness. It acts to lift your spirits and creates a better internal environment for therapeutic meditation.

  • About the Author

    Colin (Q.C. Ellis) has been on meditation retreats in silence and solitude for longer than some monks. He has been studying meditation for over 23 years.

    Known as a meditation maverick, he teaches methods to awaken your body’s natural restorative abilities and fire up your inbuilt happiness.

    Keeping it real and grounded in personal experience, he is a Transformation Coach, and founder of IntrAnaut™ Academy.

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