By Charles McBride
This really comes down to how you define meditation. Lets split meditation into 3 categories then to make this easier.
All meditations that use imagery. This may be focusing on a single picture, color meditations, music meditations, guided meditations, and all forms of journey work. These by their nature are core level components of journey. By focusing on the act of visualization, sensory recall, and other facilities of the mind these kinds of meditations reinforce the part of the mind that interprets the vast infinite of the universe and the realms in it into something our body understands. These often skipped meditations, especially sensory recall such as say visualizing a cup of hot tea and then going through the motion to drink it with the intent of tasting it and even feeling satiated are often overlooked despite their great importance in journey training.
Perhaps to some degree an extension of the first category energy meditations work on directing the mind to drawing in energy by focusing on things such as chi, chakras, kundalini, or other forces in the body/universe. Energy meditations strengthen the spiritual body, as well as part of the visualization/experience centers connected to Active meditations and overlap. Energy meditations have their own benefits but one of those includes the ability to actively direct spiritual energies for purpose including our own spiritual bodies. This is in some ways quintessential to projection and then journey. Often exercises like QiGong utilize movement to direct this energy but time in these studies can be of great benefit beyond just direct energy use. Energy meditations are not as overlooked as visualization meditaitons which is why many people can project but have poor recall of where the went or things seem “strange, hard to describe, and hard to remember.” The combination of these two meditation methods form the core of journey work in most traditions often combining with drum beats to create a rhythm for directing energy, intent, and focus.
The focus on the void, or passivity, in meditation is the original meaning of this word in many cultures. This is the state of focusing just on the breath, the now, or even clearing the mind completely. These meditations provide much needed rest and rejuvenation to the energy system. While an exclusive focus on void meditation could prevent one who naturally projects against their will from projecting in such a way ultimately these meditations provide a couple benefits. They hone the mind by using a simple task, awareness of now, in the early stages. In the later stages PURE void meditations in which one focuses on complete sensory void require even greater levels of focus. During all phases they provide a resting period to allow thoughts to collect, remove distraction from the mind, and let us then focus on our projection.
So how do we utilize this for projection/journey work?
Personally for me I start with the passive and void meditation before any journey work. Even a few minutes of a completely clear mind is infinitely beneficial to the visualization process used in journey. Once the mind is clear and focused it is easier to then begin to raise energy. Once we feel energetic is raised enough that clear mind helps with the visualization of mental concepts such as a tunnel, stair way, mountain, or even just our own energy body moving to the next plane of experience. From there the previous meditations for visualization and energy allow us to more easily process, interpret, and sense what is going on around us.