“Harry Potter” Meditation Imaginings
Everyone becomes overwhelmed at some point, even readers. Yet books can be used as tools to destress and manage our anxiety. One way to do this is by meditating. Meditation relaxes the mind and body and teaches patience, kindness, and compassion for others. In my Koru meditation class, I discovered a way that the Harry Potter books connect to meditation. There’s a technique in Koru mindfulness called Guided Imagery. The Guided Imagery technique involves closing the eyes and creating a safe place in your mind. I equate Guided Imagery to when Lupin is teaching Harry how to conjure a Patronus. Harry chooses a simple, happy memory to focus on. He remembers the first time he rode a broom. Lupin explains that a simple, happy thought isn’t powerful enough. Harry’s defenses will be stronger if he focuses on the happiest memory.
It helps to practice Guided Imagery with a Koru instructor or through the Koru Mindfulness website. They have recordings of Guided Imagery instructions in case there’s not a certified instructor nearby. As you work through the Guided Imagery exercise, your instructor will give you suggestions. I particularly love the suggestion of picturing a loved one you’ve lost or a childhood pet.
From the general Guided Imagery instruction, I’ve developed a specific Harry Potter-themed sequence of meditation. First, it’s important to know that finding a meditation center isn’t required. It always helps to find a quiet spot to meditate, but this can be a challenge, and it isn’t always possible. Sometimes, I need meditation the most when I’m in a loud, stressful atmosphere.
Find a comfortable position for your body. If you are holding a wand, place it out of reach and have your hands rested in your lap. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on the first happy place that comes into your mind. Think of the happiest image you associate with the Harry Potter books. Are you inside or outside? Is the air warm or cool? Is the noise level loud or quiet? Are you surrounded by nature? Most importantly, how does this place make you feel?
Maybe you’re in the Gryffindor common room. A fire is roaring, and you’re playing chess with the golden trio. You’re sitting in a comfortable, squishy armchair, and you’re wearing a Weasley family sweater. You’re laughing with your friends as Ron teaches you wizard’s chess. You watch the snow fall outside the windows of the common room and delight in the warmth of the atmosphere.
Maybe you’re out on the Quidditch pitch. It’s a blustery autumn day, and you just got your broom off the ground. There’s no Quidditch practice today, but you’re using this quiet time to fly alone. The ground beneath you feels far away as you circle the pitch, your hands steady on your broom handle and your eyes taking in the sky. From here, you can see Hogwarts from all angles in the early morning light. You feel happy to be home.
If you’re struggling to pick a location, just pick the first one that pops into your head. It doesn’t even have to be Hogwarts. Maybe you feel comfortable in the busy atmosphere of Platform 9 ¾ or the excitement of Diagon Alley.
Once you find your location, the next step is to take your imagination even further. Use your senses to interact with the place. Do you smell anything? Are there bright colors? What is the weather like? Why is this place significant to you? For example, I choose the Gryffindor common room because I am a Gryffindor and I’ve always loved the scenes that take place in this location.
You can choose to add another step. Hold on to that place you’re imagining, but add in other people and things. For example, it always brings a smile to my face to imagine my grandmother there. We used to love getting strawberry ice cream together, so I imagine myself going with her to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor in Diagon Alley. By bringing together my two loves, my family and Harry Potter, I’m creating a more effective Guided Imagery practice.
Don’t be afraid to remove people or things from your thoughts. In Guided Imagery, you’re picturing the happiest place in the world. You don’t deserve to have something hateful in your mind. Invite hateful people and thoughts to leave your mind.
Take three to five minutes to sit quietly in this practice. Then slowly drift back into reality. Wave goodbye to Hagrid at the train station. Pack up your school trunk. Exit back through the brick wall of Diagon Alley. Open your eyes and move on with your day. As someone who suffers from anxiety, Guided Imagery has made a lasting difference in my mental health.