the art of visualization

Seeing with the mind's eye takes practice and, as with all things, gets easier with each success.

When I first began working with visualization techniques, I had a very difficult time trying to conjure up and hold an image in my mind. One afternoon over sushi, I mentioned my difficulties to my friend Stephani and she helped me right there at the table by running me through this exercise. She said, “You are making this way too hard. It's simple. Just look at your plate. Good, now close your eyes and picture your plate in your mind’s eye. Try to recall as many details as you can. Now bring in the other senses. What do you smell? Hear? Feel? Taste?” And just like that, the simple exercise opened the door for me. The ability to conjure up images in your mind's eye takes practice but it gets easier with each success so just keep trying.

You can begin with this simple exercise: Look at the image of butterfly. Focus on it for a few moments as you memorize its shape and colors. Now close your eyes. With your eyes still closed, call up the image in your mind filling in as many of the details as you are able. Now think about your experience

Were you able to see a full-blown image? While some will be able to recall it in full-color, others will drag up a gray and blurry image enhanced with what we hear, taste, smell or feel. Don't fret. There is no wrong way. We each have our own preferred way of processing information. In fact, the method in which we prefer to learn will reflect on how we perform this exercise. So don’t lose heart if your first attempts seem futile. The good news is practice makes perfect and after a few exercises holding an image in your mind’s eye will become easier and easier.

Let’s try it again. Look at the image of the butterfly. Focus on it until you have memorized its features. Now close your eyes and recall the image in your mind. Let it materialize as you try to ‘see’ it in full-color. Hold the image for as long as you can without losing focus. How did you do this time?

Good, now let’s take it one step further. Look at the image of the butterfly. Focus on it until you have memorized its features. Now close your eyes and recall the image in your mind. Let it materialize as you ‘see’ it in full-color. Next we are going to manipulate the image. With the image still fixed firmly in your mind, ‘see’ the butterfly growing until it is twice its original size. Now, take the larger version of the butterfly and change the color of its wings from blue to yellow.

If you were able to manipulate the image, try to animate it. ‘See’ its wings begin to move as it floats up into the air. Watch it come down to rest on a daisy… Were you able to make it fly? Congratulations! You have just created a creative visualization! You can also do this exercise with a memory. Choose a happy experience. Close your eyes and recall it in as much detail as you can, using not only sight but what you might have tasted, smelled, heard, and felt. You might picture being in your favorite room, or dancing with someone special, or eating your favorite meal, the first time you kissed the one you love. These simple exercises will help you see in your mind’s eye, and make it easier for you to call up images when you want to practice meditation or manifest a thought or desire into reality. You can even use guided imagery for relaxation and healing.

Visualization is a form of self-hypnosis. It is a tool anyone can use to help foster healing. By providing suggestion combined with positive images, visualization can form a mind-body connection that fosters the healing process on a physical level. Through conscious awareness of our thoughts we are able to focus our experiences in the desired directions and create a positive, vibrant, radiant self/ life/ existence. Through positive thought and creative imagery, we really can change reality. Want to try? Choose an area of your life you want to change. Apply creative visualization by meditating on how you would like it to be. Do you want to improve your income? See yourself doing well at work. See your boss commending you on your good work. See him giving you a raise. See yourself depositing money into your account. Do you want to be happy? See yourself interacting, laughing, and smiling as you connect with friends and family. You can address any area of your life that you would like to change. Begin by making a list of the changes you want to make. Don’t make it too long, in fact it is best to keep it limited to two or three things to focus on. Don’t use the negative.

All of our feelings, beliefs, and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and subconscious. You are in control, whether you know it or not. It truly is your choice to be positive or negative, enthusiastic or dull, active or passive, so choose to be actively positive! With practice, changes will begin. Instead of living a passive life, you will be actively working to create the life you desire just be being aware of your thoughts and by mindfully reacting to situations and others with a positive point of view and positive words. Smile more. Praise yourself and others. Dream of success. Be enthusiastic. Allow yourself to be happy, joyous, healthy, and successful. Take time to relax. Be aware of negativity. When a negative thought enters your mind, replace it with a positive thought. And take time out daily to sit quietly and tune in…