“Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind. It’s good to be curious about many things. You can think about things and make-believe, all you have to do is think and they’ll grow.” ~ Fred Rogers
“To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan… believe… act!” ~ Alfred A. Montapert
“To visualize is to see what is not there, what is not real — a dream . To visualize is, in fact, to make visual lies. Visual lies, however, have a way of coming true.” ~ Peter McWilliams
“You can bring into your life more power, more wealth, more health, more happiness, and more joy by learning to contact and release the hidden power of your subconscious mind.” ~ Dr. Joseph Murphy
“What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill
March 20, 2013 would have been Fred Rogers’ 85th birthday. As a kid, I loved watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I remember sitting down to watch it every day after school. The show ran on PBS for 60 years. I best remember the show where Margaret Hamilton (who played the wicked witch in the Wizard of OZ) came to visit. She brought the witch costume and talked with Mister Rogers about the difference between what is real and what is pretend. One of the most creative parts of the show was the daily visit into the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe”. It was a safe place to discuss difficult topics, imagine new possibilities, and learn. Anything could happen there because it existed in the imagination. It’s a fantasy land where Daniel Striped Tiger lives in a clock and Henrietta Pussycat lives in a schoolhouse supported by X the Owl’s tree.
I spent a lot of my childhood in a “pretend” world, too. I would wander through the pine trees behind my grandparent’s house and take adventures; looking for hidden treasures, making magic wands out of sticks to protect me from the “devil” that lived behind the oil talk. I had a secret garden in the brush behind our yard and would spend hours pruning and weaving the wild rose brambles into arches and topiaries. Children have the natural gift for imagination and nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.
Unfortunately, as we age we are taught that pretend is not acceptable for grown-ups and in order to please others, we squelch the ability. It’s such a tragedy because, when cultivated, the human imagination is a powerfully creative force. Even as an adult, you can use your imagination to manifest things into reality. The process is called “Creative Visualization” and is the subject of this week’s newsletter. Creative visualization is the fundamental technique underlying reality creation. It is the process of using your thought power to consciously imagine, create, and subsequently attract to yourself the experiences you desire. To the cynical adult mind, this may sound like hocus-pocus, but there is substantial scientific evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness. Why not give it a try? Use the techniques below with an open mind and see for yourself the manifesting power of creative visualization.
Creative Visualization 101
The Law of attraction stats that you focus on, you attract. Even if you aren’t aware of it, the energy of the universe is responsive to how (and what) you think. Thoughts are creative forces that are forever trying to express themselves in our lives. Once you acknowledge this, you can begin designing your life with clarity and purpose, through imagination. The process is simple – focus daily on what you want. Creative visualization is a technique in which you use your imagination to visualize specific behaviors or events occurring in your life. This repeated visualization results in those behaviors or events actually manifesting in your reality. No, really. It is nothing more than mental rehearsal, but it really does work.
You create images in your mind of your having or doing whatever it is you want, and repeat those images over and over again. Why does it work? Because the subconscious mind can’t distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Your subconscious mind will act upon the images you create in your imagination, regardless of whether or not those images reflect your current reality. Over time, the things you visualize manifest.
There are numerous scientific studies that validate the effectiveness of visualization. One of the best known is a Russian study where Olympic athletes were divided into groups and trained with varying degrees of visualization techniques.
- Group 1 received 100% physical training
- Group 2 received 75% physical training and 25% mental training through visualization
- Group 3 received 50% physical training and 50% mental training through visualization
Which group performed the best? You’ve probably guessed that group three did, suggesting that mental visualization has measurable effects on reality. Various other studies have also demonstrated the benefits of visualization in creating the reality you choose.
How to visualize effectively
There are countless experts with countless visualization methods available. Just Google “creative visualization” and you’ll see what I mean. I’ve attempted to digest some of those methods and provide below the process in its simplest form:
- Plan your visualization first.
- Be very clear about what you intend to visualize. Use all of the senses. What do you see, hear, taste, touch, and smell? Incorporate as many senses as possible into the visualization.
- Make sure your visualization aligns with the highest and truest expression of yourself as a human being. Set the intention that the outcome will be the best for all involved.
- Keep it realistic. Focus on visualizing something that could actually be true in your reality. You will not sprout wings just because you visualize it, because humans don’t have wings. Choose a dream that is possible but beyond your current experience.
- Set aside a time every day and commit to it. It is the repetition that makes visualization work. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Begin with just 5-10 minutes each day. You can set a timer to help you keep track.
- The first step is to relax your body and quiet your mind. Pick a quiet spot. Try to limit as much external distraction as possible. Find a comfortable seat, sit upright, and breathe deeply and evenly through your nose.
- Relax the body. Slowly count backward from 25 while continuing to breathe deeply and relaxing all of your muscle groups from toes to head.
- Empty your mind and focus on your breathing.
- Imagine your intended outcome. Your imagination is the engine of your thoughts. Use it to convert your thought power into mental images.
- Imagine your ideal reality in the present moment. Bring the picture to life in your mind as if you are watching a movie. Concentrate all your thoughts on your visualization.
- Indulge all of your senses. What do you see, hear, taste, smell and touch in your new reality?
- Experience all of the positive emotions that come with this new reality. Feel it as if it is actually taking place in the present physical moment.
- If imagination is the engine of your thoughts, emotions are the fuel. Emotions will bring your images to life and solidify them in your subconscious.
- Believe that you already have your mental intentions in the present moment. This is not wishful thinking or lying to yourself. It’s about knowing the scientific truth behind the power of reality creation and having faith in the process.
- This is perhaps the most important of the steps. Detach yourself from the outcome you intend to see manifest in your life. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s critical.
- Bring yourself back to a normal resting state. Continue to breathe deeply and count up from 1 to 5 consciously returning from your relaxed state.
- The focus of your visualizations must be on the outcome, not the process. Don’t obsess about it or try to control the process. Instead release it to the universe and trust that your subconscious is on the task. It’s doing the work while you focus on other things, materializing opportunities you would never have thought of.
- Carry on with action. The process of creative visualization is based on relaxation, but it will take physical action to fully manifest your mental intentions. Take every step you can to get you closer to your goal, but only take inspired action. Don’t pass up any opportunities, do the best that you can, and know that the universe is making up the difference. It is about being calm and deliberate in the action you take, knowing that it is taking you toward your intended outcome. It is about listening to your intuition and following your natural instinct.
- Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. It takes time to build new neural pathways. Commit to repeating the process every day until your intention is realized. It will happen sooner than you think, but only if your commit to the process.