The Gift of Visualization
How visualization is used as a tool for drawing our desires out of the world of the formless into the world of the formed.
The vision that you glorify in your mind, the idea that you enthrone in your heart 'this you will build your life by; this you will become. James Allen
The third spiritual step* in manifesting miracles and attracting all that you desire into your life entails using the gift of visualization. Visualization is our god-given ability to paint a mental picture of what we desire. As Aristotle said, the soul never thinks without a picture.
In 1999 I discovered a story that illustrated this truth in remarkably simple terms. I was reading a book titled 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself by Steve Chandler. Chandler had been a sports columnist for the Tucson Citizen. In1976 he was assigned to do a feature story on an unknown Austrian actor. As Chandler put it, it was to be a story he would never forget. (And, I might add, it was to be a story I would never forget). The interview took place over lunch at a Doubletree hotel. As the two men sat across from each other, Chandler reported that no heads turned to look at the actor. No one recognized him. Even Chandler knew very little about him, other than the fact that he had achieved success as a body builder and was now in town publicizing a movie that had been a box office disappointment. During their conversation, Chandler casually asked the actor what he was going to do now that he had retired from bodybuilding. In a matter of fact voice and without missing a beat, the actor replied in his thick Austrian accent, ' I'm going to become the number one box office star in all of Hollywood.' Chandler was taken off guard by the na - ve, boldness of his statement. After all, commented Chandler to his readers, a thick Austrian accent and hulking physique didn't exactly make good box office material. Doing his best to disguise his shock and amusement, Chandler calmly asked him how he planned on accomplishing his task. The actor replied in the same matter of fact tone. 'It's the same process I used in body building. 'What you do is create a vision of who you want to be, and then live into that picture, as if it were already true.' I'm sure you're figured out by now, that that actor was Arnold Swarzenegger.
Arnold's story is remarkably simple. Yet the plain and powerful truth of it is undeniable. It illustrates in twenty first century terms what everyone in every tradition has recognized since the beginning of time. We human beings have the unique power of being able to transform the circumstances of our lives through the power of visualization. This power to create a picture that the soul never thinks without is part of our divine heritage, for it is the very same power that was used to create us. Every person alive has been bequeathed the divine power of visualization. Some are more talented at using it than others. These are the ones that realize that this power flourishes when it is aligned with the purpose for which it was created -- to give and extend love, joy, peace and abundance. When we give our imagination free reign to make mental pictures of this type we can manifest miracles.
Is it really as simple as this? Yes. It is. The wall that stands between us and the truth of it is doubt. Our enemy is always within. But our doubt diminishes when we come face to face with the fact that we use the power of visualization every moment of every day. The smallest actions that we take are necessarily preceded by the formation of a mental picture. The simple act of getting up and walking across the room requires that we first make a mental picture of it. In the words of A Course In Miracles, There is no such thing as idle thought. All thought produces form at some level. Therefore, each time we glorify in our minds and enthrone in our hearts our desire to overcome a life long fear, finally get the job we want, stop an addiction, reconcile or find a loving relationship 'we are taking the initial step of concretizing and giving form to our desire. Every mental image acts as a prayer asking for the thing that we are glorifying and enthroning to be released from the realm of the formless into the realm of the formed. Since we are thinking all the time, the implications of this are that we are actually praying all the time. Once we become conscious of this we begin to pay closer attention to what we're visualizing and how we use visualization to create our lives.
It is important to realize in all of this that visualization does not ask for anything new to be created. As the scripture tells us, there is nothing new under the sun. Visualization is the art of drawing to us a new expression of what has already been created. It is a means of calling forth that which already exists out of the world of the formless into the world of the formed. Our genius is expression not creation. In fact, all great artist of any ilk are essentially expressing something not creating it. They are tapping into the realm of the formless and giving it new form through their unique expression. That's why all great art seems so familiar to us. We recognize it as something we've somehow already seen or heard. Our hearts rejoice in its proverbial, simple truth..
When we really understand this we realize the truth of Arnold Swarzenegger's approach to our heart's desire. The first step is to crate a vision of who we want to be. This means that we make a mental picture of how improved our lives will be, when, for example, we step into our new career. The next step is to live into the picture as if it were already true, because, the fact of the matter is, it IS true. Once again, the rock that stands between us and the simplicity of this is our doubting ego. Michelangelo was a visionary artist. He could 'see' his 'creations' before they were expressed. It is said that he saw David hidden in the marble before he chiseled him out and 'released' him from his rocky prison. Our job is much the same as Michelangelo's. We must 'see' what we desire in our minds eye then chisel away the excess marble of our ego until our desire is released into our lives.
We need not concern ourselves about the specifics of how things will unfold or what we might come up against along the way. Our scope of awareness is too limited to know how many intricate details must fall into place before our desire can be fulfilled. We must let go and let the universe handle the details as they say. Our job is to do our homework, hold fast to our vision, accept life, extend love, be forgiving and patiently chisel away at the rock as we wait for the necessary things to fall into place.
Rest assured, the universe will not fail in revealing to us the things to which we must pay attention along the way. If we need to become more trusting, more giving, more fearless, more confident, less jealous, less judgmental, etc. life will give us plenty of opportunities to correct our thinking in this regard. It's as though we offer up our visualizations as a prayer to the universe and it answers back by showing us the things we have to change in our selves in order to breakthrough the firewall that is separating us from our desire. Ironically, patience and the willingness to take our lessons along the way are the just right ingredients for speeding up the process of manifesting our visualizations. Undoubtedly our progress will include one step forward and two steps backward. But after all, it has been said that the road to success is always under construction. We must realize this and not push or try to make things happen. There's a gentle balance that is required between asking for things and waiting to receive them. When we push to make things happen or try too hard, rest assured they won't. You can't pound grass to make it grow or push a bird's wings to make it fly. We cannot force or control things. Any thinking person knows that the only thing we have any control over in life is us. The best way to be in 'control' is to relax so that we can be flexible and yielding to the forces that come our way. This allows for the natural unfolding of life. There is an ancient Chinese poem that expresses this point beautifully.
At birth all people are soft and yielding. At death they are hard and stiff All green plants are tender and yielding. At death they are brittle and dry. When hard and rigid We consort with death. When soft and flexible, We affirm greater life.
Our patience and flexibility at accepting whatever comes our way affirms our faith in the greater life that we have visualized. Obstacles come our way for a reason. (More on this later.) When asking for miracles we are asking for ways to transcend obstacles not fight them.
Meanwhile, we must quietly go about our business and be silent about the inner work that we are doing and the changes we are attempting to manifest. We must be like a mother eagle sitting on top of our un-hatched eggs, keeping them warm, hidden and protected from predators. Talking about our desires gives them premature birth. It weakens their ability to manifest to the fullest extent. Moreover, talking about what we're up to more often than not involves looking for approval -- another activity of the ego. We must be ever vigilant against allowing our energy to be weakened in any way by the ego.
To summarize, here are the seven key steps for using the gift of visualization to manifest miracles:
1. Create an inner vision of who you want to be and the changes you want to make in your life. Picture how your life will improve when you realize all that you desire. 2. Align your purpose with giving and extending love, joy, peace and abundance for all concerned.
3. Know that what you want already exists and needs only the right conditions to come together to allow for its fullest manifestation. Those 'right conditions' are outside your ken.
4. Keep your ego at bay. Do not allow it to inject fear, doubt, worry, pride or feelings of unworthiness into the picture.
5. Act as if what you want is already fulfilled because it is. Do not be concerned about the how of it.
6. Be patient, gentle and yielding to the forces that come your way. Everything is happening for a reason.
7. Keep silent. Contain your energy and prevent premature birth or dissipation of your energy.
*This is the third of nine spiritual steps for manifesting miracles -- an excerpt from my book of the same title.
About the Author
Loretta Siani, Ph.D. is a clinical hypnotherapist. In her private practice teaches the mind/body model and combines hypnosis, neuro-linguistic psychology, guided visualizations, aromatherapy, dream work and the principles of A Course In Miracles to assist her clients in achieving transformational changes. Dr. Siani's book, The Magic of Excellence, and her book and CD's for eliminating stress, can be purchased at http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/00761.htm or from her website www.lorettasiani.com click on "products."
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