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- What is directed
use our imagination frequently throughout the day.
careful when using directed imagination.
- How does
directed imagination work?
imagination has been used successfully by many people.
- Techniques of
What is directed
imagination? It is the use of our imagination to implant particular
images into our archetypal fields. Later, when we are in those
archetypal situations, we will tend to "act out" the images. The
images could be those of a healthy body, or objects which we want to
own, or activities (such as sports) which we want to master, or
psychological qualities which we want to cultivate. (Directed
imagination is similar to "visualization.")
use our imagination frequently throughout the day. We use it in our
story-like fantasies and daydreams, and in our recall of
memories, and in the mental pictures which we create to help us to
understand concepts, and in the scenarios which we might use to plan
a future activity (e.g., a vacation, for which we design our agenda
by envisioning the places which we will visit). For some people, the
"thinking" process is composed primarily of words; other people
"think" primarily in pictures. (Albert Einstein, whose imagination
helped to create the theories of relativity, said that very little of
his thought process involved words.)
careful when using directed imagination. This technique might be
dangerous for people who tend to hallucinate, or who have difficulty
in differentiating physical sensory images and inner imaginative
images. For those people, an inner image can seem to acquire a life
of its own, continuing beyond the end of the directed-imagination
session; it might even recur spontaneously throughout the day. To
avoid some of these problems, end your session by intentionally
dissolving the images, and then relaxing by gazing at the normal
black screen of the mind before opening your eyes. If the problems
continue, use the grounding techniques which are described in the
meditation section of The Human Handbook -- and consider the
possibility that you should not use directed imagination at all. (For
psychologically healthy people, the techniques are surely as harmless
as any other use of the imagination.)
How does directed
imagination work? We implant images into our archetypal fields. The
images -- along with the thoughts, energy tones, and actions --
become a permanent record of our interaction with the archetype, even
though the interaction is occurring "only" in our imagination rather
than occurring in our current physical circumstance. Thus, in future
encounters with the archetype (in our imagination or in the physical
world), these images will influence our perception of, and response
to, the archetype.
imagination has been used successfully by many people.
- It has been used by athletes. For example, ice skater
Elizabeth Manley, and diver Greg Louganis, said that imagery
helped them to win their olympic medals.
- It has been used to treat medical disorders. Imagery has
helped people who have migraine headaches, obesity, high blood
pressure, and other ailments. (Please do not use directed
imagination in lieu of medical treatments; we can visit a doctor
and we can also use directed imagination.)
- We can use the general guidelines which are in the chapter
regarding archetypal field-work. To avoid redundancy, those
guidelines are not repeated here.
- We can combine the different types of field-work. For example,
while using directed imagination, we can also use:
We can acquire images from various sources. For the purpose of
directed imagination, we might use an image from various sources:
- Self-talk statements.
- We can associate a self-talk statement with an image.
For example, while we say, "I am relaxed when speaking
in front of groups," we imagine ourselves standing
confidently at a podium.
- Instead of saying words, we can visualize words
which have meaning to us. For example, we can see the word
"love" in large white letters. Try different words,
different colors, different styles of lettering (e.g.,
script type, or all capital letters), different backgrounds
(e.g., a blue sky, or a chalkboard). One variation of this
exercise is to see the word (e.g., "love"), and experience
its corresponding state -- and then allow the word to
disappear while we maintain the state.
- The as-if principle. Whenever we act "as if," we can use
directed imagination to affirm the action which we are
performing; for example, if we are acting as if we are
peaceful, we can create images of a relaxing place (e.g., a
- Energy toning. We can use energy toning (i.e., emotions and
feelings) while we do directed imagination:
- We add the corresponding energy tone. For example, if we
are visualizing ourselves in a peaceful setting, we generate
the energy tone of happiness. If we are visualizing a
desired object or a condition (e.g., a healthy body), we
implant the tone of enthusiasm and gratitude.
- We use personal images. We are more likely to
evoke an energy tone if we imagine a scene with which we
have a personal affiliation; for example, to evoke serenity,
we would imagine our favorite beach instead of a fabricated
scene of a generic beach.
- We enjoy the natural feeling of joy which arises when we
use a pleasant image. The joy occurs because the image
increases the flow of life-energy.
- We use the image with various energy tones. As explained
in the chapter regarding field-work, we are most likely to
remember the images which we implanted when we were in an
emotional state resembling our current state; for example,
when we are depressed, we tend to refer to the same
constellation (of thoughts, images, energy tones, and
images) which we traditionally use when we are
depressed. Therefore, we need to implant our images with a
variety of energy tones, so that those images will be the
dominant constellation in any mood which might occur in the
- We generally refrain from creating images of unwanted
conditions. For example, instead of visualizing ourselves
winning a battle against an intruder, we can create a
positive image of ourselves resting securely within the
walls of an impregnable fortress. (If we visualized the
battle, we would be reinforcing that imagery within our
- We can use our body's physical energy. The body's
vitality is added to the image-element if we use directed
imagination while we walk, dance, exercise, clean our home,
or perform other movements.
We use different positions from which to view the object of
our directed imagination.
- An internal source. Our imagination, a fantasy, a
sleep-time dream, a memory, intuition, a vision, etc.
- An external source. A photograph, a movie, a magazine or
newspaper, a web site, a television program, a physical object,
a photo (or video) of ourselves performing the act which we
want to reinforce, a verbal description of an image (e.g., a
book's description of a setting, or a person's description of a
vacation spot), etc.
We can use our other senses. For most people, imagination is
primarily visual. However, we have other options:
- From the inside. We imagine a scene as though we are
looking at it through our own eyes. We see the surroundings,
the other people, and the parts of our body which we would
normally be able to see (e.g., our arms, legs, and torso -- but
not our head).
- From the outside. We visualize ourselves from an external
point, as a spectator of ourselves.
- From a specific person. We see ourselves as if we are
looking through the eyes of a particular person or group of
people. For example, we could see ourselves from the viewpoint
of our spouse, or a parent, or a judge at an ice-skating
We can allow ourselves to daydream and to fantasize. In our
hurried, left-hemisphere-oriented world (and particularly in
classrooms), daydreaming is not encouraged. But this activity is a
good way to access our intuition and to enhance our ability to use
We can use an "animated" image. Instead of viewing a
stationary object, we imagine a story with various settings,
characters, and activities. (Some suggestions for story-lines are
offered in the chapter regarding "guided meditation" in The
We can use interesting images. We respond most readily
to images which are bright and colorful and fascinating.
We notice the images which we create with our words. Whether
we are speaking, or listening to another person speaking, we often
make pictures in our mind to help us to understand the words. In
particular, we note the destructive imagery which
accompanies our visual expressions, e.g., "He is a pain in the
neck"; in that example, we are implanting the image of a painful
We relax. Images are associated with the right hemisphere of
the brain, so we need to increase the activity of that hemisphere
by relaxing and drifting into a dream-like state, as though we are
having an effortless fantasy or daydream. However, if we go
too far into that state, our imagery will be mere
stream-of-consciousness rambling; we need to balance this with the
left hemisphere's gentle control in order to maintain the
stability of an image.
We can visualize an object or an animal which we associate
with a particular quality. For example, we can imagine a mountain
when we want to develop stability. We can imagine a cloud when we
want to be serene. We can imagine a proud lion when we want
courage and self-esteem.
We can intentionally tightening our muscles slightly as if we
are physically performing the activity which we are visualizing.
For example, if we are visualizing ourselves talking, we create a
small stimulation in the throat muscles (but not enough to
physically move those muscles).
We can allow the image to "take on a life of its own." We can
learn more about the object which we are visualizing if we allow
the image to spontaneously change, or move; for example, if our
image spontaneously become dark and ugly, we might examine our
deeper feelings regarding that object.
We do not use the physical eyes for directed imagination.
Instead, we close our eyes and then we create the image on the
black screen within the mind.
We do not place the image directly in front of us, on that
inner screen. Instead, we might have more success if we put the
picture slightly to the left, right, top, or bottom.
We can do a gentle visualization while we fall asleep. The
- We can use a different sense -- imagining sounds or smells
or textures or flavors. For example, we might if we want to
"visualize" comfort, we might imagine the aroma of our mother's
- We can use more than one sense. For example, if we are
imagining a new car, we can "smell" the scent of a new car's
interior; we can "hear" the sound of the engine; we can "feel"
the texture of the smooth steel.
We can expect improvement in our ability to use our
imagination. Some people cannot visualize at all; they need to
start by simply thinking about the image, or creating the
feeling which would be associated with the image, or making
a very simple picture. After we are able to make a mental
image, we can develop our ability to visualize:
- We will enter sleep, and then we will dream about the
object of our visualization.
- We will remain conscious while the body falls asleep, and
then we will interact with the object in a lucid dream.
We can imagine the scenes from books. For example, we can
spend time with a novel (for which we would imagine the
characters' actions) instead of a television (which offers a
passive experience in which we are not using our imagination).
We explore the symbolism of images. The intuitive and
intellectual dimension of symbolism can add to our appreciation
and use of imagery. To learn more about symbolism, we can read
books about the arts (poetry, photography, film-making, etc.), and
We can be aware of more visual details throughout the day in
our physical environment. This will help to develop our skill in
seeing details internally. These same details can be used
in our directed imagination; for example, if we make a point of
noticing and remembering a beautiful cloud formation, we can
recall this memory when we want to visualize a relaxing scene.
- See the blackness without any image. This will accustom us
to the use of our inner vision.
- See a single color. Example: a red blob.
- See a single shape. Example: a triangle in any color.
- See a particular shape in a particular color. Example: a
- See two colors in the same image. Example: a green star
with a red border.
- See two images simultaneously. Example: a triangle inside
of a circle.
- See one image, and move it. Example: move a square from the
right side to the left side of the inner screen.
- See one image, and alter it. Example: make a rectangle
larger or smaller, or wider or narrower, or taller or shorter.
By altering the image, we can improve its outcome; for example,
we might change the image a basketball's flight, so that it
does not bounce off of the backboard but instead it goes
straight into the basket.
- Change from one image to another. Example: start with a
circle, and then delete that circle, and see a square instead.
- Transform one image into another. Example: begin with a
triangle, and change it (i.e., "morph" it) into a star.
- See an object which is three-dimensional. Example: a cube.
- See the three-dimensional object from various positions.
For example, look at the cube from the top, and then from one
side, and then from another side. We can rotate the object
itself, or we can imagine moving ourselves to a different
position while keeping the object stationary.
- Visualize a familiar "still" scene which contains many
objects. Example: our living room, with a sofa, chairs, a
carpet, wallpaper, a table, etc. We are recreating the scene
- Create a fictitious "still" scene. Example: a valley on
Mars. We are creating the scene from our imagination.
- Create a scene in which there is movement. Example: a tree
in which birds are flying.
- Put yourself into the action. Example: a forest in which we
are walking. Instead of watching the images as though they are
on a movie screen, we surround ourselves with the scenery, and
then we take a walk through this world.