What Is Creative Visualization?

Is creative visualization just another term for wishful thinking? Or is there more to this term than meets the eye?

How often do we think without thinking? Or rather, without realizing we are thinking? About as often, we qualify some of our actions as conditioned reflexes, but these, of course, may well spring from unrecognizable thoughts, or light, bright energy balls.

Beyond the elemental, for example, breathing, to focus thoughts, to focus one's imagination on an objective with the intention of achieving that objective and to do so consciously is the essence of creative visualization.

In the context that there is "nothing new under the sun" and that there is "power in positive thinking", creative visualization has, in some form or another, been with us for a long time. The language and techniques of creative visualization owe much to Buddhism, one of the world's oldest religions.

The current language particularly expresses creative visualization in New Age terms. Meditation, personal growth, energy, fulfilment, holism, and individuality are all key terms. Indeed, creative visualization is in many respects central to what we term "˜New Age'.

The desire for self-direction is a spiritual, even mystic, longing that seems to be a trait found in many people. Creative visualization simultaneously encapsulates and expands this, very much an expression of "cogito ergo sum, in its New Age milieu.

One of the earliest books on the subject "Creative Visualization" by Andrew M. Wiehl, was published in 1958. Other publications followed, but it was a book by Shatki Gawain in 1979, "Creative Visualization," which is regarded as perhaps the most accessible and interactive to lay readers. A revised edition was published in 1995. During the interim, Gawain also published other writings, most noteworthy, "The Creative Visualization Workbook," in 1982.

In her work, Gawain clarifies several important points:

1. The inter-relationship of all energies in the physical universe and their constant interactions make change a constant, albeit at varying speeds.

2. Like attracts like; energy is mystical to that extent.

3. Form follows idea. "I think I'll take a shower" becomes the act of taking a shower. "I think I'll wear a jacket because it's raining," if ignored, probably results in a wet person.

4. What pre-occupies our thoughts tends to become our reality. "We reap what we sow," according to Gawain, means that we should sow our own happiness, and, insofar as possible, that of those around you.

How does all this work? One visualizes while one is as deeply relaxed as possible, as frequently and as long as is convenient. Gawain emphasizes that trance-like meditation is unnecessary. More important is clarity and singularity of focus. For many, to be sure, this suggests a meditative state, but so is day dreaming. The distinction is that day dreaming is usually random, whereas creative visualization is goal oriented.

And if a person cannot "see"? Not a problem, writes Gawain. People favor different senses: some, sound; others, smell; or feel. Your visions are shaped by the descriptions which are most comfortable in your imagination. Then, form follows idea.

© High Speed Ventures 2011