I have seen the power of visualization referenced from countless sources:
- Olympic athletic training
- David Goggins talking about his mind boggling experiences as a Seal and Ultra Marathoner
- Verses from the Bible
- Lester Levenson and other master teachers
- Experiences in my own life that would be hard to call coincidences
One of the challenges I have often come across, is too much emphasis on the word visual in the practice of visualization.
Simply seeing an image of something in your mind is not particularly special or interesting by itself. Go ahead and picture anything – as soon as you see a word: elephant, carrot, headphones, you probably just saw some type of image of them.
This is happening all the time. Many people daydream and go into fantasy land for long intervals, and while that can serve a purpose, it rarely creates some sort of powerful result. By itself, simply holding the picture for longer can be a mind training exercise, but I am not sure how much is being activated by doing this.
Feeling, and deeper than that, meaning, these are what seem to make this into a relevant, useful process to me.
Now, I can say how important the feeling is – and it is, but you have probably heard that before.
This brings us to the second challenge, which I hope this exercise can help you with today.
The challenge comes from the approach of:
picking a goal, then trying to make yourself feel something positive about it as a practice.
A common example would be picking a money goal, because most people want more money – picking the number, staring at it, looking to generate emotion around it.
Part of why this is a good example is, the money itself is usually a more surface level gateway to a deeper feeling that is craved such as a freedom, expression, relaxation from stress, and more. Those feelings themselves are actually more powerful entry points to feeling real connection and inspiration.
It is very easy for this type of “pick a goal and try to focus on it” to feel like a chore, which is why few stick with it. It can also feel a bit of an uphill movement that is not particularly inspiring.
I am going to suggest you start with very simple questions that are designed to make you feel something positive first, and move from there.
Feeling it First
Keeping this very simple, without thinking about life purpose or the significance of a “goal,” ask yourself:
What is something I like?
Something that makes me feel good, uplifted when I think about it?
It can be a dog, a person, a piece of music or art. Actually listen for a response rather than forcing yourself to pick a pre-determined goal.
Now, without the overhead of trying to get any specific result, just put your attention on the way it makes you feel.
Become interested in the feeling. Let yourself lean into it, feel it more. As simply and naturally as you can put your attention on an object in front of you or a part of your body, just make that good feeling the object of your awareness.
Guess what? Feeling this positive sense of connection, even if it is not attached to a particular result, is far more powerful and inspires more growth than doing a more focused “exercise” around a goal if doing so feels rote or cold.
Another Step Further
Again, in a simple, natural way where you are listening openly to whatever response comes up, ask yourself:
How might it be possible to have more of this feeling in my life?
Notice that you are asking a question, for your own innate intelligence and subconscious to respond to. Rather than you picking a goal that you believe is supposed to make you feel a certain way, you are inquiring from the place of feeling.
See where this takes you.
See if this generates some ideas, possibilities that may then become goals of sorts, but they have come from within you and your own exploration.
Also, “having more of this feeling in my life” could mean you simply allow yourself to feel it – NOW.
If this starts to generate resistance, confusion, that is a great place to direct some more focused inner work by examining that resistance. What is it that starts to feel uncomfortable, why is it not safe to feel good, or perhaps to move in the direction of having more of this in your life?
Either way, you are moving forward with purpose and truly tuning in to your own answers.
I hope you find this valuable.
We will be going a LOT deeper into this type of exploration in the “Vision to Reality” class starting next week. This is 5 weeks of recorded, guided exercises and explorations that build on each other, with a live call to work together each week.
Most importantly, start allowing yourself to feel some good feelings TODAY, especially if you are always so focused on finding your blocks to clear and what seems to be not working. My intention for inner work is for it to make your life feel and work better, not become an end in and of itself!