Working with Imagery

I asked the workshop group if anyone had ongoing problems with anxiety, panic, or unrelenting physical or emotional stress. Every hand in the room went up.…Elizabeth Bohorquez, RN, C.Ht

Imagery & its visual counterpart are natural skills that people utilize all the time. Children, with their vivid imaginations, work beautifully with both visualization & other forms of imagery. However, our general education often interferes with these innate skills & so we must go back & learn to improve our abilities to visualize, to image, as well as to increase, control & direct the same in the direction of the goal or desired change.

Imagery is everything. It is the crux of how we experience our bodies, environment, our relationships to others or to ourselves, as well as to our spiritual life. We image constantly. Unfortunately, the most common imagery consists of negative, non-trusting, insecure, failure-orientated, worrisome, highly judgmental inner audio & visuals. These images are often followed by the behaviors that come to match the blueprints, thereby reinforcing the negative images. Our goal is not to teach imagery, but to change & transform existing images into ones that form the basis for high-level living and health.

We buy inner programming every moment & our minds do what they are programmed to do. The work you have been doing in Awareness Meditation has allowed you to see, as well as hear some of this programming in the process. Observing the thoughts, emotions, listening to the inner audio programs & watching the ongoing DVD has given you the opportunity to see first hand how this automatic pilot programming has been working for most of your life. Now you have the tools to manage this programming & with visualization and imagery, you can actively change the DVD, thereby changing the outcomes not only in your mind but in your body as well.

Images are stored chemically, not only in the mind but also in the entire body. When they are recalled consciously, or unconsciously, the chemical program is replayed, often times enhanced in some way. We store many types of images including those involving all the senses; visual, hearing, feeling, taste & smell. For example, certain perfumes bring back remembrances of long ago, as does the smell of iodine or anesthetic. The smell of baking bread can evoke happiness, hunger, or even sadness if it is associated with a painful stored memory.

As we learn to observe inner programming, noticing what is helpful or not helpful as we go towards our goals, we can choose to make changes. Awareness is the very first key. It is most interesting to observe the patterns of thoughts, as well as the automatic responses we play out, sometimes in response to emotions or even relationships.

For example, some people play the victim or the judge when in the company of certain people. Start to become aware, encouraging yourself to notice this type of auto-response. Some patterns are very ingrained, but as you practice more & more Awareness Meditation Tools, you will bring these to conscious awareness, where they can be assessed. It is important to stay detached & non-judgmental as possible during this awareness work. The tools of Interactive Self-Hypnosis will make this easier. Remember to congratulate yourself for practicing these techniques. The subconscious mind loves to be congratulated & will be motivated to repeat this activity for you.

Another benefit of imagery I’ve not discussed is the actual change in the brain structures from this type of practice. Research indicates that a person who actively practices imagery develops more brain cells & more neuronal connections. We find an improved ability to concentrate, as well as retrieve stored information whether it is long or short term. Learning appears to accelerate & the individual is able to accomplish more with less efforting.

WORKING WITH IMAGERY is great fun. In this section, we will discuss the specific work we will be doing with images in the accompanying audio programs. The more we practice the better we get, and the better we get, the bigger the rewards.

We will be focusing on awareness tools, in and out of the workshop. We want to bring awareness to and enhance all physical senses; sight, smell, touch, taste, as well as the emotions. Practice during the day. Take some time to focus on each sense. For example, eat your lunch on your own in a quiet place, noticing the taste and feel of each movement & food involved in this activity. Sometimes it helps to close off one of the other senses, such as smelling the bath soap with your eyes closed. Taste the cheese without conversation, or close the eyes at the same time and feel it in your mouth. What does popcorn feel like as opposed to cheese? Notice we are not talking about taste, but feel. Most of us are highly visual or auditory. Smaller percentages are kinesthetic, or feeling. It is good to know what is your favorite sense, and then work with imagery to enhance the others.

As we begin to work with images we will begin experiencing them in new ways. We will go inside our pencil making it very big. We will go inside the walls of our house, and see what it looks like to look out into the room from inside the wall. We will practice seeing pieces of familiar furniture, feeling what it feels like to sit on it, stand on it & walk around it. This is the practice of 3-D imagery & is a very powerful tool in mind development.

We will be working on changing some of these images. In the Workshop we have a special camera for making images smaller, & then we can actually experience them in that size. Imagine sitting on a familiar chair that is now less than half the size. We can make things bigger, brighter, louder, softer. We can put things outside the houses that are inside and then do just the opposite. These exercises work to stimulate various sections of the brain, thereby changing their chemistry and increasing the ability to think and create. They help us remove boundaries & open us to change. We see what appeared to be impossible is now possible & choices we perhaps never considered can be seen as workable. New ideas seem to come forth with less effort.

We go on to experience being in our own body, rafting down the veins and arteries, looking around various parts, and seeing how food, exercise, sleep, and relaxation actually play out in our cells. This is your body and no one else’s. You are unique in this world & have a responsibility to care for your mind and your body.

You will be working with an album filled with images. Unlike a photograph album, this one not only has visual images but remembrances of all images from your past and those already pasted in for your future. As we work with this album we can re-experience and choose to change those which are acting as inhibitors to your goals. We practice with easy ones such as an image of any apple. We can make it taste even more apple-like, or experience eating an apple with no taste at all. We always make sure to leave our apple tasting just right!

We practice smelling, tasting, touching, and experiencing. There is an area for placing new images that have not been experienced and practicing with them right there. We even get to practice what it feels like to be someone else, and even someone whom we never met such as Einstein. Not a bad image, especially when taking a math test!

The practice of imagery makes life richer. It is like turning up the color and intensity of the things we have at our disposal to enjoy. It also gives us the tools for diminishing those things that are not beneficial to our happiness and health, and because imagery can be very specific, we don’t have to diminish everything, but just the area that is bothersome.

WORKING WITH IMAGINOLOGY allows us to utilize imagery in a larger area. The new images now take on life and action that can be designed and managed thereby giving power, control and encouraging the development of creativity. We seem to make changes in an effortless way. This process is free of judgment and criticism, and allows us to move confidently and stress-free through areas what may have caused difficulties in the past.

The audio programs connected to this workshop will enhance your inherent ability to design personalized metaphors for change. New skills will be developed allowing your subconscious mind to come forth with its own suggestions. Our own suggestions and problem-solving capabilities are always more powerful than those presented by someone else.

When we practice imaginology we see ourselves in the action, and can make it exactly as we would like or even better. Most of us live in a small inner world, rather like a corral. We want to learn to open the gates and go out to explore. We want to put old fears and negative programming aside. As we practice with these programs, you will begin to notice when the automatic negative programming is blocking you from expanding your horizons.