The Firewalk – Creative Imagery in Action

The most convincing demonstration of creative imagery for me took place a few years ago. About three dozen of us gathered in a field in Somerset one cool April evening. A five metre lane of burning hot embers was prepared, and one by one we tentatively stepped onto the fire, muttering ‘cool wet moss’ and imagining the glowing embers as crunchy popcorn.

The only preparation we’d had was an hour and a half visualising that we could do it, affirming ‘I am cool and calm’, ‘I am powerful’ and ‘I walk through fear’, imagining the soft, pleasant coolness beneath our feet.

Firewalk

The fire walk is a convincing demonstration of mind over matter. There is no logical explanation, but it’s been done by millions of people all over the world, people just like you and I, every one a testament to the power of creative imagery, autosuggestion and affirmations.

Creative imagery is powerful. Creative imagery works. What you visualise today can become your reality in the future, so make sure you only visualise what you desire for yourself and your loved ones.

Try this:

Pick something you know well – a close friend, your house, car, a favourite scene etc. Close your eyes and visualise it. If you can’t visualize the whole thing, pick a part of it such as their face, a tree or the front door. Play with the image. Make it bigger, smaller, brighter, dimmer? Can you make it more colourful, hazier, clearer? Touch it – how does it feel? Add movement, for instance, walk round the house and see it from a different angle, get in the car and go for a spin. Practise until the image becomes stronger, more animated.

 

If you are a newcomer to creative imagery, be patient. Not everyone can conjure up crystal clear pictures in full colour. Most of us find it difficult at first and all can improve.

If you’ve tried it for a while and are still finding it difficult, it could be because you’re just not naturally a visual person. People process information in many different ways. Some are visual – they primarily use pictures; others are auditory, which means they function better through sound. A kinesthetic person experiences the world primarily through feeling and touch. Which are you?

If you’re auditory, try to ‘hear’ sounds you associate with your chosen outcome. If kinesthetic, ‘sense’ or ‘feel’ the result you want. This makes use of the way in which your brain functions. Whatever you’re most comfortable with is absolutely right for you.

If nothing seems to happen, don’t give up. Perhaps you are trying too hard or have allowed doubts to creep in. Or maybe something better awaits you. Your intuitive Superconscious mind may be trying to direct you onto a different course. Keep an open mind. You’re harnessing powerful energies, so don’t misuse them.

©David Lawrence Preston, 9.10.2017

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Healing and the Imagination

The imagination can be a potent force in healing.

It’s no exaggeration that patients who cannot imagine themselves well are unlikely to be or stay so, and an increasing number of doctors and complementary practitioners agree. For example, in pain control clinics patients are taught to imagine the sore area going cool and numb, and visualise a dial or slide control representing the degree of pain and turn it down. It works because pain is a subjective experience highly susceptible to mental processes.

Try this: sit down comfortably, take a few deep breaths and focus your attention on your dominant hand. Imagine it getting warmer. What’s happening? Now imagine it getting cooler. Any difference? Experiments using sophisticated measuring equipment have registered significant changes in skin temperature when people use their imagination in this way.

Leading physicians such as Dr Carl Simonton, Dr Bernie Segal and Dr Dean Ornish have written and lectured widely about their experiences using the imagination to assist the healing process. Dr Simonton teaches his patients to visualise tumours shrinking and the cancer disappearing. Dr Ornish uses creative imagery, nutrition, exercise and group therapy to clear coronary heart blockages. Dr Segal uses a range of techniques to galvanise the healing power of the mind, including visualisation. In each case, the results are well documented. This author, too, has used it (with hypnosis) to relieve a range of conditions including eczema, frozen shoulder, muscular aches and pains, blushing, allergies, eczema, headaches, obesity, bed wetting and a variety of fears and phobias.

Using the imagination, especially the creative visual imagination, works because of two quirks of the unconscious mind (where the body’s automatic regulation systems are located). The first is, the unconscious processes pictures and feelings better than words and ideas. Tell your heart to speed up and nothing happens.  Imagine yourself waking down a dark alley with the sound of footsteps getting louder behind you and suddenly a heavy hand on your shoulder…..

The other is even quirkier: the unconscious can’t distinguish between fact and fantasy, ‘real’ and imagined. That’s why people wake in a sweat after a bad dream and cry at the cinema. So if you create a mental image of yourself healthy and healed, your unconscious works to make it a reality.

Creative imagery has proved its worth in healing time and time again. Katy came to see me after suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for many years. It made her days miserable and kept her awake at night. IBS is a stress-related condition exacerbated by poor diet.

I took her through a couple of guided visualisations and encouraged her to practise at home. She relaxed deeply and imagined she was examining her bowel from the inside. In her imagination she created a vivid mental picture of the problem area. It looked rough, angry, red and sore. She then imagined herself smearing the affected area with healing oils and balms, sensing the discomfort melting away, seeing the angry red change to a healthy pink. Finally, she turned on a make-believe tap in the bloodstream which provided extra nutrients and oxygen, to encourage healthy bacteria to flow in.

Within two weeks the IBS had almost disappeared. After a month, it was completely clear.

Try it yourself, but first a word of warning: no amount of creative imagery alone will cure you unless you change bad habits and take necessary action in other areas (e.g. diet, exercise, rest etc.) too.

 

©Feelinggoodallthetime, 27.3.2017

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Healing and Creative Imagery

Creative Imagery (visualization) is an invaluable healing tool with proven health benefits. It can reduce chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol and the stress hormone cortisol. It boosts brain function, the immune system and the heart and circulation. When we relax and focus our minds, we stimulate the life forces within, allowing the body to regenerate itself.

Moreover, when we send loving thoughts to a body part and affirm life flowing through it, we direct healing forces to it. A gentle focus of attention is all it takes to free the body of minor ailments, and more serious conditions can be relieved with regular practice. It can also prevent medical problems.

Try this: when in a relaxed state, take your awareness to your body and notice any pain or discomfort – you’ll find your attention wants to go there. There are lessons to be learned, so ask your Higher Self what your body trying to tell you. Then make the necessary adjustments to your habits or lifestyle.

How to use Creative Imagery for healing

Creative Imagery has been used for decades by eminent doctors such as Dr Carl Simonton, Dr Bernie Segal, Dr Milton Erickson and Dr Dean Ornish. They have written extensively about their techniques.

The following is typical of the type of healing routines they employ:

  1. Thoroughly relax your body and mind. Focus on your breath; imagine it as a form of healing energy. As you exhale, mentally direct this healing energy to the injured part., Affirm, ‘My …. Is healed and strong.’
  2. Next, visualise the part as already healed. If it is a cut, see the flesh smooth and unscarred; if a break, see the bone neatly knitted together. If there is any swelling, see the joint back to its normal size. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what a broken bone or sprained muscle looks like – imagine how it will look once healed and let your unconscious take care of the rest.
  3. Thirdly, visualise yourself doing all the things you will be able to do once you have fully recovered. Remember, focus your mind on what you want, not what you don’t, and you will be surprised how the healing process is speeded up.

Healing with white light

Healing energies are often visualised as white light. White light symbolises loving, healing energy. For example:

  1. Imagine yourself resting in a sanctuary bathed in pure white light. Go within and release your inner healing energies.
  1. See the symptoms clearing, the light of pure love working on the body, strengthening and supporting, mending the joints and muscles, disease and negativity flowing out of the body.
  1. Visualise your body bathed in light, strong, healthy, doing everything you want it to.
  1. See the body infused with light and affirm: My body is strong and healthy. All my muscles and organs work in perfect harmony. Vitalizing energy floods my whole consciousness and I am healed.

With proper self-management, doctors would rarely be required, but you must adopt good habits or sooner of later the body will demand attention and force you to change. Remember, good habits are not just to be adopted when you are ill. Prevention is better than cure, and positive attitudes, wise words, creative imagery and loving actions are among the best form of prevention.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 15.11.2016

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Why Creative Imagery Has Such A Powerful Effect On The Unconscious

Why does creative imagery have such a powerful effect on the unconscious, and consequently your life? Imprinting a thought-form in your mind (words and/or pictures) is like planting a seed. It may take a while before you see the results, but every time you focus on that thought, the roots are burying deep. Eventually the fresh green shoots appear, and the more emotion and enthusiasm you put into it, the sooner it happens. Once an idea takes root at this deep level, it’s extremely difficult to shift.

Here are the main reasons:

1. The unconscious thinks mainly in pictures and feelings

The unconscious ‘thinks’ mainly in pictures. It also processes feelings. It is accessed mainly through the right side of the brain, which is more receptive to these than language (which is largely a left-brained function). For most people, the best way of impressing anything on the unconscious mind is to ‘show’ it a picture, and back it up with emotive words and feelings.

That’s why advertisers display their products against glamorous settings. The viewer unconsciously associates the product with drink with aspirational people. But if the advert said ‘Us this product and become one of the jet-set,’ you would dismiss it as a load of rubbish. Putting the message across VISUALLY and creating EMOTION circumvents the critical faculties of the conscious mind and impresses it on the unconscious.

2. The unconscious cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy

The unconscious is incapable of knowing whether the information it receives has come through your five senses or from your imagination. It responds exactly the same to all input.

Show your unconscious an image, and it accepts it as real. It stores the event in your memory as if it really happened, together with the emotions you were feeling at the time. Have you ever woken up at night in a sweat after a bad dream? You knew it was just a dream, but your unconscious didn’t. That’s why you reacted as if it was real. Have you ever cried at the cinema? You were watching artificial lights flickering on a screen and listening to recorded sound! You knew this all along, to why did they have such a powerful influence on you?

3. The unconscious cannot distinguish between good and bad

The unconscious does not question whatever you feed into it consciously or subconsciously. It has no way of knowing whether your instructions are good for you or bad for you. It simply does as it believes it has been directed.

4. The unconscious controls your automatic bodily responses

The unconscious also controls your bodily responses through your nervous system. If you are not convinced, try this exercise:

Sit comfortably, take a few deep breaths and relax. Pretend you have a mental screen, like a TV screen, inside your forehead, just above the level of your eyes. Imagine that a plank of wood is lying on the ground just in front of you, ten feet long and a foot wide. Now imagine that you’re walking along it. How do you feel? Almost everyone can do this easily. Now imagine that same plank twenty storeys high on a building site, suspended between two steel girders. Go on, walk across it. Now, how do you feel? ‘Nuff said?

5. Creative imagery is the most effective way of accessing unconscious material

It is also the most effective way of inputting new, empowering material into the unconscious. You can feed in positive thought forms – words, feelings and images – which programme the unconscious for whatever you desire.

Creative imagery is not some fanciful idea – it has been used successfully in business, sport, academia, psychotherapy, the entertainment industry and many other areas of life to change unhelpful patterns and improve performance. Now you know some of the reasons why.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 30.7.2016

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Creating a wonderful life with Creative Imagery

We all have a goal-seeking mechanism housed in the unconscious which takes us where the unconscious believes we want to go.  It is best influenced by:

1. Repetition – continually and consciously focussing on positive thoughts and images – effective if you persist going long enough; and

2. Creative imagery – relaxing into Alpha State (deep relaxation) and feeding in positive pictures, words, sounds and sensations.

The techniques I’m about to share have been used by many people in all walks of life, and the results can be astounding. For instance, Clare was on the verge of a breakdown. She’d recently completed a lengthy training course, but had been unable to find suitable work. To make matters worse all the others on the course had found what they wanted. She was also desperate to resolve her accommodation problems. She shared a flat with an ex-boyfriend who was verbally abusive and occasionally violent. Above all she wanted to find a partner who would treat her well.

She learned to relax deeply every day and visualise herself doing the job she wanted and being well-paid for it; enjoying a caring and loving relationship; and sharing her flat with someone she liked. At first, she was sceptical, but after a couple of weeks she was getting the hang of it.

I didn’t hear from her for several weeks. Then I received a letter out of the blue. The ex-boyfriend had moved out, she’d found a well-paid job, joined a health club and made a new circle of friends. She had also struck up a good relationship with a man she’d met at the club. Things were definitely on the up.

I’ve taught these methods to people suffering from fear of flying, needles, dentists, lifts, reptiles and insects; people about to take examinations, driving tests or face difficult interviews; sportsmen and women keen to improve their performances; people with sexual problems or addictions of one sort or another, and many, many more.

1. Make Creative Imagery a habit

Find twenty minutes every day when you will be undisturbed. Go to a quiet place, switch off the mobile and put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door. Any time is good, but first thing in the morning and last thing at night are especially beneficial because the mind is naturally most receptive at these times. It is also a good idea to ‘visualise’ the way you would like your day to go when you’re waking up.

2. Be clear on what you’re trying to achieve

Plan each session in advance. Choose one or two goals at a time, or, better still, concentrate on one or two for a whole week.

If you find you have difficulty remembering your routine, record it onto a suitable device and listen while you’re relaxed.

3. Relax deeply

Use your favourite techniques to relax into Alpha Level.

4. Imagine a mental screen

Imagine that you have a screen inside your forehead, just above eye level, rather like a cinema screen. Practise making images until you are totally comfortable with it. In time, you’ll be able to use it at will.

5. Allow your chosen images etc. to materialise

Creative imagery is a passive process. The unconscious cannot be hurried. Be patient, don’t force it, and don’t get frustrated if results don’t come immediately.

6. Give them impact

If the images, sounds and feelings you create are to have impact on your unconscious, they must be as clear and vibrant as you can make them.

  • Create colour images and make them as bright as possible.
  • Visualise moving images rather than stills.
  • ‘See’ them in three dimensions.
  • Place them at the centre of your mental screen.
  • Use all five senses if possible. In most cases, you’ll be able to use at least three. For example, if you’re mentally rehearsing a tennis match, ‘see’ the court, the ball, your opponent, etc., ‘hear’ the strings striking the ball, ‘feel’ the racquet in your hand, the sun on your face and the sweat on your forehead (fill in as many details as you can). Project as much feeling as you can.

7. Reinforce with auto-suggestion

Reinforce creative imagery with auto-suggestion. One effective form of words is: ‘I’m so happy. Now I see myself with/doing…’ etc.

8. Imagine a perfect outcome

Imagine exactly what you want to impress on the unconscious –  choose thought-forms and images that symbolise success – the medal round your neck, the crowd applauding, signing the contract, enjoying your ideal relationship, breaking the winning tape, starting the job, etc.

9. See it through your own eyes

Even if you feel at this stage that you can’t achieve perfection, don’t let this deter you from imagining it. You wouldn’t programme a missile to strike somewhere near the target, would you? The fact that your desire is registered in your unconscious will guide you closer to the real thing.

When you ‘visualise’, you could either ‘watch’ yourself like a spectator, from a distance (‘second position’); or ‘picture’ or ‘experience’ the situation through your own eyes as if you were a participant (‘first position’).

For example, if you were mentally rehearsing yourself on stage, you could either watch yourself as if sat in the audience (this is ‘second position’), or you could imagine on-stage looking out into the auditorium, hearing the audience applauding, feeling the boards beneath your feet etc. ‘First position’ has a much more powerful effect on the unconscious.

If your aim is to acquire a material object, imagine yourself already in possession of it. E.g. if it’s a new car you want, imagine the view from driver’s seat rather than looking in at yourself behind the wheel.

10. Generate as much emotion as you can

Hold your goals in your mind until you can literally feel them coming true. Emotions attract and create energy. The more power and energy you put into your creative imagery, the more quickly your desires will manifest.

11. Practise

Practise every day, even if nothing seems to happen. The results cannot fail to materialise and your confidence in the technique will grow.

12. Take action

Creative imagery eases the way to success, but you still need to do whatever has to be done. So do something every day that takes you closer to your goal. Action also strengthens your self-confidence.

Creative imagery is like planting seeds. First clear the weeds (the doubts and fears), prepare the ground, sow the seeds, add fertiliser, water frequently – and wait. Your creative and intuitive powers will be awakened. It may take a while to take root and for the first shoots to appear, but if you trust in nature and keep up with the watering (lots of positive thought-forms and constructive action), your faith will be repaid every time.

 

© David Lawrence Preston, 12.5.2016

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How your imagination can give you a lift

The poet, John Masefield, wrote, ‘Man’s body is faulty, his mind untrustworthy, but his imagination has made him remarkable.’

Albert Einstein, one of the geniuses of the 20th Century, said, ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. It is a preview of life’s coming attractions.’

When asked where he got ideas for his paintings, Vincent Van Gogh replied, ‘First I dream my painting, then I paint my dream.’

This is how life is too. We imagine how are lives will be, then busily set about living as our imagination dictates. We create an image of ourselves, and become the image we have created.

What is ‘imagination’?

Imagination is bringing to mind something that is not wholly present in a material sense. It the very essence of our creativity. A good imagination is not just the preserve of children and artists – it is part of everyone’s mental equipment.

There are two forms of imagination:

  • Artificial imagination rearranges old ideas, concepts or plans into new combinations. We can bring past events and experiences into the imagination.
  • Creative imagination is the means by which new ideas, hunches and inspirations are received. We can imagine future events and experiences. We can imagine things that never existed. We can imagine the likely consequences of our actions. We can also imagine things we cannot detect through our senses – Beethoven for instance, could imagine musical sounds after he went deaf.

Everything we do starts out as a thought or picture in our mind. Indeed, everything that has ever been created by a human being originated as a thought or mental image. Stonehenge, television, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Great Wall of China, the internet, Apollo moon landings….. all started out as ideas. Any idea, even the briefest flash of insight, that is acted upon with ingenuity and determination eventually takes a tangible form.

The imagination develops and strengthens with use, just as any muscle of the body can become stronger. It can bring hope – or utter despair. It can also stimulate the emotions and affect the physical body.  So begin applying your imagination to:

  •  Your home – how might you improve the inside, the outside, the garden, make it more interesting, comfortable, pleasing?
  • Your work – how could you make it more fun, more useful, more productive?
  • Relationships: How could you be a better husband/wife/son/daughter/ parent/friend etc.?
  • Your personality – how could you overcome unwanted habits and bring your ideal self-image into reality?

Imagination in practice

Nowadays:

  • Sportsmen and women use their imaginations (in the form of creative imagery) to help them win matches and break world records.
  • Business executives use it to help secure lucrative contracts, make better sales presentations and earn promotion.
  • Medical practitioners (complementary therapists and mainstream practitioners) teach patients to rid themselves of serious diseases using relaxation and creative imagery.
  • Well-known entertainers use creative imagery to improve their confidence and banish stage fright.
  • Students learn better using creative imagery and autosuggestion, improve their memories and reduce the stress of exams.

Let’s take a look at some of the achievements made possible by these remarkable techniques.

Sport

When the Berlin Wall fell, it came to light that among the most jealously guarded secrets of the East German State were the training methods used by Eastern bloc athletes. Performance enhancing drugs were not the whole story by any means. A Bulgarian psychiatrist, Dr Georgi Lozonov, pioneered a new method of mental training that incorporated deep relaxation and creative imagery. In the West, experiments had demonstrated the power of visualisation and mental rehearsal in sport, but they had not been as widely or thoroughly applied.

It is now accepted that if you imprint winning images into your mind at a deep enough level, you greatly increase your chances of success.

Any professional athlete will tell you that mental training is equally as important as the physical, but the benefits are not restricted to professionals – they’re available to everyone (including those who rarely break into a sweat).

Business

Prior to important sales calls, negotiations, job interviews and presentations etc., many top business executives ‘mentally rehearse’.  They take time to relax, ‘see’ themselves acting and speaking calmly and confidently, signing the contract, accepting the promotion. By the time they come to do it for real, the situation holds no fear for them and they perform at their best.

Education

Students use deep relaxation and creative imagery to improve their memory, lose their fear of exams and stay calm. For instance, Steve was worried about his exams. With less than a month to go and a university place at stake, he prepared a précis of the information he would need in the exam. He recorded it onto a CD and listened to it in ‘Alpha’ several times a day. He visualised himself in the exam room, feeling calm. He used the ‘thumb and fingers trigger’ to help him feel cool and composed quickly and easily and used a powerful memory affirmation.

Steve comfortably achieved his grades. ‘I thought I’d cheated the system,’ he said, ‘until I realised I’d just discovered a way to make my mind work better – and surely that’s what it’s all about.’

Healing

Creative imagery is a vital tool for practitioners of complementary therapies and also mainstream medicine to help patients maintain good health and recover from serious diseases, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease.

Cancer surgeons and authors Dr Carl Simonton and Dr Bernie Segal taught their patients to visualise tumours reversing and cancer disappearing. The heart specialist Dr Dean Ornish used creative imagery in conjunction with nutrition, physical exercise and group therapy to clear coronary heart blockages. All three have written extensively about their work.

I have known people with physical conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, muscular aches and pains, frozen shoulders, eczema and psychosomatic conditions as varied as blushing, exam nerves, fear of flying, bed wetting and numerous phobias find relief this way.

Entertainment

Actors, musicians, comedians etc. use mental rehearsal to perfect their routines. It is also widely taught to aspiring stars of stage and screen.

A young music student consulted me about stage fright a few years ago. She was taking beta blockers to try and calm her nerves, but they weren’t having much effect. I advised her to do a daily relaxation and visualisation exercise. Within six weeks of daily practice, most of the symptoms were gone and she was able to come off the drugs. Three months later she played the solo part in a difficult Mozart Concerto in front of a large audience.

Summary

There are thousands of well documented examples of creative imagery making a huge impact on performance in all areas of life. The techniques are not difficult to learn (I’ll spell them out in future blogs), but need to be practised regularly, then you can use mental rehearsal as a vital part of your preparation whatever your activities or interests.

©David Lawrence Preston, 6.5.2016

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