I was reminded today that imagery is an important and readily available way to tap into the arena of the unconscious mind, making it conscious and inviting us to reach for what we imagine.
A friend gave me some older volumes a favorite magazine and I found an article on Guided Imagery, reminding readers that it “can be a powerful support for health recovery, goal realization and emotional healing.
I know that, of course (I’ve been a Guided Imagery practitioner for several decades now) but it is always good to be reminded of the tools we have at our disposal.
The article* made me think of all the many ways in which imagery can be the portal for communication with our body/mind – we can:
- Ask questions (and, more importantly, get answers) of our unconscious/intuition and learn what’s going on inside us.
- Invite inspiration and be moved beyond our usual groove to explore (in a safe, imaginative space) possible paths we might not otherwise explore.
- Dialogue with a symptom and learn what it wants of us, or what its presence in our life has to tell us – symptoms frequently have information we need to know!
- Play-out a preferred outcome, just like well-known athletes do, practicing in their minds the successful maneuvers they’ll use to make the shot, get the goal or win the championship.
There are lots of ways that imagery allows us to exchange essential information with our body/mind, and for many useful purposes.
Here are just a few that the article highlighted and that caught my attention. . .
- Imagery can be used as a deliberate, productive daydream – turning what we often think of as “wasted time” into an opportunity for richly envisioning a goal, honing it, removing the extraneous bits and allowing the pure, longing to be deeply imagined.
- Imagery can multisensory – not everyone is a visual thinker, so recruiting all the senses and bringing them into a rich, imaginative process can enhance the experience for many people – noticing what the sensation feels like, smells like, sounds like, etc. Drawing on the opportunity to step into your imagination (much like children do without invitation!).
- Imagery can be guided or free-form – you can use a guide who knows the craft or select a recording that will talk you through the experience you seek. The caution that the author extended and I would echo is this, “steer clear of any guided imagery experiences that offer miracle cures or encourage you to take any view of yourself or other people that feels discordant or hostile.” Imagery is best used to support your values and highest intentions!
How is imagery a tool for self-care? Well, certainly learning how to refine your capacity for swimming deeply into your imaginative spaces can give you access to all sorts of information and creative opportunities.
It can become a vehicle for gaining information you need or want; information that may enlighten you as you make a decision, choose a path or build a plan.
Imagery can tell what you body knows and your mind is avoiding. It can invite you to be more playful with yourself and may offer you a play on words that you might not have expected (yes, your unconscious has a sense of humor!).
If you’d care to know more about Guided Imagery or try it for your own growth and wellbeing, let me know, I’d be happy to guide you on that journey!