Visualization is a powerful form of mental rehearsal - research shows that (for example) athletes who engage in mental rehearsal before better than those who don't, even when the amount of physical rehearsal is the same.
For the biggest impact, invoke all five senses. “The most effective imagery involves all five senses. What are you smelling, hearing, feeling? You should be so immersed in a mental image that it seems as if it is actually happening.” - Michael Gervais, Ph.D
The below exercise is a visualization technique that's intended to both manifest and uncover some of our deepest desires. Following that exercise are broader techniques.
The Ten Year Exercise (adapted from Debbie Millman)
Before you begin the exercise, I want you to get into your deepest possible meditative state. You can play a soothing instrumental, or simply sit and observe your breath. Take at least ten minutes to connect with the body and the mind. As you read the exercise, before writing down your response, visualize it. If it makes sense, take a night to dream about it before fully engaging in the writing. The purpose is to tap into your deepest desires and visualize yourself in your most fulfilled, ideal state.
Let's say it is Winter 2029. What does your life look like? What are you doing? Where are you living? Who are you living with? Do you have pets? What kind of house are you in? Is it an apartment are you in the city are you in the country? What does your furniture look like? What is your bed like? What are your sheets like? What kind of clothes do you wear? What kind of hair do you have?
Tell me about your pets, tell me about your significant other, do you have children? Do you have a car? Do you have a boat? Talk about your career. What do you want? What are you reading? What are you making? What excites you? What is your health like?
And write this day, this one day ten years from now. So one day in the winter of 2027, what does your whole day look like? Start from the minute you wake up, brush your teeth, have your coffee or tea, all the way through until minute you tuck yourself in at night. What is that day like for you?
Dream big, dreams without any fear. Write it all down. You don’t have to share it with anyone other than yourself. Put your whole heart into it. And write like there is no tomorrow; write like your life depends on it because it does.
You may stop writing.
Let's imagine that what we visualized and wrote about was the truest most authentic forms of our desires. Did any parts of your dream surprise you? Shock you? Did you see or imagine something that you didn't expect to? Did you vision align with what your external desires usually are, or was it different? What was the same about it? What was different about it.
Additional Manifestation Visualization Techniques
Create a photograph or picture of yourself with your goal, as if it were already completed. If one of your goals is to own a new car, take your camera down to your local auto dealer and have a picture taken of yourself sitting behind the wheel of your dream car. If your goal is to visit Paris, find a picture or poster of the Eiffel Tower and cut out a picture of yourself and place it into the picture.
Enhanced Mental Rehearsal
STEP 1. Imagine sitting in a movie theater, the lights dim, and then the movie starts. It is a movie of you doing perfectly whatever it is that you want to do better. See as much detail as you can create, including your clothing, the expression on your face, small body movements, the environment and any other people that might be around. Add in any sounds you would be hearing — traffic, music, other people talking, cheering. And finally, recreate in your body any feelings you think you would be experiencing as you engage in this activity.
STEP 2. Get out of your chair, walk up to the screen, open a door in the screen and enter into the movie. Now experience the whole thing again from inside of yourself, looking out through your eyes. This is called an “embodied image” rather than a “distant image.” It will deepen the impact of the experience. Again, see everything in vivid detail, hear the sounds you would hear, and feel the feelings you would feel.
STEP 3. Finally, walk back out of the screen that is still showing the picture of you performing perfectly, return to your seat in the theater, reach out and grab the screen and shrink it down to the size of a cracker. Then, bring this miniature screen up to your mouth, chew it up and swallow it. Imagine that each tiny piece — just like a hologram — contains the full picture of you performing well. Imagine all these little screens traveling down into your stomach and out through the bloodstream into every cell of your body. Then imagine that every cell of your body is lit up with a movie of you performing perfectly. It’s like one of those appliance store windows where 50 televisions are all tuned to the same channel.
When you have finished this process — it should take less than five minutes — you can open your eyes and go about your business. If you make this part of your daily routine, you will be amazed at how much improvement you will see in your life.
Treasure Map Technique
This is a visualization technique that uses a physical component as well as the obvious mental component. To try this technique, you first need to think of something you would like to visualize – for example, getting a top score on an upcoming exam. Start by drawing physical representations of all of the factors involved. You can draw yourself, a book to represent study, and maybe a building to represent the school. Make the drawings a detailed as possible. The important factor isn’t the drawings themselves, but what you are picturing as you draw them. Your mind will be visualizing the road to success the whole time you are drawing out your map. Be patient with this technique, as it will take time to become absorbed into the exercise. It will help to be in a quiet place, and turn off any distractions like a television or radio.
Resources and Adaptations:
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