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Some Things That make Imagery More Effective

Monday, June 09, 2008

Skill at using imagery increases with practice. Don't worry if your first attempts don't seem effective. Just as with exercising any muscle, your capacity grows over time with use. The more you use imagery, the more your response to it deepens, intensifies, and becomes more controllable. So don't make limiting assumptions about your capacity. It will grow exponentially.

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Some people are "naturals" at imagery. With no apparent effort, they can launch themselves into full, rich, vivid reverie. Others will start off insisting that they don't "see things." But they are wrong. Everyone "sees things." We all imagine and fantasize, even if it's just a matter of thinking about what we should have said to the boss in that last irritatingly unsatisfactory encounter. Possibly, people who think they can't imagine are using the wrong senses to get started. Some of us are much more auditory or tactile than visual; others of us are more responsive to taste and smell. All that's required is a willingness to experiment to see which sensory avenue works best, followed by time and practice.

By practice, I usually mean in five to twenty-minute blocks of time, depending on your capacity for sustained concentration, one or two times a day, for at least two or three weeks, and possibly as part of a permanent daily routine. The powerful, dreamy periods when we're waking up in the morning and falling asleep at night are good times to do this. What you'll find if you get into the habit of using imagery is that you will become more and more efficient, until you are able to access deep, intense images in a matter of seconds.

Another reason people might have initial trouble is a difficulty with sustained concentration. This, too, improves dramatically with practice. Unfortunately, some of us have become so scattered and distracted that it takes us a while to focus our attention on one thing and leave it there. But keep in mind, this is a skill we all once had. Watch the single-minded absorption of a baby checking out its toes and you will see the kind of sustained attention you once could hold. It can be regained easily with simple practice, and you have the added benefit of improving concentration in other areas of your life.

2 comments:

the gay bookworm said...

I think, no I know that I am going to include this in my daily ritual. I am learning that it really is true that to "help" others you have to first help yourself. I am making a commitment to taking care of myself everyday and not letting the 'world' and its needs/problems distract me from that time. It is funny how you can know something, be aware of it but not actually do it even when you know how important it is. I have spent my whole life, almost literally, taking care of others, sometimes at great cost to myself and am only just now truely realizing how out of balance that kind of behavior is and how destructive not only to me but to those others because eventually you grow to resent them because of your own behavior. So I 'see' myself being better and better everyday in taking care of myself so that I am better able to take care of those things I am meant to do not only for me but for those I love and care about.

shirley said...

Good for you! It's about time you started putting you first!

I've been doing visualisation every day ever since I came back from Texas. I've been using an Edward S Curtis book and really making deep connections with the people in the photographs.

It's been very informative, interesting, and fun.

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