Mind Matters: Creative visualization

Why not re-examine the new edition of the 40-year-old book, “Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life,” while the country, for many of us, seems to be in a constitutional crisis?

After all, the author Shakti Gawain notes, “This is a time of great transformation on our planet. We all have a part to play, just be being willing to be our true, magnificent selves.”

Often, creative visualization and using positive affirmations to “manifest” abundance in our lives can seem selfish and self-centered. However, Gawain’s theme is that improving our personal lives is not about being self-absorbed but instead is about extending our own good fortune beyond ourselves “to make a positive contribution to the world and to our fellow beings …”

In fact, reading “Creative Visualization” and doing the easy exercises mapped out in the book can be an antidote to the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness many people express when confronted with the news.

According to Gawain, when we are cut off from our “spiritual essence,” we lose connection with our deepest self and thus lose a sense of efficacy, power, and responsibility for our lives. Creative visualization is meant to reconnect us with our highest good and is not to be used in nefarious ways. Also, “visualization,” in this context, does not mean one has to “see” a mental image. Visualization can be thoughts or a felt sense — whatever ways our imagination works is what is right for us.

Simply put, “creative visualization is a means of unblocking or dissolving barriers we ourselves have created to the naturally harmonious, abundant, and loving flow of the universe.”

Gawain considers that much visualization only works when we use it in service of our own highest good as well as for the “highest good of all beings.”

Avarice, greed, consumption, and “extravagant consumerism” are not the goal of creative visualization. Grabbing the biggest piece of the “pie” and leaving none for others is not at all the desired outcome. Gawain urges us to develop a life style that is simple and more in tune with nature.

She says, “… after our basic needs are met, the experience of abundance has more to do with expressing our gifts in satisfying ways, and learning to give and receive in a balanced way …”

A study of the happiest countries in the world was published recently. No, the U.S. was not at the top of the list — Norway was. And why? Partly because the distribution of wealth is such that there are no glaring disparities of “haves” and “have-nots.” Everyone has what they need and there is income equality, rather than inequality as here. There is also universal health care, maternity leave, and free education through college.

The Norwegians accomplished their vision of life in balance for all long before Gawain’s book. However, their accomplishment is a model of how abundance for everyone can be achieved when visualization becomes action. In building a house, we start with a dream that becomes a vision and then a blueprint. It is this visualization that carries us forward into the actual building of the dream. We must imagine what abundance we want in our lives in order to actualize it. Gawain invites us to also visualize the world situation and environment we would like to see too.

You may say, “What pipe dreams!” But consider how far the world has come despite how far it has yet to go. It is the vision of great men and women before us who raised consciousness and created change, whether it was about slavery, violence, or the environment. Think Harriet Tubman or Rachel Carson. Think Martin Luther King or Gandhi. Their vision changed the world. Our vision can too.

* Kayta Curzie Gajdos holds a doctorate in counseling psychology and is in private practice in Belmont, Massachusetts. She welcomes comments at MindMatters@DrGajdos.com or (610)388-2888. Past columns are posted to www.drgajdos.com. See book.quietwisdom-loudtimes.com for information about her book, “Quiet Wisdom in Loud Times: The Rise of the Wounded Feminine.”

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to editor@chaddsfordlive.com

 

 

About Kayta Gajdos

Dr. Kathleen Curzie Gajdos ("Kayta") is a licensed psychologist (Pennsylvania and Delaware) who has worked with individuals, couples, and families with a spectrum of problems. She has experience and training in the fields of alcohol and drug addictions, hypnosis, family therapy, Jungian theory, Gestalt therapy, EMDR, and bereavement. Dr. Gajdos developed a private practice in the Pittsburgh area, and was affiliated with the Family Therapy Institute of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, having written numerous articles for the Family Therapy Newsletter there. She has published in the American Psychological Association Bulletin, the Family Psychologist, and in the Swedenborgian publications, Chrysalis and The Messenger. Dr. Gajdos has taught at the college level, most recently for West Chester University and Wilmington College, and has served as field faculty for Vermont College of Norwich University the Union Institute's Center for Distance Learning, Cincinnati, Ohio. She has also served as consulting psychologist to the Irene Stacy Community MH/MR Center in Western Pennsylvania where she supervised psychologists in training. Currently active in disaster relief, Dr. Gajdos serves with the American Red Cross and participated in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts as a member of teams from the Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Now living in Chadds Ford, in the Brandywine Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Gajdos combines her private practice working with individuals, couples and families, with leading workshops on such topics as grief and healing, the impact of multigenerational grief and trauma shame, the shadow and self, Women Who Run with the Wolves, motherless daughters, and mediation and relaxation. Each year at Temenos Retreat Center in West Chester, PA she leads a griefs of birthing ritual for those who have suffered losses of procreation (abortions, miscarriages, infertility, etc.); she also holds yearly A Day of Re-Collection at Temenos.Dr. Gajdos holds Master's degrees in both philosophy and clinical psychology and received her Ph.D. in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. Among her professional affiliations, she includes having been a founding member and board member of the C.G. Jung Educational Center of Pittsburgh, as well as being listed in Who's Who of American Women. Currently, she is a member of the American Psychological Association, The Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Delaware Psychological Association, the American Family Therapy Academy, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, and the Delaware County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board. Woven into her professional career are Dr. Gajdos' pursuits of dancing, singing, and writing poetry.

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