The power of human thought has interested researchers since time immemorial because of the impact it is purported to have on human behaviour. Our thoughts are an amalgamation of imagination, powered by our past experiences and the memory traces we carry within the conscious layers of our mind as well as those in the sub-conscious.
 What It Is
Creative visualisation is a technique which enables a person to use his imagination in a creative manner and take control over his life events. Imagery forms a very important part of this process as it is the images that a person willfully works upon and forces them to become his reality. However, without emotions and feelings, the imagination cannot be powered enough to bring in changes. Hence a combination of a person’s thought, his imagination and his feelings related to this imagination form a powerful process that can actually alter the events in a person’s life. The entire process is called creative visualization and can be a powerful tool to bring about positive changes.
In very simplistic terms, creative visualization is a kind of power wielded by the mind to alter events or change the environment so that a person can achieve a better standard of life and life style. It has been used by alternate healers, albeit in a restricted way, to alleviate disorders of the mind and body and promote good health. Its use is restricted in the sense that it demands a huge amount of concentration and control over human faculties.
Creative visualisation is grounded in the Indian concept of ‘Maya’ or Illusion. Popular in the West as the Principle of Non-duality, it premises that the world is an illusion, the environment and other components present are also not real. In fact through a focused projection of thoughts over a concerted period of time, we ‘create’ the world we inhabit. Therefore, if we were to extend this logic, then it is possible to bring in changes in this illusory world and thereafter change the real world by using thoughts.
 How does it work?
According to theorists like Shakti Gawain, the author of books Creative Visualization and Living in the Light, life events start at the level of energy. It is this energy that makes our physical world. Hence everything that exists actually does so in spirit. Creative visualisation is just one of the ways in which one creates this energy field or this spirit and makes events connected to it occur. It manifests itself through inducing pressure changes in the energy field within and outside the individual. This is done primarily through a concentrated focus on a particular thought which is then powered by appropriate feelings and emotions. This amalgamation leads to pressure changes in the energy field. Changes in the energy field propel changes in the environment. All of this is akin to a chain reaction, usually starting with a particular thought and finally ending with the individual actually experiencing a changed situation.
Therefore an important point that is raised at this juncture is: Do all our thoughts have the power to create a reality? Theorists say that this rarely happens as only the deepest thoughts, desires and emotions, especially those that occur most frequently are those that we manifest and have the power to charge the energy field. In a way the subconscious and perhaps even the unconscious state of the mind which are a seat to a variety of attitudes, beliefs and expectations are equally important players in the creation of one’s world. What one believes deep down as inevitable, natural and viable are also events that are likely to occur. Creative Visualisation has the power to change that and look for different ways and means of doing things and effecting changes.
 Creative Visualization Promotes Self Development
Contrary to popular perception or understanding, creative visualization does not necessarily involve visual imagery. Of course if visual imagery is used, the results could be faster or more potent. However this is in no way negating the other kinds of imagery that people also actively indulge in. Imagination per se is an individualistic process and no two persons imagine alike. This is because imagination, as with a lot of other things, is an outcome of personal aptitudes, attitudes, feelings that are present at that time. Hence Creative visualization usually tries to get the person to relax and be his own self, encouraging him to focus on the thoughts. So it is a process of also becoming more aware and conscious of one’s ‘self’ - self as an entity that is comprised of beliefs, emotions, attitudes, fears, likes, dislikes etc.
Most of the time people follow certain stereotypical notions about the way things should be and most often than not they are negative. This kind of thought process happens all the time, consciously or unconsciously, whether the person is in a state of wakefulness or in his dreams. So people all over are usually bracing themselves for the worst all the time, Creative visualization teaches one to lake a deep hard look at one’s inner self, including the negativity that is there. This aspect is very important as this process recognizes that feelings and thoughts are never right or wrong. Thus along with the negative aspects a person is encouraged to recognize the positives and provide them with more power and energy so as make them part of reality.
 Basic Principles
Visualisation works on two main principles: the active and the receptive principles. All creative process is thought to be an amalgamation of the male and female energies. One aspect is more goals driven, while the other is more intuitive and instinctive and comes from a deep analysis of the self. What sets the two apart is that one is external and on the surface while the other is metaphysical in a certain way and receives images and thoughts from the deep recesses of the self. Both are in their own way unique and so important.
The entire process aims at not just achieving the material aspects of life. The ultimate aim is to achieve a connection with the higher or spiritual self within. Self actualization is both a key to the whole process as well as the goal that a person strives to achieve. The entire process of creativity, with its techniques of looking inside and understanding the self, is the path of true happiness and that is what the process attempts to make the individual ultimately understand and finally acknowledge.
 Techniques of Creative Visualisation
The first and foremost requirement to visualize is to achieve a stress free, relaxed state of mind and body. This could be done by adopting any of the techniques like meditation, massaging, or even listening to soft music. This is done to get the person in tune with his deeper layers of the consciousness and thereby his creative intuitive self. The person is asked to create an experience of what he wants and visualize it in his own way. It is advised that the person uses all the senses while creating the visual imagery. In a way it is like living out a fantasy. For material things, the visualization process is likely to be easier while for the others that are more internal, it may require more focus. The person is then asked to put in his feelings and emotions into that imagery and meditate on this imagery twice a day for about ten minutes each. This is continued till the person achieves what he has set out to achieve.
 A Powerful Tool
Creative Visualisation is a very powerful tool for those who know how to use it and have faith in it. Thoughts are seen as powerful entities that can bring about hugely impacting changes. Hence one must have a huge regard for it and a lot of introspection must accompany every thought and image during the entire process. Also it must be ensured that what one is creating will not have harmful effects on the environment. While all of this calls for a certain degree of seriousness, it is also prescribed that one should approach this with a certain amount of playfulness; else it will turn out to be a tedious, stressful exercise.
Creative Visualisation is an immensely powerful process that works at two levels.
- One, at the psychological level, because ultimately it involves changing attitudes, resetting goals, striving to achieve them, and believing that their efforts will bring in the desired results.
- The second is at a more spiritual level where the individual works with the forces of nature and with the energies present in and around his physical state. People are indulging in this all around, sometimes even without knowing it.
So do negative thoughts also have an impact on the environment? As theorists in this area would have us believe, negative thoughts rarely occur in this creative process as there are higher levels of intellect that prevent the occurrence of negative thoughts. However, the therapeutic aspect of the process allows people to confront negative thoughts if any because unnecessary suppression or repression creates powerful energies that may be harmful for the person. Hence, while the person is encouraged to draw into his reserves, he is also encouraged to let go. This kind of releasing of creative energies is crucial because it discourages hanging on to a particular thing, often the cause for further stress.
As a self help and a self development technique, creative visualization offers enormous potential. Combined with a goal, it has the power to goad and help an individual achieve success, material or otherwise.
- Creative Visualisation: Safe Alternative Medicine
- The Chronic Pain Haven
 Further Readings
- Gawain, Shakti K, (1998) “Creative Visualization: Use the power of your Imagination”, New World Library
- Gawain, Shakti K, (1998) “Living in the Light: A Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation”, New World Library