Recently, I have been thinking about positive visualization, the concept of it. It is a much touted way to aid us in reaching our dreams, to seek successful accomplishment of tasks, and even attain physical healing.
The basic premise being, positive thoughts bring positive outcomes.
While meditating upon this idea, I suddenly remembered the movie, Field of Dreams. A 1989 Movie, starring Kevin Costner (playing the character, Ray Kinsella), loosely centering around the story of "Shoeless Joe Jackson" and, the "Black (White) Sox Eight", the baseball players who threw the World Series in 1919. (and no, I didn't remember all of that, I googled it of course)
*Digressing here, but another one of my recent thoughts; have you noticed how googling, or googled, has become a verb?*
Costner plays a struggling, ex-hippie, Iowa farmer, who hears an esoteric voice coming from his cornfield, telling him, "If you build it he will come."
Through out the film, many unusual requests are made of the Ray Kinsella character, to encourage him to complete the project. In this mystical process, a vision is born, and Kinsella's struggles to keep from losing his farm become even more dire. But, throughout it all, we have the sense, that all will come right in the end. And, it does.
As I was googling the information on the film, I came across a quote from the character, Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones, (love that man's voice), and I remembered how it made me feel when I heard it in the film. It brought forth a welling of warm emotion, and engendered the idea, that yes, we can reach our dreams.
" Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come, Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."
If you envision it, it will happen.
Do you believe that?
Is it true?
Over the years, we have all heard of the scientific studies done, on the use of visualizing one's self succeeding, or improving skills. Experiments detailing how the use of mental exercises, of envisioning success, of winning, can help athletes improve their performances. Of, ill people healing faster when they believe they will get better. Of, frightened, phobic people overcoming their fears. In essence, using imagery, the power of the mind, to see a future self, embracing and living a dream.
Does it work?
Haven't we all done it at one time or another?
Our thoughts do color our world.
When I am depressed, feeling blue, my whole life is affected, my interpersonal relationships, my job performance, my physical appearance, my demeanor, my health (feeling of well-being). I suffer more aches and pains, more colds, when my life is really stressed and my mental attitude is very low, even my skin is effected, I get skin rashes, hives, I often feel like a dried-husk of a person.
Converse of that, when I am feeling light-hearted, happy, full of good feelings, my entire life also reflects it. Those aches and pains, hardly bother me at all, my skin clears up amazingly fast, no more rashes, no more itchy hives, no more dry skin. My job performance improves, my thinking is clearer, my posture reverts to one of standing tall, head held high, more eye contact is made, my face is smiling, my interpersonal communications are upbeat, more concise, full of laughter, teasing, and jokes.
So why not take that one step further, if our thoughts, our emotions, shape our reality, then, why can we not, envision an even better reality?
Several years ago, I was suffering from an invasion of mutating cells within my body (smiling, that sounds so much better than the name of the illness), and, I faced having to take a medication that had side effects I thought of as worse than the illness itself, or major surgery. I informed my doctors, I wished to think on the matter for a while, I had the time, I was not going to get much worse if I waited.
In that period of contemplation concerning my options, I decided to use mental imagery, to aid me while waiting. I remembered the arcade game Pacman. So, in the evenings, before I went to sleep, I envisioned little animated Pacman-like characters busily eating away at those mutated cells. Each night, I would perform some deep-breathing, self-relaxation exercises, completely relaxing my body, achieving a light meditative state, and then I would set those little critters loose.
One month later, I returned to the doctor for some tests, to see if the cells had grown. They were gone, not a sign of them remained. A natural phenomenon? Or, the power of my mind, the power of visualization?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, I have been contemplating the power of positive thinking, the idea of envisioning positive energy, and positive thoughts, of 'seeing' my dreams come true, and wondering if they truly would.
In recent months, weeks, and in those to come, I am, and will continue, to be going through some fairly rough times emotionally. Life is a mess. There are days, in which, I feel quite devastated by the rush of negative emotions that seem to overpower me. On the worst of days, the tsunami of negativity increases, dejection, insecurities, fears, sadness, tears, multiply.
In realizing how it was all affecting me, I came, once again, back to my ruminations of using visual imagery to aid me.
Thus, the past few days, when I have felt myself sinking low, and lower, I have attempted envisioning the future I hope for, the achievement of my goals, my dreams.
I cannot say, that it has had any long lasting effect, but, at the end of each exercise, I have felt much improved in my outlook on my life, in my mood, in my ability to achieve mental clarity of thought.
So, the experiment will continue, and the future will either prove the theory for me, and life will be truly amazing! Or, the experiment will fail, and I will have a really sucky life!