Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Visions

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!

9 comments:

Fiona said...

Thank you for this Sunny, I've been thinking about this post. Applying the concept to my own life.

It's funny. I remember from my young adult days, a conversation with my mother, one of the rare ones where I spoke about what I wanted to do, and I thought she was listening. I recall quite vividly her comment to me: "wishful thinking". And it wasn't in a good way it was more of a scornful comment.

But in a way isn't this really another aspect of "wishful thinking", a better interpretation than hers? Which leads me to recall a workshop I attended in the mid-80s which was on positive visualisation, but that was all about material things. This group of charlatans (yes, I'm afraid that is what I decided they were after the workshop) told us of all these stories of cars and houses and boats obtained through the concept of positive visualisation. Gosh, weren't the mid 80s mired in so many thoughts of material gain, now that I look back. With just the edge of the more spiritual wave starting to wash upon our shores.

Since my mother's scornful 'wishful thinking' I've learned to project positive thoughts, I've learned of the power of 'white light', I've learned to understand better that perfection isn't always what we should aim for. But that instead, little servings of wonderment and joy, are by far the best way to really enjoy and appreciate what we find on our journey.

It has also brought to mind that old adage of "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it".

deb said...

I've been trying this lately as well. I went to see an energy channeler and she suggested I say something to myself everyday, all day long "I am healthy, I am happy, I am balanced." I feel better when I say this to myself. Doesn't change anything, except my thinking, but that's what it's all about I think. My thinking is what I have control over.

What worries me though, I like to worry, is what if I'm just deluding myself. What if I'm unhealthy, unhappy, unbalanced? Will telling myself that I am, change that? As I said, I like to worry.

In the mean time, I'm trying it. I'm sorry to hear that your life is hard right now, but it's nice to know I'm not alone in having problems.

The Savage said...

Okay.. I could say something about visuallizing you me and some feather quills but eh...
I have been working on my body image usinf said techniques and it has helped me a heck of a lot... I am beginning to taper from my shoulders to my waist instead of the cylinder I was just last year.... and my abs are beginning to show.. in their rudimentary fashion....

Sunny Delight said...

Fiona,
I am glad you could get past that, negativity of your mothers. And, I do remember those materialistic type groups of the 80's, they are still out there, just look at some of the 'self-help' titles in the bookstores. Envision yourself to Wealth and Power! is a title I am sure! Hopefully, they envision more for themselves than just that stated in the titles. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against having enough money to maintain our needs, and to help fulfill many dreams/desires, unfortunately it takes money to live. But I also think we have to give to feel really good about ourselves, money and power do not bring happiness. Such a cliche, but it still has truth to it.


Deb,
Do you have those days, when you worry, because you are not worried? Thinking....."Hmmmm, shouldn't I be worried about that?"

I am trying quite hard to recognize when my thought processes are making the problems so much more huge than need be, and using my dreams for the future to encourage more positivity....I think it is working.......at least I am not ready to give up on it.....but then again, once I begin something, I don't give up easily!

Savage,
Envisioning your new body helps, but it is all the working out you are doing too, hopefull the visualizations, feed the urge to continue, that is my hope anyway.

Visions of feather quills.....now what were we going to do with those? Draw tattoo designs? That would tickle! (smiling)

X. Dell said...

I happen to be a fairly optimistic person. I know that visualization is a powerful training/educational tool, and have seen study after study indicating that positive expectecations increase the odds that positive results will occur.

I'm also beginning to see something pernicious in such things as "The Scret" that I see more people gravitating to. First off, visualization can only achieve so much. In many instances, hard work, concentration of fucus, and dedication to task are surer ways to success, especially when one adds visualization to it.

But then, there are some things that neither visualization nor hard work wll overcome. I know you don't feel this way, but plenty of people feel that people get what they deserve for not thinking in the right ways (or working hard enough to achieve their goals). I fear this might result in a blame-the-sufferer attitude that has already infected public attitudes towards such things as poverty, death and (especially mental) disease.

LePhare said...

There's been quite a bit in the papers recently about 'cosmic ordering', where you write down what you want and the date you want it by. It supposed to channel your thoughts and actions to help you achieve those goals.

I think it all comes down to having a positive attitude and self belief, and the 'get up and go' to get things done.

P.S. Love the Runci.

Fiona said...

No matter all the wishful thinking, the cosmic channelling, the positive visioning....nothing is going to come to us from those alone....we need to put in the effort and the work to make things happen. Sure, I can't deny that a positive attitude and keeping the end in sight will help...but output requires input and throughput :)

wreckless said...

There is also Oglvie, I am not spelling his name right, but he is a famous sports pyschologist, but he says most successful atheletes envision what they are going to do and it improves their performance drastically.

Sunny Delight said...

Some interesting comments since I have been away.

x.dell,

I have begun to look at it in this way, when we "concentrate and focus" on a task, we are in a sense using visualization to aid is in accomplishing it. When we devote time and energy, we want a positive outcome, we envision that outcome, as we are working. To me hard work, vision, and outcome, work hand in hand. If we "see" a project as purely negative, are we going to give it our best?

If I understand you correctly, my worries are similar to your own. There is a "they" in our society, that seem to believe the poor and downtrodden are in that position because they just do not want to do anything to help themselves.

In my line of work, with the myriad of people I have met, I am really beginning to believe that luck/karma has something to do with life as well. I look at some of my clients, and the disasters that continually seem to befall them, not because they do not have a positive outlook on life (many do), not because they aren't trying to be the best people they can be, but for some unknowable reason, disaster seems to dog them, yet they continue living, continue with inner strength and gained wisdom.

Ian,

I remember reading something similar years ago, when it came "getting what you want out of life". Again, I agree, as per my comment to x.dell.

I found this great source for pinup art, in fact my avatar may start changing regularly, there are so many amazing artists!
http://www.thepinupfiles.com/AKGallery.html

fiona,

Ummmmmmm, again, I agree, it takes a lot of effort, and vision.

wreckless,

More agreement, at one point in my ancient history, I was an athlete, it was a rare competition that I succeeded at, if I felt I was going to fail, before I even started.
I watched the same phenomenon with my own children. I remember one particular soccer game with my daughter, she was forced to play a position she did not feel comfortable in, she contained the skill, but not the will. It was an abysmal game for her, she couldn't see herself being able to do it well, and did not. A more positive attitude may have made an amazing difference.