Mind Matters — Creative Visualization, Forty Years Later

Why not re-examine the new edition of the forty-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 ae 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” is 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 on 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 in to 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.