Copyright 2006 Suzanne Falter-Barns
If you’ve got a dream you’re intent on pursuing, chances are you’re going to bog down at some point. That’s just the way dreams are. In fact, there’s a little known rule about this called the Second Rule of Thermodynamics, which states that sooner or later everything returns to chaos.
In other words, expect your dream to come crashing down around your ears periodically.
Yet, no need to despair; such meltdowns are actually good for your dream, because they force you to stop and rethink your approach if you want to continue. That’s the only way you can find the footing to continue, and in that process, you’re forced to learn and grow. This is when I always pull out my trusty guided visualizations.
Nothing, but nothing, can turn your mind around quite as effectively as a good guided visualization. It can create hope where there was none, clarity in a space of confusion, and immeasurable inspiration. If you subscribe to the same notion that I do that all of our ideas and instincts around our dream are guided then this is where you’ll find the mother lode of such information. A good guided visualization will connect you with deep inner truths that most of us simply can’t tap into consciously.
So basically, you, too, can be a Ghandi or a Nelson Mandela or a Thich Nacht Hahn if you dig deep enough and surrender fully enough. (Those enlightened souls have taught us that such round-the-clock access to the spiritual goods requires one heck of a lot of meditation, not to mention a saintly obfuscation of the ego.) In the meanwhile, the next best thing is to turn on the guided visualizations.
By guided visualization, I mean a recording of someone leading you through a meditation. First they relax you; then they help you imagine yourself in a particular place, or having a certain experience. A great guided visualization will lead you into situations where anything can happen and anyone can show up. You simply sit back and observe as helpers show up, insights are gained, and instructions are received.
Sometimes the path you see is a familiar one you’ve imagined often with your conscious mind, and the meditation serves as a wonderful confirmation of your plan. Yet, other times it can be strange and dark, making no sense whatsoever. My own students have come to me with alarm when they saw a picture of chaos, or violence and degradation. And yet, in talking it over later, they usually recognize a deeper meaning to the picture. Over time, if they repeat the process, they are often left with a greater insight than they anticipated.
For instance, Rosemary was a frustrated writer who hated her daytime job, and was given to fits of gallows humor about it. When she first did my Discover Your Soul Purpose meditation, she uncovered a chaotic back alley, full of lurking, menacing figures. She did the meditation several more times and the situation only marginally improved. Yet, what Rosemary took away from the experience was that her life was out of balance, and filled with dark, negative energy. She quit her job, attended to her failing health, and re-approached the meditation some months later. Now the scene was remarkably different, a sunny courtyard in which she could see herself as a writer for the first time.
In fact, Rosemary had not done the meditation wrong’, as she’d been quick to assume. (“I must be the only person who didn’t do this thing right!”) Instead, her soul was giving her a direct signal that she was tangled up in life circumstances that were obscuring her dream. The meditation, for all of its supposed lack of clarity, had really been clear as a bell.
The only real way to interpret the images we get in these visualizations is to check in with our gut. There may be age-old gypsy wisdom that water means good luck, or that a duck is an omen of impending death but I say that’s all poppycock. The only person who knows what your visualization means is you; your gut is the only thing that should ever guide your interpretation. What is it telling you about what you saw — that you need balance, like the confused Rosemary? Or that you need courage? Could it be that you simply don’t want to admit that what you saw is actually true?
Often we get images of ourselves leading such a life of power and abundance that we can barely stand it. It brings tears to our eyes as we acknowledge that we really can do that thing we sorely wish to begin. In that instant, we see how small and constrained we’ve allowed ourselves to become; yet, we also see how much impact we could have, if only we could choose the right path.
Above all, guided visualizations give us permission to dream. They allow us to see ourselves graphically living a different life, feeling the feelings, smelling the smells, and owning the power. We see a higher, truer aspect of ourselves, and in that instant, understand how unstoppable we really can be.
This is the biggest reason I rely on guided visualizations in my work because they take you beyond the sugary platitudes about going for it’ and reaching for the stars’. Instead, they deliver you smack into your dream for a moment, so you can see the impact and importance of what you’re here to do.
Once you really know the true rightness of what that feels like, down deep in your gut, nothing can keep from making that vision a reality. Even if the images you see are more fleeting or obscure, they will leave you brushed with truth. This is the wisdom that lurks in our bones; wisdom we can access simply by taking the time to turn on a visualization.