Visualizing Your Dreams

Whether you started with Napoleon Hill‘s Think and Grow Rich or Shakti Gawain‘s Creative Visualization or The Secret or you landed on one of the tomes in between like Serge King’s Imagineering For Health, if you’re on a New Age or New Thought path you probably encountered the idea that thoughts create reality and thus what you envision can become what you experience. I’ve believed that since I read The Nature of Personal Reality (Jane Roberts) and I have created aspects of my reality with affirmations, with visualizing and with changing my energy. There are lots of theories about how to do it and many spiritual paths that don’t want you to do it at all. I don’t have a definitive answer–and if you’ve been reading me for a while you know I don’t believe in definitive answers—but I can tell you something about my experience.

As with all things spiritual, there are lots of theories. Some say you need to decide precisely what you want and visualize with as much detail as possible. Others advise you to ask more generally and let the Universe provide the best available response. A variation on the latter theme is to concentrate more on the feeling tone associated with your vision; for instance, the happiness you’ll feel when you find the apartment you’ve dreamed of. For me it’s worked best if I keep it general and adding or subtracting the feeling tone varies.

My favorite story in visualizing happened years ago. I had a part-time temp job after law school and I knew that the firm planned to hire a permanent person soon. At first I was so anxious about it that I just wanted to be offered that job. But I soon realized that I wasn’t actually that happy there and so I began to visualize and affirm that I had found the best law job for me–really nothing more specific than that. A few weeks later I dreamed that I got a call back from a long ago interview asking me to come in the next Friday to interview again and that they called a week after that to offer me the job. I updated my resume but they found me at the temp job and called to ask me for another interview (the next Friday) before I sent it. The following week they offered me the job. While I ultimately decided that the law was not for me, if I had to have a law job, that one was the best I could have hoped for.  And it showed up on my doorstep without me taking any of the steps that pundits would say you have to take to get a law job. At the time I didn’t have a vision beyond getting a law job so my affirmation/vision magnetized the best situation that fit my dream at the time.

When I got around to Buddhism I suffered a lot of confusion about visualizing what I want because everything about it seemed to me to say that I shouldn’t want anything. Somehow the teaching on creating reality always felt true and right to me, though, so I alternated between envisioning what I wanted and feeling that I shouldn’t want. In my recent pondering I’ve realized that my heart has always felt the true ring came from the teachings that say my thoughts and visions create my experience. While I also believe that those who believe differently are right too and that their experience will reflect their beliefs, I’m moving away from spending much time in the philosophies that seem to confuse the issue for me.*

In recent years as I’ve worked a lot on energy I am coming to understand that the feeling tone you hold is also really important. If you maintain a positive outlook and/or strong, flowing energy and/or a peaceful heart you’ll tend to draw people and incidents that reflect those feeling tones and without having to affirm or visualize anything.

My feeling is DARE TO DREAM! You’ll have to decide whether you believe that you need really specific visions or whether you need to be general, whether you really believe it’s okay to have what you want or to want at all and whether your feeling tone or vibration makes a difference. You may decide that you want to accept what is and not desire anything else – in that case, ignore this post. For everyone else DARE TO DREAM!  

This post is for ABC Wednesday (V) and AlphabeThursday (D).

* I love the Eightfold Path because I feel it states so well the basic principles of any spiritual path and I love some of the mindfulness and chanting practices but the philosophy just doesn’t work for me.

Healing Journey Monday: Food beliefs

This is a slight revamp of an earlier post:

One of the main spiritual laws I believe is that the things we believe (both consciously and subconsciously) create the world we experience.  Most of my spiritually inclined friends believe some version of that, so I’m often taken aback to hear people talking about food as if it is ruled by laws that are outside the purview of beliefs creating what is.

Lots of people start exploring healthy eating and come up with some theory that involves a list of good foods and a list of bad foods and from then on their conversation about food is filled with phrases like “that’s so sinful”, “that was so bad to eat that,” “I only like to eat healthy food”, etc.  They give long lectures on the horrible things that can happen from eating the wrong thing, drinking the wrong kind of water, cooking your food, not cooking your food…  In other words they can’t make a decision about food being good for them and just believe that it will be so, but food apparently has some sort of power that puts it beyond having their thoughts affect it.

I like the observation in The Nature of Personal Reality (Jane Roberts channeling Seth) that an obsession about the healthiness of food (or lack thereof) usually means the core belief you live by is that food is tricky and it’s likely something will harm you.  Then even with hypervigilance about what you eat your belief makes it easier for something you haven’t noticed to cause a problem.

Personally, I like the idea of assuming that what I eat is good for me.  However, I am aware that I, like most Americans, have a fairly tortured relationship with food and deeply held beliefs about goodness and badness.  So I try to figure out a “healthy” diet that makes sense and not to worry about eating some things that aren’t on the diet because I believe that generally what I eat is good for me.

It’s tricky in this country with our crazy habits of eating junk food in giant quantities as if nothing could  harm us while simultaneously believing that all kinds of foods are bad.  While I believe that theoretically you could go on a hot fudge sundae diet and be perfectly healthy if you believed in it, most of us have beliefs about food that are far too confused for that.  It’s a balancing act to work on positive views about eating while keeping your diet within a range you truly believe is healthy.

Responsible for Reality

I started this journey with a transpersonal psychologist whose therapy worked from the premise that you create your reality with what you believe/think. The first book she assigned was Jane RobertsThe Nature of Personal Reality. When I read it I felt the world made sense for the first time Whenever we explored a situation or issue in my life the question was “what do I believe that created this reality?” I’d also go back in meditation to find the place and time when the belief started.

I soon realized that if I create my reality, then I’m responsible for my life and how it goes. Nothing can be someone else’s fault, no outside circumstance can be blamed for any of my problems. Not that I don’t ever blame an outside force, but I basically felt a huge sense of relief to realize that I am completely responsible for me and no one else can control what happens to me. As an only child whose every move was monitored, the sense of freedom was amazing.

Over the years I’ve realized that not everyone greets that idea of responsibility with the same enthusiasm. Removing the safety net of blame is unnerving for some people. For some, taking total responsibility for their lives is terrifying.

I can see that those fears are there and I can surmise reasons but I really don’t understand that well. I’ve been fascinated by following beliefs to their origins, mapping chains of beliefs, and retraining my mind to hold beliefs that suit the reality of peace and tranquility that I choose.  I still ask myself what I believe that has created any situation and I still love feeling that the responsibility for whatever it is is mine.

Do you like the idea of creating your reality? Does responsibility spell relief or fright for you? What do you believe about life that brought you to your current situation?

This post is for Jennie Matlock’s AlphabeThursday, which is “R” this week.