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Posted June 7, 2000

Using Imagery For Insight

Linda-Ann Stewart

In 1991, I strained my right shoulder by rolling over in bed. Not a very dramatic way of injuring myself. Nonetheless, it was painful, and refused to heal. Even chiropractic adjustments didn't ease it for long. After two months of pain, where just lifting a glass of water was almost impossible, I utilized nondirective imagery. I asked what was going on with my shoulder. Immediately, I imagined a hand pushing my right shoulder forward, and another hand pulling it back. A tug of war. I didn't understand the message, and asked for clarification. It communicated that I was holding myself back. I recognized how I'd been keeping myself from moving forward in life, and decided not to do that anymore. Within five minutes of my decision, just like magic, the pain disappeared.

Not all healing is so immediate, but imagery can help you along the pathway to resolution. Imagery is the language of the subconscious and the nervous system. You communicate your intention to the mind with directed imagery. By visualizing yourself successful or healthy, you give the mind direction in its own system of communication. When you worry, you're visualizing what you don't want to happen. You use imagery in everyday language, such as "It's killing me," "I'm beating my head against a wall," "He's like a bulldog," "I'm so angry I could just explode," "I feel like I'm running in circles." Imagery is the way the mind processes and stores information.

Imagery can also give you vital information about what's going on within your body and your affairs. It can tell you where you might be blocking yourself, why, and what you need to do to overcome your restrictions. Dreams can give you this type of information. Instead of telling your subconscious what you want, you can listen to its wisdom to discover what you might need. By paying attention to your subconscious, and what it has to share with you, you allow your challenges to become your teachers.

When you have a challenge, go into a meditative state. Ask your subconscious to create a symbol for whatever problem you're experiencing. Be nonjudgmental of whatever comes to the surface. Examine it. Notice its color, shape, size, texture, and if it's doing anything. Enter into an active dialogue with the symbol. Ask it what's going on? Ask it why you're experiencing that problem? What is its message to you? Allow it to answer in any way you can understand. The answer may come in images, words, or simply a knowingness. Ask it what you need to do to resolve the issue? Acknowledge it as your teacher. It has much wisdom to share with you, as long as you are open to it. Ask it what gift it has for you if you meet its needs?

Imagery can help you to access inner resources that you haven't used before. Once you allow a symbol for your problem to rise into consciousness, it releases some of its energy. Just by observing the image, things begin to shift around in your subconscious mind. This opens more space for you to heal. Sometimes, you'll simply receive insight pointing you in a direction. It's up to you to take the appointed path.

Your inner self will get your attention one way or the other. Listen to it before it takes you by the shoulder and shoves.


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