Hi and welcome. I’m going to invite you to go into your imagination and imagine a variety of things and allow this to be an exploration for you to just notice how you imagine different things. Imagination comes in five senses, just like our outer senses. And in our inner world — in our imaginal world — we might imagine seeing things, hearing things, smelling things, tasting things, and especially feeling things.
Marty Rossman, MD has been interested in how we can use our minds to best support our good health for over 40 years. His PBS special entitled The Healing Mind is currently airing all over the country. He is the Award-winning author of Guided Imagery for Self-Healing, Fighting Cancer from Within, The Worry Solution, and 15 medical textbook chapters on mind/body healing.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
Images are simply thoughts that have sensory qualities. It’s not a mystical thing and it’s not a difficult thing, but there are ways of learning to use your imagination that can help you do many things — including relaxation, evoking serenity and peacefulness within yourself, gaining insight into situations, solving problems, being more creative, stimulating healing responses within you, and more. Because imagery is simply a way of thinking — one that we haven’t had much education in. So let this brief exploration allow you to notice how you imagine things. It’s not necessary to judge yourself or grade yourself, to see things sharply or vividly, to hear things, to smell things. Some people have better inner senses than others. Just notice how you imagine these things. Let it be an exploration. See how it comes to you.
So, begin by getting comfortable and you may want to take a deep breath or two. Allow yourself to relax a little on the out-breath. You can imagine with your eyes open, if you like. But at some point you may want to allow your eyes to close since it’s usually easier to pay attention to your inner world with your eyes closed and you can experiment by opening or closing your eyes. So, begin by simply imagining a triangle and just notice what that’s like. Notice how big or small a triangle you imagine. Notice where it seems to be in space. Is it in your head? Is it outside your head or your body? Is it an even-sided triangle or are the sides different lengths? Is it sharp and vivid or kind of ethereal. Does it come and go in your mind’s eye or is it pretty stable? Notice, if you can imagine, that you’re sending the triangle farther away from you. Or imagine bringing it closer to you. And then letting it go back where it began. And notice whether it makes it any easier to imagine that you draw a triangle on a green board or a black board. And if there’s any sensory component to that, can you feel the way it feels to write with chalk on a green board as you do that? And again, just notice how you imagine things most easily, without judgment, without grading yourself. This is simply an exploration to notice how your imagination works.
And let the triangle go and imagine instead a square. And for those of you who feel that you don’t visualize well and don’t picture things well, I’ll bet you can notice that you can picture a triangle and a square and you know that they’re different and you know which is which, whether you picture them or not. So just let that be the way you imagine a triangle and a square. Everybody doesn’t make pictures in their mind but everybody has an imagination. So, let yourself be comfortable using yours the way it naturally works for you. Let the square and the triangle fade, and imagine instead a circle. And then I wonder if you can imagine that the circle is colored yellow. Fill in all the space in the circle with yellow. Yellow like a lemon or yellow like the sun. And then let that go and imagine instead a blue circle. A circle filled with blue — like the sky or the ocean. And then notice if you can imagine that the circle becomes three-dimensional and it becomes a globe or a sphere. Three-dimensional sphere or globe. Blue. And I wonder if you can imagine that it starts spinning around an axis. Rotating.
And then if you’re comfortable with it, let’s really expand your imagination. I wonder if you can imagine that you’re way out in outer space. You’re warm and you’re comfortable, and you’re safe, and you’re looking back at the Earth spinning in space. And just notice what that’s like and how you imagine that. What you see from that perspective — the shapes of the continents, the oceans, the clouds, the rate of spin, the space around it. Some of you may notice that certain feelings come up and that’s alright too.
And then imagine that you come back to Earth, and imagine that you come back to a place that’s very beautiful to you, and very peaceful, and very safe. A special place that you love to be in. And imagine that you’re really there and look around and notice what you see, or what you imagine seeing. And notice if there are any sounds or if it’s very quiet. And notice if there’s a fragrance or aroma you imagine smelling. You may or you may not. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Notice the temperature and the time of day. Let yourself be there for a few moments just enjoying the beauty and the peacefulness and notice especially any sense of peacefulness and relaxation — comfort that you may feel as you imagine yourself in this special place. And then as you allow all the images to fade — go back to where they came from — bring your attention back to the outer world around you. Bring back with you anything that was interesting or important, including any sense of relaxation or peacefulness or serenity. Let your eyes open, if they’ve been closed, and look around you. Come all the way back into the outer world. And you may want to make a few notes about what you’ve noticed as you’ve taken this short exploration through your own imagination.