By Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler
© 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Take a moment to look around you with open eyes. Unless you are physically blind, you clearly see the reality lying immediately outside yourself. You can see the furniture around you, the walls of the room, the view out the windows, other people who are present, etc.
When you close your eyes, on the other hand, inner images and thoughts unrelated to the physical reality around you flow through your mind. Your imagination takes you beyond the limits of space and time as you revisit the past in memories, or preview future possibilities.
Many people attach little importance to such inner visions, but they actually hold a major key to creating our mental programs.
There’s now solid scientific proof we actually create our reality with our thoughts -– and not the other way around. Researchers around the world agree that our thoughts have a very real physical reality –- and actually cause things to happen in the physical world. We now know from quantum physics, for example, that subatomic particles will physically manifest IF there is someone there to observe them.
Remember being taught as a child that "seeing is believing?" In other words -- that you need to physically see something with your own eyes in order to believe it is real?
Well that old belief is today being replaced with a new, science-based belief that: "Before you can see it, you have to believe it." This viewpoint sees the act of achieving success as the result of FIRST creating a vivid, clear future vision of your desired reality. The belief is now: "what you see, is what you’ll be."
What’s the Real Truth?
We’ve long been told that if we practice seeing something in our mind's eye, it will actually manifest in our lives. Underlying this is the assumption that we must "believe" in the process.
I have a solid training in the scientific method, and this dependence on “belief” disturbed me for many years. I wanted to know the real truth behind the process of visualization: How and why does it work? And just why is it so powerful?
The Power of Visual Programming
Early on in my pre-medical studies I discovered an important clue: Our eyes are actually a direct extension of our brain. The Optic nerve running from the back of your eyes provides a *direct* connection to your visual brain. As a result, vision is an extremely powerful mental programming tool.
Then later I uncovered yet another key, as my early EEG biofeedback experimentation revealed the physical reality of a thought, and how it can truly influence our physical reality.
More recent research has provided actual real-time pictures of the brain as it creates new neural connections in response to a thought -– and how repeating the same thought (especially with visual involvement) physically strengthens the neural network representing that thought.
It is now apparent that our vision (both real and imagined) is intimately connected to our mental programming -- to the creation of our “vision” of the world and our part in it.
There are actually two components of such mental programming: Passive, and active visual mental programming.
*Passive* Visual Mental Programming
Passive visual programming occurs every moment of your life, and has ever since birth. Your subconscious mind is actually a repository of every image you have ever seen. This is why it is so important to take an active role in what you will expose yourself (and your children) to.
For example: Consider the thousands of images you see on your TV and computer. Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is imagined. So realistic TV images of violence are actually stored in your brain as reality.
You can be certain this affects your behavior and social expectations. What you see really is what you get, regardless of whether you know it consciously or not.
But you can also be just lying on the sofa, and what you are visualizing internally has an equally powerful impact. If you lie there and review your fears and problems, you are actually using the power of visualization to strengthen the physical neural networks related to your problems.
By allowing yourself to passively visualize a poor outcome to a business deal, for example, you are in fact setting the stage for just such an outcome. Passive visualization works with uncanny power and accuracy.
*Active* Visual Mental Programming
On the other hand, by actively choosing to replay a vision of a positive outcome, you set the stage for a more successful result. And the more actively you use visual images during this process –- the more powerful your final results will be.
This process applies to anything from making a successful sales call or performing well in an athletic event … to the effective motivation of your teammates and children.
A Real-Life Example of Active Re-Programming Here’s a real-life example of the power of active visual programming at work: A field and track athlete I worked with a few years ago wanted to blast past a performance plateau. We’ll call him Gino.
Gino had tried everything his coach could come up with. According to his coach, the problem was that Gino “thought too much.”
When I tried to introduce Gino to visualizing an improved performance, he got stuck analyzing instead of visualizing. I had to find a way to sneak past Gino’s extremely fast mind with some new images.
I decided to try an experimental approach, and borrowed some videos of Gino performing. First I had him watch the videos in “real time” and picture himself in action. I gradually increased the playback speed until he had difficulty describing what he was seeing.
Then I replaced the videos with footage of top world class athletes performing the same events, and had Gino watch them while he "pictured" himself on the screen. This time I ran the images so fast all Gino actually “saw” was a blur he could not logically analyze. In retrospect, the method I was using was a form of subliminal programming.
At the end of two weeks I went to the track to personally observe a performance test his coach had arranged. None of us were sure about the outcome.
The results were amazing. Several subtle, but very powerful, changes had occurred in Gino’s style. He effortlessly set three personal bests that evening -– all without “thinking” about how he did it.
Increased Active Visual Mental Programming
The powerful tool of active visualization does not just apply to athletic activities. It can be applied to any aspect of your personal or business life.
Learning to use active mental programming in your life is a very personal thing. No one method works best for everyone. If you have never before been successful visualizing, you might want to start with a step-by-step procedure that will lead you into the process. You might also give the subliminal procedure a try. This method can be surprisingly effective, and takes very little conscious "effort."
A simple approach that many have used is the creation of an actual montage of pictures that represent their desired life (or business) outcome. Others have found self hypnosis useful in learning to visualize. But if you prefer a high tech fast-track method of re-programming, still the current preference leans toward engineered brainwave training.
Dr. Ammon-Wexler, a pioneer brain/mind researcher, was among the first to teach brainwave training as a tool for mental and physical re-programming. She is the author of Visualize Success -- a step-by-step ebook that "grounds" the entire visualization process in easily understood "ha